There come along books that one wants the whole world to read, and one that I just finished is like that. It is called Chosen and the cover’s description of the book says, “How Christ sent 23 surprised converts to replant His vineyard. It is written by the 23 converts and edited by Donna Steichen. Each of the 23 stories is amazing – converts from Evangelical Protestants doing mission work in Guatemala, a coven, a New Age community, a man in prison, two who became priests the rest of the 23 are just as interesting and inspiring. For a number of the converts, it was the Church’s teaching on life and openness to life that led them to full communion. It sells for $16 on the Ignatius Press site – not bad for a nearly 500 page book.
The next inspirational piece of literature I have is the latest Columbia – the magazine of the Knights of Columbus. The May issue is dedicated to the Cristeros, the Catholic heroes in the fight against the anti-Catholic government in Mexico in the 1920’s. The articles and pictures are good prep for the movie that is being released June 1st called For Greater Glory which is getting great reviews from all the right places. It will be like Mrs. Carroll’s history class coming alive on the big screen.
And for my third and final inspiration, here’s part of Christopher Stefanick’s column that appeared in the Denver Catholic Register. I assume some of you will know the priest he writes about:
The Priest, In persona Christi
I met a young priest in Fairfax, Va., last week. Of course “young: is a relative term. Everyone around me gets younger with each passing year.
Father Jaffe had been at the parish for less than a week and was the priest on call for the local hospital. It was 2 a.m. when his pager went off. A couple had lost their 8-year-old son hours before and the mother wouldn’t let go of his body.
All attempts of the staff and hospital chaplain to get her to release her son had failed. She sat rocking him, unresponsive to anyone. The woman wasn’t Catholic, but the staff knew from experience that it was time to call in a priest.
When the newly ordained 26-year-old arrived he did the only thing that came to mind He sat with the parents in silence for a moment and said, “It looks like you need some prayer.” He opened his rite book, “The Pastoral Care of the Sick” to the section with the prayers for the deceased and he began to pray aloud.
Toward the end o the rite is the beautiful Litany of the Saints – “St. Joseph, pray for us. St. Monica, pray for us…” – that helps the grieving call to mind our family on the other side of eternity, which has already embraced our beloved deceased. The rite concludes with prayers entrusting the deceased to the Lord: “I commend you, my dear brother, to almighty God and entrust you to your Creator. May you return to the One who formed you from the dust of the earth. May Holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints come to meet you as you go forth from this life…May you see your Redeemer face-to-face, and enjoy the vision of God forever. Amen.”
After the “Amen” the mother stopped rocking the boy and without ceremony, silently laid his body in the arms of the priest. The new Father then carried the body to hospital personnel.
That was Father’s introduction to just how up-close and personal the life of a priest can be.
Jezu, ufam Tobie