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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Holy Terrors

I've been confronted lately by a part of my past I have not written about in my conversion story, perhaps touched upon, but that deserves a much greater discussion. Because others have experienced the same thing, to greater or lesser degrees.

Priests are terrifying. And I'm not talking about "the scandals" or anything else. Face it...a guy in a Roman Collar is quite literally a Holy Terror. And that's EXACTLY the way it should be...but not in the way you think I mean.

I grew up Catholic, and I loved Fr. Weber of the parish I grew up in, and I loved the Irish priest who came to visit a couple times per year (he had the most incredible accent!), and when we moved to Minnesota, I loved Fr. Peichel, a Polish priest with very big hands who used them to do all he could to convey the love of Christ. So my experience with priests was also an experience with holiness when I grew up. And I also greatly associated them with God, and even as a small child, asked my Mom if Father Weber was God!

In college, although I attended a Catholic college, I fell away, and I remained away, having come across some serious self-hating "Catholics". By then I had grown enough to form my own questions, and realized I didn't know why I was Catholic. I had been Confirmed not because I knew the faith and what I was accepting, but because it was the thing to do, my family was Catholic, I believed because I had been raised to believe...and I didn't want to be Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Assembly of God. So, basically, I wanted to be Catholic by default.

I never learned our faith in that atrocity we called CCD. I never learned anything in Confirmation, although I remember reading Acts of the Apostles, and at our weekend retreat in the parish hall there was a nice couple who came in to speak about chastity.

But that's all I remember.

And then, several years later, I began to come back. I won't give my conversion story because it's already been told. But suffice to say I had a lot of questions, and one part I DIDN'T tell in my conversion story is that I considered going to a priest to ask my questions. And I didn't tell it because it's a whole 'nother story.

I remember when I actually began to take an active role in exploring my faith. I was working nights and the night nurse was an Evangelical ex-Catholic who wasn't afraid to share her faith. I liked her because she wasn't "in your face" about her faith, but rather, wore her Christianity on her sleeve and in her actions. She admitted she wasn't perfect. She knew she didn't know everything. And she had a peace about her that I really wanted, and wanted to know ABOUT. And she told me about it. She invited me to her church, but didn't push. She disagreed with the Catholic Church, and to be certain, the Church had NOT followed the missionary call of Vatican II, for she was alienated as a result of the improper changes and the focus taken from the truth and placed on custom and innovation. She did not tell me these things, but in remembering our conversations, that's the root cause of her defection from the Catholic Church; a lack of catechesis. She had the SAME QUESTIONS about the Catholic Church as I did. Because although she was older, we'd grown up with the same lack of standards, the same lack of formation.

She found her formation and Christ in the Evangelical Church, what was there for her all along in the Catholic Church had people not been asleep at the switch.

But she really did seek Christ...and so was I. And so I began to seek out all sorts of Christians, and we discussed faith. I'd talk about God with anyone who was interested. And sometimes I ticked people off because they didn't want to talk about faith and God...because such discussions were "too deep." I was ordered to stop my questions and "just have fun!"

But the truth was, I couldn't have fun. It was empty. I was supposed to be doing something else.

In my EMT class back in 1999 or so I met a woman who became a good friend, and who separated from her husband during that time. They had two children; she had a little girl from a prior relationship, from when she was very young, and married, and the couple had the other child. Her husband had been the only father the oldest child had known, but never formally adopted her, feeling it was unnecessary as he was the only father in her life. Well, then they were separated, planned divorce and my friend called me one day completely seething with anger. Her then-ex-husband had gotten engaged to someone else, and when he came to pick up his biological daughter for a weekend, he broke the "news" to their other little girl, his non-biological daughter. He knelt down in front of her, took her hands in his, and said, "I can't be your daddy anymore."

From that point on, that little 8-year-old was searching. She needed a daddy. She was heartbroken. And she might have heard me asking questions about God and talking about church once, because, one day, she approached me.

"Can I go to church with you?"

I was shocked. I did not regularly go to Mass, although I considered it. I did not live close to my friend (about 30 min in good traffic), and for a moment I considered it. Her mother was not religious, but might let her go with me. But I knew I was not holy, I was not a good example, and I didn't go often. But would I if I agreed to take her on Sundays? Or wouldn't it be easier to NOT take her on Sundays? That would be inconvenient.

So in a flash I considered my options, and I asked her, "Why do you want to go to Church?"

She shrugged, still looking at me hopefully, although the hope was fading given the sarcastic tone in my voice.

