If God used Balaam’s donkey to get that prophet’s attention, I guess he can use me to get yours. May these periodic postings on the second and fourth Mondays of each month (God willing) generate fruitful discussion and faithful change.
A few days ago, I was prompted to read through some older journal entries and discovered one from more than 13 years ago. How timeless are the insights God gives us, especially those we may have forgotten but are blessed to rediscover!
Let me share with you what I wrote (with some editing) more than a decade ago:.
“I attended Mass at a Dominican Monastery today. There are no resident Dominican friars there. As I exited my car, I saw an elderly Franciscan priest getting out of his vehicle. He had come to say Mass. He was unable to stand upright. His elderly and frail body was hunched over (literally in half) as he walked carefully on the snow with the aid of a cane, his priestly vestments folded over his other arm.
I asked Father if he needed any help. He joyfully declined my assistance as I held the door leading into the monastery open for him. His walking was deliberate and appeared painful. He was unable to stand erect.
I assumed he would take the elevator, But he surprised me when he laboriously climbed the steps to the second floor chapel. As we approached the chapel door, I opened it for him as well. He entered and fully genuflected before entering the sacristy - his knee touching the floor. It took great effort for him to do that; he was quite unsteady when he got up, still hunched over in half.
I was touched that this priest loved God so much that he ignored his own physical limitations and discomfort in order to provide all of us present with such a visible and powerful sign of his respect, reverence for, and belief in, the Real and Substantial Presence of our Lord, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, hidden behind the locked doors of the chapel’s tabernacle.
How many of us do not genuflect at all, though fully and physically able to do so?
I was moved throughout the Mass as Father continued to genuflect when required, his knee always touching the floor despite the pain it caused him and the great difficulty he had in getting back up. He was never able to stand upright.
But I was finally brought to tears when Father forced himself by sheer love for the Eucharist and the grace of God to stand fully erect when he lifted Our Lord first in the Sacred and Consecrated Host and then in the Holy Chalice of His Sacred Blood!
What I witnessed and what this priest did was nothing short of miraculous! Despite his physical limitations, He was determined to give honor to the God he so obviously believed was in his hands.
His example should serve as clarion call for the rest of us to always honor our Lord by our words and actions as well.”
Thank you God for the holy priests in our midst!