When I was a child and then a teenager, I worried about our priests. In the Catholic Churches I attended there were old priests, good priests, bored and boring priests, disillusioned priests, nasty old priests and young, eager, fresh-faced priests who stumbled over their words and their feet as they tried so hard to be wise and holy and to mediate between us and God. Over-reaching. I remember with particular tenderness a young Irish lad who had a slight stutter, terrified of preaching, and who would deliver his sermons in a swelter of blushes, swaying slightly, with his eyes closed. Poor lad. The youngest son of a large family, probably earmarked for the priesthood early, maybe in response to some incidental remark about God or a Saint…. poor lad.
I worried about who would cook for them. There was always a housekeeper in the presbytery but when the housekeeper had gone home… after late Mass…. when they returned after giving Extreme Unction to some dying parishioner (I was a dramatist from an early age!)… who would greet them and take their wet clothes (if someone was dying it had to be a dark and stormy night) … and offer them a cup of tea and a bowl of broth? Who would stoke the fire for them and keep a light on for them in the wee small hours?
I still think about those priests, the lives they led, and I wonder how that young priest matured – did he become bored and nasty or kind and wise? The Beatles understood my worries….
Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near.
Look at him working, darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there
… all the lonely people…. where do they all belong?
Who will be a servant to the servants?
Us. Christians. We are to be servants to the servants.
We are to see who is doing God’s will, serving Him, and we’re to come alongside. I do believe that. I believe that it’s the greatest calling of all, the greatest reward of all, the deepest joy of all, to serve the servants of the living God.
Dunno why I had to say that, but I just did.
When I see someone serving God, giving their lives, laying down everything for Him, I know that my job is to serve them. And I know that it’s God prompting me. And that is such a GOOD thing to know.