I saw the look, and still continued, "When I was your age I HATED going to Church. You REALLY want to go?"

She nodded, wanting this even in the face of my obvious contempt.

"Do you want to go because your friends all go to church?"

She nodded, agreeing with this, the hope gleaming in her eyes again.

I can't remember what I said next, but I think I put it down, and maybe her desire to go to church. She was seeking God, just as I was, but some of my response was out of shock. She was eight and WANTED to go to church?

I will regret that scene for as long as I live; I don't think there's enough penance available in this lifetime to make up for that moment in time. A child came to me asking to be taken to Jesus, her mother would have allowed her to go with me...and I was a condescending bitch. I deserve whatever I get for that.

My only defense, and a very weak one at that...I was unholy. I saw myself as unholy, as incapable, unable to provide an example, unable to be consistent. Because I recognized a certain call to respond, step up to the plate...and I turned my back and walked away. And I tell this story for a reason; because the incident underscored my sense of imperfection and unholiness and unworthiness. And my response to that poor child was out of fear; but what she saw was derision.

Years later, after my continued search, I found my way into various Catholic churches. And invariably, I sat in back. I was unholy. I was undeserving. I could not approach the altar. I was absolutely convinced that people could look at me and see how sinful I was and that I wasn't a "real" Catholic. I had this weird impression that everyone else in the church was holy and devout and belonged there, but I was a fraud.

Priests were especially to be avoided, in their dark shirts and Roman Collars and their vestments. Because they were the holiest of the holy, in my mind, and if anyone could find me out and expel me, it would be them.

But I had an even deeper fear; that if those priests recognized me for what I was, they would tell me I had to go to Confession. And then my refusal to go would be confirmation to them that I was hell-bound. And that would destroy me.

Priests. Always my hang-up; because I'd always seen them as holy, and I knew that I was not living as I should live. And yet, I was doing exactly what is detailed in Genesis. When Adam and Eve sinned, what did they do? They hid in the Garden, saw they were naked...and covered themselves up. They fled from God. What did Peter do when Christ appeared to them? "Go from me, Lord, I am a sinful man!"

Sin makes us flee; we know when we've done something wrong, and we want to flee God's presence. That's what I was doing. I didn't want to go to Confession because I was too busy fleeing from God. I didn't want to see a priest because I knew he would make me confront reality; he would be Christ to me. And I couldn't bear all that holiness.

So in my confused state, I built up holiness to what it is not, and I warped the Sacrament of Reconciliation into what it is not. Because my only goal was to flee God...and He let me flee, because all that I was running from was an illusion.

I continued seeking, not knowing where to go. I didn't have a computer at the time, so couldn't just go online. So I expressed to a friend one day that maybe I should just go TALK to a priest. Novel idea! I knew my fears were irrational and I wouldn't burn up in the presence of a priest. But I didn't know where else to go or what to do. In conversation with a friend, I expressed my idea...and she verified the other thought in my head....he's too busy. He won't really care. Priests don't have time to answer stupid questions.

Yup. All the thoughts in my head. Affirmed by someone else. My questions were stupid. They (and I) weren't worth the time away from his busy schedule. And the very worst...."The Priest doesn't really care about your questions or your soul...you are worthless in God's eyes." Because that's what the latter meant to me....if the priest didn't care, then that meant I was worthless.

So I had nowhere to go. And I didn't want to call just some random priest. I didn't have any kind of a relationship with a parish anywhere. Very few of my friends were Catholic, and of those who identified themselves as such, I was either not around them much or they were as lost as I was. Yet I somehow understood one thing; I was seeking a relationship, and this is foundational. I knew that in order to come home, I had to be somehow connected, somewhere, and that requires a relational connection. It doesn't make sense to throw darts at a board and then say "There!" Coming home means HAVING a home...but I didn't know where "home" was.

But God is faithful...because he sent priests across my path, randomly. To lesson my irrational fear. To help me see their humanity. To develop a sense of connection. And it nearly worked. But not quite; I wasn't ready, but I see now that was part of God's plan.

When I moved to my current residence and attended my current parish, I followed my regular routine...I sat in back. I hid. I would not get involved. I did not approach the altar. I avoided anyone I thought was holy. I did not want to know the priests. Because although my "big Confession" of 12 years was out of the way, it had been 3 years since...and I was back to not wanting to be forced to do what I did not want to do; go to Confession. And I still had the crazy idea that if I happened to run into one of the priests he would immediately demand that I go to Confession.

