Our son Chris marks the second anniversary of his ordination today. And to celebrate, he’s moving from Kansas City to Dallas…where he’ll begin a brand new ministry at a Jesuit retreat center.
We said our farewells this past weekend, when Fr. Chris was in town to attend this year’s round of ordinations for the Central and Southern Province. I was blessed to be there, too, on Saturday morning at College Church. And it stirred my heart to see our son join the long line of priests (100 or more) who prayerfully laid their hands on the heads of the ordinandi.
It reminded me of one of my favorite moments from Chris’ own ordination—as a close friend of his paused ever-so-slightly-longer than the other priests in the long line to bless our son.
An incredibly touching scene…
Fr. Paddy had then been ordained about a year, so he knew something about how Chris’ life was about to change.
It was a bit like being there, in person, to witness the dramatic scene that plays out in the reading from 2 Kings we’ll hear at Mass on Wednesday:
When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, he and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here; the LORD has sent me on to the Jordan.”
“As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you,” Elisha replied. And so the two went on together…
[Then] Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up and struck the water, which divided, and both crossed over on dry ground.
When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask for whatever I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of your spirit.” “You have asked something that is not easy,” Elijah replied.
It is not easy, the life of a prophet…or of a priest.
A Dad thinks about that, when he watches his son pack up and head to parts unknown to take on a challenging new ministry.
But a Dad finds a deep measure of consolation in having had the chance to see his son pass a priestly blessing on…two years after his ordination.
He knows that two years is enough time for his son to have experienced the remarkable joys…and the vexing conundrums…that come all bundled up together in a religious vocation.
He knows that his son has seen for himself the truth of Elijah’s statement: “You have asked for something that is not easy.”
And he marvels at the generosity of spirit, growing ever stronger in his son’s heart.
The mantle is passed. The son lovingly renews his “Yes.”
Happy Anniversary, Chris! You are ever in our hearts…and in our prayers!
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.
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