With fear and trembling…

With spring now here I’ve started to become increasingly aware of the fact that I leave for Holy Cross in only about four more months. This is much more than just another move to a new apartment, this means a trip from the bottom of the US to the top, and to add to the mix, with a (will be then) eleven month old baby.

This in itself is pretty scary. I am uprooting my family from the relative comfortableness of our current life and trusting that everything will work out once we’re there. But ah! Once we’re there!

It is here that my thinking usually shifts to the reason I am going to the school in the first place; I seek to dedicate my life to God and His people as one of His priests. The closer the time comes to officially start down this path, the more nervous I get. This is even scarier than moving my family across the country.

When I think about being a priest, my mind immediately recalls how unworthy of such a duty I am. Growing up, I always viewed preachers and priests as almost “other” than myself. They were holy men who prayed frequently, effortlessly dispensed advice and seemed destined to do what they were doing. With my own journey however I’ve come to see priests differently, as real people, just like myself, with their own fears, problems, stresses and desires.  Again, just like myself, with my own fears, problems, stresses and desires.  I live far from what I would consider a holy life; I pray far more infrequently than I should, I’m often confused myself as to the best course of action, and I still have a lot to work on in taming the various passions which sometimes drive me.

All of this is possible, and the first step is always the same: we must recognize and then acknowledge our failings. I thank God that I have found myself in a position where I have to do this starting now, where there is no more time to “get to it later.”  The fact that I am scared at the thought of the responsibility I seek to take on drives me to examine and seek to better myself, to do what I can to try and prove myself worthy of that responsibility.

You don’t have to take such a drastic step to awaken your own self to this however. We all have responsibilities, whether or our spouse, kids, co-workers or what have you. Strive to be a good example to who ever it is that depends on you or who you really care about. Live your life in such a way that those around you honestly want to know what it is that you have that they seem not to. In our times it is no longer expected that someone is a Christian. It is much more common to be agnostic, or unconcerned, or even lukewarm to the point of being insincere. The upright Christian is becoming rarer to find and hence more valuable.

We are all called to the priesthood in our lives, to tell the World of the Good News and to teach, guide and help each other. It is my prayer that God, seeing us striving to overcome ourselves and reaching out to Him, in fear and trembling, will grant us grace and mercy and draw us closer to Him. Amen.


3 responses to “With fear and trembling…

  • Sasha

    You know, friend… I once considered/was considered into the priesthood. What scared me the most though is not how unworthy I am (as my dear father confessor says, priests are just guys, the same as others but ordained) but how much (eternal) responsibility I’d be taking on – for all the people who’d come to me for advise or ask me to pray about them.
    This is not meant to affect your decision, I’m just sharing my thoughts/experience. Your path is unique and may very well involve being a priest. Grace to you – and glory to God for all things! Christ is risen!

    • Zacharias

      We had a traveling hieromonk come to out church once a few years ago. He gave an awesome homily, but during it he said something which really struck me. He said, “it is the responsibility of the priest to ensure the salvation of each of his flock, even if he himself were to not be offered this salvation.” I’ve never forgotten this amazing glimpse of the selflessness and heavy expectations which are put on the priest. Only with God’s help can we hope to fulfill such roles and expectations!

  • Mathew Kakis

    My dear brother in Christ,

    Three years ago, I sat with my beloved priest for confession, In the middle of the mystery, he tells me he felt the Holy Spirit telling him that I should seek the Special Diaconate Program at Holy Cross. I was floored. I asked him, “are you for real?” I had just turned 69 and thought this was a little crazy. After discussing this with my dear wife, I decided to be obedient and applied. My reward was three wonderful summers with the finest group of candidates, one can imagine. The program, professors and entire staff of Holy Cross down to the kitchen staff became family. I’m sharing this because you and your precious family will be in an environment that will bless you the moment you step foot on the campus.
    I have just been given my ordination date next month and I am experiencing everything you are. This call is not to a Chineese buffet but as Zorba claimed, “It’s the full catastrophe”. But, we must always remember, that we have been called to labor where the enemy has been vanquished and He promised that He will never abandon us. Yes there will be trials, but He is always the victor.
    My dear Zachary, my prayers are with you and I truly hope that whoever reads this and feels that if he is called to the clergy of our church, be sure that the evil one will find co-workers to disuade them. But we must look beyond and respond to Him who created us and loved us first as have that “great cloud of witnesses” before us. I hope we will meet shortly on a visit to HC.

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