June 3, 2008

St. Charles

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.


tara said...

HAPPY FEAST DAY, Fr. Charles! May God Bless YOU with PEACE and grace!

tara said...

hi again, Fr. Charles!
i just wanted to comment a little more on your great post on your feast day of St. Charles Lwanga & Companions.
how you describe your experience of the Mass becoming new again each time you celebrate the Eucharist at each annual observance and on feast days of Saints is exactly how i feel whenever i have the honor to be an altar server. serving at the altar is what i love most because it absolutley is a NEW experience each time - i truly feel the mystery and the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist in a deeper and different way each time i serve. sometimes, as you mention about your own patron, St. Charles, it is very awe-inspiring to serve on a special feast day of our favorite Saints because we can identify with them and we know that they are interceding for us as we journey to become ONE with then someday - to join the Communion of Saints!
see you this saturday! i'm looking forward to being at the ordination Mass.