Friday, February 27, 2015

"But It Isn't Easy!" They Whined.

There are several ways I could fault my seminary formation, which is not to say that there wasn't plenty of good stuff. We did not receive nearly enough instruction on how to celebrate the rites of the Church. (Our 'pastoral' classes were mostly a joke.) However, the most glaring omission was the failure to emphasize that living the priesthood is sharing in the Cross of Christ. Surely, there is much joy and many consolations, but there is also misery. As a priest a man will experience severe (and sometimes undeserved criticism), calumny, be the object of gossip, and be under-appreciated (and this is just from his brother priests and bishop. :) ) And this is as it should be for all of this happened to Our Lord. We needed to be taught to know that it was coming and accept it as such. I see this as being responsible for most of the defections from the priesthood of men I have known.

The same also should be said of married life. When people get married they have all sorts of foolish and wonderful romantic notions. There are lots of warm fuzzies. But eventually reality will set in. There will be arguments. There will be 'a failure to communicate'. One or both parties will 'fall out of love', which is really just a lull in emotions and not a failure in the act of the will which is real love. And then someone will realize that they other party is bald, fat, saggy, and/or wrinkly. "I have a right to be happy!" "I deserve a trophy spouse!" (It is a good thing that I have self-control when I hear such bullsh*t.) Marriage is a share in the life of Christ so it is a share in His Cross as well as His Resurrection. Love which is worthy of the name does not seek greener pastures when the consolations are withdrawn. (This does not mean that a person must endure an abusive situation.)

It also may be said of the Christian life as a whole. Don't expect warm fuzzies at Mass. Don't expect that following the Lord will be smooth and easy. (That road leads to a different place.)

As Christians we need to embrace His Cross and do it daily.