“O miracle — thus to be able to give [peace] we ourselves do not possess, sweet miracle of our empty hands!” ~ Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest
Today is a magnificent day. In it, we will see two men ordained for service in the Diocese of Gary. One, Jacob McDaniel, will be ordained a deacon with the hopes of being ordained a priest next summer. The other, Declan McNicholas, will be ordained a priest. Fr. Declan will serve at our parish for his first priestly assignment.
I think the words of Georges Bernanos in The Diary of a Country Priest, are so apropos. If we are truly honest with ourselves, we realize that we have nothing and are nothing on our own. All that we have and all that we are exist because they are gifts from God. A priest has the hands of a healer, the heart of a lover, and the eyes of one who has seen much. Yet, the healing that we bring, the love that we share, and the wisdom that may emanate from us is not our own. It is of God.
Priests are not healers. Priests are not wise men. Priests are not lovers. Priests — if they do their jobs correctly — are nothing more than vessels emptied of everything that can be emptied so that God could fill them with all that they need and all that the people they encounter might need.
I say that about priests because today is an ordination day. However, the same could and should be said about each and every one of us. We are all called to empty ourselves of the “stuff” of the world so that God could fill us with His own wonderful gifts. The emptier the vessel, the more God can put in. The more that God can put in, the more that can spill over for the benefit of others.
We are called, all of us, to be vessels of God’s pure love and wonderful light. We are called to be beacons of light in a world that is incredibly dark. We are called to show people that there is hope in the world. We are called to give others the hope that we have found in the Lord.
Do you think you are up to that task? Are you willing to let go of the things of this world that entice you and weigh you down? Are you willing to accept responsibility for others and give others that for which you desperately long as well?
That is the “sweet miracle of our empty hands.” We may not have peace in our own lives but, when we reach out to others to give them the peace of God, we find peace for ourselves. We might be looking for love in our lives. In giving love to others without strings attached, we experience the love of God.
There is nothing to it yet, at the same time, it is the most terrifying thing a human can do: to place oneself into God’s hands so that He may do with us whatever He wills.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for those who will be ordained today that God may accept the gift of their lives and fill them with His love, grace, and peace.