July 15, 2010

Bonaventure and the Daily Mass Crowd

This morning was my last regularly scheduled Mass with the 8:30 crowd. We have two daily Masses here, 6:45 and 8:30, but the latter is a much larger group.

As a parish priest, the folks who come to daily Mass get to be like family. They are the first people you get to know by name, and the ones whose spirituality and style of prayer you get to know the best. In turn, they know you better than anyone, both because they experience the more relaxed preaching and prayer of weekdays, but also because they get to see you both when you are generous and on fire with the love of God and also when you are grumpy and petty and not praying well. You get to be grateful for them as a kind of anchor in your daily life.

It all makes me realize how deeply supported the life of a parish priest is. The work has plenty of headaches and stresses about which I have often written gracelessly in these posts, but one is supported and held in prayer in a way that far outstrips them. I will very much miss the little group of folks with whom I have regularly shared in the secret of the Lord's Sacrifice.

Providence made today the feast of St. Bonaventure, which is appropriate because I am leaving the parish ministry to return to the life of a student. I preached on one of my favorite lines from the Itinerarium: In hac consideratione est perfectio illuminationis mentis...videt hominem factum ad imaginem Dei. "In this consideration is the perfect illumination of the mind...[when it] sees the human being made in the image of God." (VI:7) So often we take the doctrine of our creation in the image of God in a matter of fact way. As it turns out, however, it is the key to our journey into God. Our imagination, by which we can be anywhere and reach out in love and care both forward and backward in time, we imitate God's own eternity and ubiquity, finding a way into the consideration of these mysteries. But above all it is by our capacity to love, and in our freedom to dispose of ourselves completely in love for each other, that we imitate the delightful and delighted will of God.


ben in denver said...

Since learning of your new assignment, I've added a petition to St. Bonaventure to my morning prayers on your behalf.

I'm sure he will leave his mark on you in some way or another in your studies.

Brother Charles said...

Thank you, Ben. That is a deep encouragement.

Greg said...

Special day, special work from which you quote. Bonaventure's work played a role in my explanation of the spiritual transformation we require when we resolve conflict in the manner of the legend of Taming the Wolf.

Am pleased to share a love for this special work. Prayers for your journey to a new home...

4narnia said...

nice post, Fr. C. and it is providence that it happened to be the feast of St. Bonaventure. it has been an honor to serve at the saturday morning Masses with you. know that you have our love and prayers and support as you journey to your new assignment. PAX! ~tara t~