My goodness, a guilty conscience sure does speak loudly!

Slowly God drew me into the fringes of parish life, letting me find friendships and connections first. A friend I came to know had big gatherings at her home on about six times per year, and one summer night, a bunch of priests showed up...and there went my blood pressure! I sucked up my irrationality and just wanted to have fun...just like them. So as they and a few others of us sat around the bonfire roasting marshmallows, one elderly priest asked me, innocently having NO IDEA to whom he was posing this question, "Have you ever considered being a nun?"

I nearly fell out of my chair! WHAT!?

Seriously, the beer I was drinking nearly came out my nose, and I choked out, "Are you KIDDING!? They'd kick me out of the convent!"

But he was entirely serious, and surprised by my answer. "Why would you say that?"

So by my reaction, I had bumbled into my own web; responding out of my own faulty perception to a sincere question of a priest who did not see how awful I really was. And I was more shocked that he did NOT see my unholiness than I was by the fact that he would even suggest that someone like me should consider religious life. Or that he was surprised by my answer.

Anyway, God's grace eventually got me back to Confession that fall, but it was still a struggle; I was facing a lot of things. And so a couple months after the bonfire incident, at that same house, I attended another gathering. Another priest was present, and he sat DIRECTLY NEXT TO ME! Man, I was shaking in my shoes. Because even though I had come Home, I still had this inordinate sense of my own unholiness and unworthiness to be in the presence of this crowd.

And to be sitting next to a PRIEST!

Of course I liked him, he was wonderful, I'd in fact made room for him to sit down because that was the right thing to do and there WAS room so he could sit and eat...but I was wishing mightily that there had been room somewhere else.

At some point during the evening, in conversation, some topic came up, I can't remember what, I cracked a joke, and Father said, "So maybe you need CONFESSION!" And he was joking along, too.

But in reality, I'd already gathered that the Sacrament of Reconciliation (he called it "Confession" just like my favored term) was near and dear to him. Others had spoken of this priest, his gifts in the Sacrament, and I realized that he was my almost-worst nightmare. (Going to Hell was always my WORST nightmare...Confession was second-worst).

Yup. There I was, next to Father Holy Terrorist, the priest who was ALL ABOUT the Sacrament of healing through Reconciliation. The priest who had the special grace of being able to read hearts.

So when he made his comment about Confession, I quite literally nearly burst into tears, CERTAIN that he could see right into my soul and realize I needed Confession AGAIN!

He didn't say a word to that degree, though. He didn't treat me any differently than anyone else. In fact, he was all that I did not expect...he did not burn up in my presence, I did not ignite in his, and overall, there was no spontaneous combustion at my friends' party that night. Rather, we had a lively group discussion, talked about God in our lives, the Holy Spirit, all very natural conversations. And I was thrilled to be able to share my experience of God, for I had recognized His presence all over the place. That evening was actually an experience of Heaven for me. And I'm certain that was no mistake.

At the end of the evening, a lot of people left at the same time, so it was down to our hostess, her father, myself, and FATHER. As we finished off our conversation around the dining room table, suddenly Father looked directly at me, yet, somehow he seemed to be looking away at the same time, as though at someone else in the room. But it's not possible for one person to look at two people at the same time, and so one gaze seemed to be at me...the other...interior. I can't explain this.

"You haven't let go of something." He said this as a statement, not a question.

I was a deer in the headlights. My worst fear. He SAW what I'd been hiding. He saw ME.

Of course I denied what he said. He seemed insistent, then let it go.

And that night, I went home, completely rattled, thinking about what my friends had said throughout the evening. That this priest had gifts, he had the ability to "read hearts" in the Confessional, and they'd told their stories.

So on one hand my worst nightmare had happened...God put me in direct contact with a priest who had this ability, exactly what I feared. And he didn't demand that I immediately go to Confession. He accepted my denial - and he didn't reject me. In fact, he had that very evening affirmed the faith that I had. And I realized, in prayer before I went to sleep, that his comment to me had far more to do with something I needed to know about God; that He was merciful, He knew my suffering, and that the priest was right: I had not forgiven myself. I had not let go of a LOT of things. I still haven't.

Those who were present that evening don't remember Father's words to me or my denial.

And those words STILL make a difference to me. Because sometimes God speaks very directly through our most irrational fears and to our most basic needs.

So for years, I had been terrified of priests. I was without Catholic friends to set me straight. What a difference a friend could have made. Yeah, I needed to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I needed to see that priests are men like every other man, but with a Calling. And "force" is not a part of that Call. Even when they have that special gift...it's given on God's time, when we're ready, and when it still shocks us but doesn't chase us away.

