June 3, 2008
On Saturday we're going to ordain three more priests for the Order. As I talk to them I tell them that they will be in a daze for a few days. Once they settle down though, and are able to pray again at Mass--when they no longer need to simply concentrate on doing it right and not forgetting anything--it becomes quite a spiritual adventure.
One joy that I didn't anticipate about priesthood is how, in the course of this first year, it all becomes new again as I celebrate each annual observance. Celebrating Midnight Mass on Christmas--the feast of the Incarnation--opened up the mystery of the Eucharist in a more expansive way. It was the same with Easter and Pentecost through those respective angles on the one mystery of Christ.
Today is another one of those days, as I felt awed to be called by God to celebrate the Eucharist on the feast of the saint who is the patron of my own baptism: Charles Lwanga. To offer the broken body of Christ to the Father in Holy Communion with the broken body of St. Charles, it almost overflows my mind with wonder. It keeps me mindful of the last words of my formation director before I was ordained priest: "Remember the Communion of Saints. It's the only way this makes sense." Indeed.
That I took Charles Lwanga as the patron of my own baptism was a genuine work of Providence. I didn't even know enough about him or about how my own journey would unfold to understand it at the time, but there are enough resonances between his martyrdom and the ascesis of my own journey to make me certain that he was meant to be my patron and that my own religious vocation has been kept alive through his intercession.