Friday, May 28, 2010

The Priest

I wrote this two years ago but thought it proper for release in this, the closing weeks of the Year for Priest.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Let Us Pray…

“Precious Jesus, knowing that You were about to reconcile all things by the blood of Your cross” You gave to us the Sacrament of Sacraments, the Most Blessed of all Sacraments, Your very Flesh and Your most Precious Blood. Dear sweet Jesus let our lives be a sacrifice of love to You Who are True God and True Man, Who lives and reigns with our Father and the Most Holy Spirit forever in Glory, Amen.

For about two years now I have been the full time sacristan at St. Kilian’s Church in Farmingdale, New York and throughout this time I have had many amazing experiences with our Lord. Today as I was rushing to finish the Preparations for Holy Mass, a sudden sense of urgency came upon me. I felt that I must do everything in my power to attend this Mass. After I had placed the Chalice on the altar I walked over to the first pew, a pew I normally do not sit in, and quickly fell to my knees, hoping that God would let me know why I needed to be here at this very moment. I heard Fr. Saccoiccia ring the entrance bell and we all stood to greet our Priest. Together we prayed the Antiphon and as Father reached the altar and kissed it God opened my heart. I felt warmth all over and as I listened to the Introductory Rites I was meditating deeply on the crucifixion. I felt a feeling that words can never describe but faith knows very well. As I concentrated on Father’s beautiful words about the Sacrifice we were about to partake in I received from God a thirst so profound that I almost gasped for air. My head began to spin and I found myself absorbed in the Penitential Rite. I prayed with my heart, I prayed from my soul. “I confess”, I began and soon I was absorbed in the reality of my sin. Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was not worthy to be there but somehow was there has always been a reoccurring thought for me. I dare to say it even took me away from the Mass sometimes. But today, something was different, although I still felt unworthy, I had this sense of welcome, this sense of belonging; like I was somehow in the arms of Christ, gazing into His eyes, aware of His perfection and although aware of my infirmity, I still nuzzled close to His heart, knowing He would not reject me. During the reading from The Acts of the Apostles I heard God whispering to my soul. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them all I have commanded you.” I was in shock. I have heard God speak before but never in such a tender way. I gazed to the Priest who was to offer the Sacrifice in little less than twenty minutes. His eyes were closed, His head nodding as he listened to the words of Peter preaching to the Jews on Pentecost. I realized what was happening at that moment. We were being nourished; we were being fed with the Word, with the wisdom of God, with His knowledge, His Love. I have heard it said, but not until today have I tasted God’s Word in such a pure way. As I listened to Father’s strong words I allowed myself to drift into a different world. I approached the tomb. Guided by the distant words of the Priest preaching from the pulpit that seemed miles away, I crawled slowly up to the stone that was rolled away. I felt in my heart a desire to look inside, to see if Jesus was there. Then I heard the Priest say, “It was for you that the stone was rolled away, so that you may believe. I felt a lump in my throat as I looked into the tomb. I saw nothing with my eyes but with my heart I beheld the face of Eternal Life. It was HIM. I finally see the Truth present here, now, in front of my very eyes. A smile crept across my face and I could not take my eyes off of HIM. I knelt and saw HIM offering bread to His Father in Heaven, I saw Him bless it, break it, give it to HIS disciples and say, “Take this all of you and Eat it, this is MY Body”. I tried to catch my breath. I closed my eyes and dropped my head into my hands as I heard Him say, “Take this all of you and drink it, this is the cup of MY BLOOD. The BLOOD of the new and everlasting Covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven”. Then I shuddered as HE commanded, “Do this in memory of ME.” I was there, HE was there, we were really there. As I chanted the Angus Dei I could feel this burning in my heart, this thirst that I needed to quench. I knew water would never do, this thirst was for Love. This thirst was for communion. As a bride longs for her groom when she walks down the aisle, waiting with eagerness to unite with her beloved, so too was I as I approached our Lord in Holy Communion. I knelt and received my Lord and my lover. I ate His flesh, I drank His blood; we no longer were two, but united in one flesh. My Lord, my lover, my life. I knelt in my pew, feeling the coldness of the floor against my knees, but the fire of Divine Love kept me warm. I Prayed, all I could say was “Thank you, Thank You, I love you, Jesus.” I opened my eyes and again beheld the Priest-Victim, but still as I looked into the eyes of this simple Priest, I saw HIM. As Father Sacoccioa blessed us I knelt and watched Him pass by, I trembled thinking of every moment I had spent with this Priest, as His sacristan, as His friend and most importantly as one of his sheep. Then I realized how blest I really was to see the truth about this Priest, indeed about all Priests. “ When you see the Priest, think of the Lord Jesus Christ.” I was not merely thinking of Jesus but truly seeing HIM present in this Priest. This man, while serving as a Priest, serves also as a reminder of the promise of Jesus. Eternal Love, Eternal Life. I prayed from my heart and asked the Lord what brings about this most beautiful transformation in my heart, why today can I see you in the Priest? Some look in the tomb and walk away, some might even question it, but today, for the first time, I faced my fear, looked into the tomb and believed. I have seen the Lord, Truly HE is Risen!!! “Death is swallowed up in victory. Where O death is your victory, where O death is your sting?” I have heard the voice of the Risen Lord calling to me from my tomb of distrust. He rolled away my stone and cried, “Anthony, Come forth!” And I followed. And I saw. I tasted and I believed. Praised be the Name of Jesus Christ, Risen Lord, both now and forever . Amen.

Monday, April 17, 2006

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