I'm not terrified of priests anymore. I love them, we need more of them, and I'm completely committed to that which I feared and fought for so long....the Sacrament of Confession. Penance. Reconciliation. And more priests. Because if I have anything to do with it, a LOT more people are going to find their way to Christ, a lot more people are going to find themselves confessing to a priest, a lot more men are going to find themselves exploring that Call, and a lot more women are going to find themselves entering convents.

On one hand, I wish there had been a friend to lead me to the answers and bring me to a trusted priest, and technically, that happened, eventually. But I was too busy fleeing, being the timid deer and the shy lost lamb. So on the other hand, had God made things so easy for me, I'm not sure I'd be where I am now (wherever that is...really).

But I will say this: if anyone ever tells you a priest would think your questions are stupid, he doesn't have time for you, or doesn't really care...well, find a new friend and find another priest.

And if a child ever asks you to take them to Mass with you....ACCEPT!

What began as my holy terror has inspired my own Holy Mission.
What began as my denial of Christ has become my daily work.

Don't ever tell me God doesn't have a plan or that He doesn't have a sense of humor. I am a living testament to both, and like St. Paul, I can only boast of my weakness. For that is where God shows his glory.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love the analogy of the frightened penitent being like Adam and Eve in the garden when they were hiding. I am soooo going to use that when confession comes up again in my life, in RCIA, with anyone who needs a nudge (or shove) in that direction.

Angela M.

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Actually I think some priests are 'too busy'. I tried to have a chat to a priest two years ago, but it was a disaster. I think that when I said I wasn't even sure if I believed in Jesus, let alone the Real Presence... it was conversation over, and I was being shown the door after less than 15minutes. I felt quite humiliated. And very wary of any further attempts to talk to a priest.

Adoro te Devote said...

Angela ~ That analogy came right out of my stuff for my Old Testament class! :-)

Kiwi ~ That is terrible, and it's also what I feared would happen to me because I didn't know where to go. Now, to be fair, it's possible that priest was having a really bad day and meant no offense, but there are priests who, well, seem to have lost their sense of who they represent. There are other priests (I know a few now!) who would do all they could to answer your concerns, your questions, and if they couldn't meet with you on the spot, they would have you make an appointment or direct you to a specific person, etc. You wouldn't be "shown the door" by those people. I'm so sorry that was your experience, and that you lived out one of my own fears.

Do you still feel that way or by now, have at least some of your questions been answered?

Ray from MN said...

God bless you, Adoro. You really are something special.

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

No, none of my questions have been answered. And in fact I would probably be off the Catholic planet again, except that I did meet a good priest in Lourdes. And my whole Lourdes experience, plus 'banging into' St Martin all over the place while cycling in the Loire, sort of has me hanging on the edges.

As it happens, I have actually arranged to meet with a priest again early October, and I feel fairly confident this will be OK.

Anonymous said...

I'm Praying for you, Kiwi!

~ Adoro

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

i'm often asking Priests one thing or another, but have found belonging to a lay institute Miles Jesu very helpful..

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

just saw your bipolar post..thanks be to God i was never that bad & my kids always had their dad. It can be a truly horrendous disease..i only got ill age 38 with a post-natal depression..& am extremely well now. i have 10 children ..two diagnosed but going to University & managing well..God bless you for your blog & openess..

Kasia said...

I haven't been able to read the full post. I'm still reeling over that man telling the girl he couldn't be her daddy anymore. One of my cousins had a biological son with a woman he was with, and she had a son from before; even after they broke up he and my aunt still included the older, non-biologically-related son in family gatherings. Because he was the only dad that boy knew.

That turned my stomach. How selfish can people BE?!? I hope that little girl found her Father she was searching for.

Melody said...

Adoro, I can relate to your regrets about not taking the child to Mass. I think some of the sharpest pains I will experience when I reach the end of my life and look back, will be the consciousness of good deeds left undone and the graces I have neglected.

Father Kyle said...

Adoro,

Yep, surprise, priests are real people. I always joke that if you ask my mom what it was like to raise a priest, she'll say: He was a real pain in the a** most of the time!

But, luckily, it isn't about the priest, and sometimes the Holy Spirit gives us the words and the insight to say some pretty profound things every now and again.

Hidden One said...

"Father Holy Terrorist"

Wow.

Adoro, I love this post.

tara said...

