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Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Direction of the Holy Spirit

Great day for kites here in AZ! Just like a March in Michigan. Well...almost.

I found out Friday that my boss, the man responsible for my current career as a Liturgist (or Liturgeist as he sometimes refers to me) is leaving us for a new assignment starting July 1. Friday was a difficult day for us as a staff as we realized that we were losing someone that we have all grown to love and admire in his role as our Pastor. Today was equally as difficult for our parish family as he made the announcements to all of the masses this weekend. My personal survey of the parishioners' reactions is the following word from just about all of them: "Why?"

As anticlimactic as it sounds, there were no hidden agendas or astonishing revelations. No scandals, no catastrophes or rockstar promotions. There is but one answer to the "why" question and that answer is, simply, obedience. I can think of no one whom I know personally, who exemplifies this virtue to the magnitude that he does. And he does so with humor and without complaint or fanfare. A commendable trait for a rather confused era, wouldn't you say? It's like giving up life for Lent; like surgery sans anesthetic; like "get in a car and drive and a few years later, I'll tell you where we're going". Of all of the vocations of which I am acquainted, the priesthood is one that continues to become more unfamiliar & baffling to me as time passes. Perhaps this is because it points me to some sublime truths that are meant to help this sinner get to heaven. Perhaps it is because, I, like most people I know, fail miserably at not becoming attached to the person in the role of parish priest. We want him to be "ours" forever, failing to realize that we, too, are not our own.

So for the next few months we'll accept the "lame duckishness" of his leadership. I'm sure he's just thrilled about the prospect of a long exit. (Lent within a lent. Now there's a novel approach!) We will pray for his new parish family and for a peaceful and smooth transition to the work that lies ahead. Meantime, it gives me a chance to consider my own "obediences" and effectiveness at paying attention to the Holy Spirit's driving wind in my life. I'll also consider how truly grateful I am for the privilege of working with such a fine priest; one from whom I've learned so much and that I am honored to call my friend.

God is good....all the time.

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