Wow, what a story!

Priests--I know they are just as human as you and I, but sometimes when Father holds the host up at Mass my mind mixes him up with Jesus.

Sometimes I am afraid to approach him, and even though he is so kind, I feel as though I'm a bother to him--he has so many children to care for--I don't want to tax his energy for my silly desire for attention from him.

Holy terror--very good.

Christina said...

Adoro,

I had the opposite problem growing up, I never really knew the priests and often heard about some flaw or another in our local priests. I always thought of them as very busy, not necessarily unkind, but certainly not to be looked up to, humans.

Being in my new parish has been a blessing. I still see the priests as humans, but they are wonderful and are roll models in the faith. I pray daily for all priests now, because I see how much they need our prayers.

Thank you for posting this; you have definately been blessed on your journey back home :)

Adoro te Devote said...

Mrs. Jackie Parkes ~ Now that I'm well within the Church, I don't go to our priests for anything other than sacraments or maybe some good-natured ribbing and the like! LOL! Now I have my answers, and it really makes a difference being surrounded by committed Catholics. If I had friends then like the ones I have now...well, I wouldn't have been so confused! There are still questions that come up officiall, such as with RCIA or somethign that does require conferences with the priests involved to make sure things are done right or stated correctly, etc.

kasia ~ That was horrible. It's been years and I'm STILL shocked!

melody ~ It's really hard to let go of that particular omission because of her desperate need at the time...I could have brought her directly to the Father in Heaven, and didn't. Who knows what could have happened had I been obedient?

Our lives are SO not about us.

Father Kyle ~ I am certain I was only terrified because of my guilty conscience. It's like Poe's "The Telltale Heart". No one else knew what he'd done. You know the story. That was my life.

Um, I didn't kill anyone and bury them under the floorboards, though.

Hidden One ~ Now priests are just Holy Terrorists to demons! Not to me! LOL!

Tara ~ Well, you know he is "in persona Christi" at that moment, so there is some truth to that. But from what you said, Father is very approachable, which is awesome.

christina ~ I have been VERY blessed! God is so good!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: Wow! Fantastic post. Sad, funny, touching all at the same time. Classic Adoro.

I'd like to take this in a slightly different direction (you know me!) I, too, have met some priests who can't seem to be "bothered" even though they appear to have enough free time. Is it possible that because some of us quit asking, for fear of bothering these priests, that they quit feeling valued so they quit trying?

I think there is more then enough blame to go around for the sometimes sad state of affairs in Holy Mother Church.

Kiwi: Don't give up. I'm praying for you.

Woodrow said...

Thanks for sharing this story. I love conversion stories, whether it's how one came to Christ, how one came to the Church, or how one came to a deeper relationship with Christ or the Church. God be with you.

Maria said...

Adoro,
I would love to go to confession with this priest and have him read my soul. Do you mind sharing his name?
Maria

Adoro te Devote said...

Maria ~ He is a priest who was only in the country for a couple of years and has since returned home.

About his gift...it doesn't happen for everyone, nor does it need to, and it doesn't happen in the way that you might think. It's hard to explain, but although I had that incident with him and went to him for Confession on other occasions, the most he did was hint that he knew there was something else, and he was right. But it was never anything major. And outside of that special grace he had at times, he was a wonderful Confessor and gave great advice and often used scripture as a penance. ie: go read X scripture. I know of one woman who said she had a hard time confessing something, she went in to him and he absolved her, but she remained and said, "Well, I came for a certain sin and I didn't confess it." Father was insistent that she was absolved and repeated her penance, which was a certain scripture. He didn't let her speak, although she tried (he had his reason for this). She left, went to read the scripture passage...and it was the very sin she had such difficulty confessing. Her intention was to speak it, she could not, she tried, but he already realized what it was and gave her her penance.

God's mercy. It is a Sacrament of mercy.

But that doesn't happen to everyone. If the priest was local I would actually not give his name because he did not advertise this grace, it was something that just became known. And unfortunately, there are people who would take such an "advertisement" to go find Father as a sort of party favor. That's what happened to St. Padre Pio. Such a thing makes a mockery of the Sacrament and the true grace given to Confessor and Penitent.

Fr. V said...

Thanks for this post Adoro! It is good for priests too to know how they may be percieved. I don't think the solution is to drop the collar but for the priest to be more loving and easier to approach I think . . .

Sometimes people act "offish" - I wonder if they were just afraid - or uncomfortable. Hmmm . . .

LOL! I love my word verification! I'm actually feeling a little foopy.

Adoro te Devote said...

Fr. V. ~ PLEASE DON'T DROP THE COLLAR....EVER! What a witness that is! Here's the thing...most of the priests I've ever met have been very approachable. Sure, there's been a few here or there that might be a little more introverted, or even a little crabby. We all have bad days.

Funny thing...I've actually met a number of priests who are clearly introverts, not really sure what to say in social situations, or just prefer to sit back and listen. The Pastor at my church is like that. He's awesome, probably one of the best human beings I'v ever met, but it's hard to get a word out of him in a social situation! His preference is definitely to take a position of observation, but when he has something to say...well, he has a sense of humor that can knock you on your *ahem* :-) But sometimes you have to be quick to catch it. So some think he's not so approachable, but it doesn't take long to figure out he's just quiet. And his homilies reflect how much he really takes in and how it affects how he thinks and how he applies his spirituality. It's amazing. Another priest....has the most incredible smile, is always smiling, we can SEE Christ in him...but he never has much to say. He's another one who is more of an observer (he's from SW Asia...and was once a refugee), and you've never met anyone more sympathetic. Or quiet. We have another priest who likes to pick on people - kind of a big-brothery type. He provides balance to some degree. (And he's an awesome priest).

So...anyway...don't let my weird padrephobia make you think that everything thinks as I did. I was just running away from where I knew I needed to go. There's an entire spiritual and psychological component there. Just don't ever tell someone right off the bat they need to go to Confession! LOL!

JustMe said...

"It's really hard to let go of that particular omission because of her desperate need at the time...I could have brought her directly to the Father in Heaven, and didn't. Who knows what could have happened had I been obedient?"

You can be sure she forgave you long ago, if ever there was a need, and now it has come full circle. You've learned from it (as we all must learn from those moments that literally make us wince in chagrin and sorrow); your contrition gained you some very great graces -- probably more than if this was not in your memory (God turns it all to the Good); and you are passing on your wisdom about this matter to others, with love.

I think, really, that we do not read enough Inflection within Scripture sometimes; it's not impossible to think He said perhaps with His eyes and Heart, "Go (in peace, now -- you've believed in Me, and here I Am.. your sins are forgiven, and you are Restored), and sin no more (lest it separate you from Me again; I cannot even easily bear all your struggling and tears that come from Our distance in all those times you hesitate to come to Me."

Adoro, your honesty and hope and faith reflect the heart of a good and faithful servant. Those will be nice Words to hear, won't they.
:-) God bless you more and more.

Maria said...

Adoro,
I would never go to a priest as a party favor; it is just that sometimes I wonder how many of many sins remain unconfessed. I was away from the Church for many years and after I came back, I started remembering things little by little, as the life of grace grew in me. But there are times when I remember things and I think Did I confess this or not?
Going to someone like Padre Pio who could read my soul would certainly give me a little more peace. I tend to be on the scrupulous side sometimes.
I'm not one that runs after apparitions on the next county or special favors. Is just that this is something that is been bothering me for some time.
Thanks!
Maria

Anonymous said...

Maria ~ I didn't mean to imply that YOU would do such a thing. I was addressing the greater reality; this is a very public forum, and I know there are a lot of local readers. If I were to mention the name of someone, esp. with someone who has special gifts in a given situation, well, there ARE people who would look upon him as a sort of party favor. That's why I referenced Padre Pio. (If you haven't read of him...do!)

If you've noticed, I usually don't mention names of people, and the priests I have named in this post...well, they could be fictional names, or they are names of priests who have passed away or were not local to this area. (ie: no one can identify them specifically).

Hope that helps. Just keep in mind..the gift that Father had was according to the Holy Spirit. Because when we are going to confession, we are speaking to Jesus himself, and he gives us what we really need; not what we THINK we need! :-)

~ Adoro

uncle jim said...

Wow ... wish I could write like that.
Wish I had the courage to reach that deep and share it for the Greater Glory of God. As the years pile on, I just have more ups and downs on my chart ... just gotta keep the ups acomin'.

Fr John Speekman said...

Thanks, Adoro, the fact that I read this long post all the way through is your greatest compliment. God is so good. And I like the way that little girl, searching for Mass, is somehow an image of you, searching. The logic of your story gives me great confidence that that little girl will be ok. Keep going .. it's a struggle for all of us, priests and people, but God's Holy Spirit, who is coming to us soon at Pentecost, seeks us out .. full time .. relentlessly .. and will take us home.