February 16, 2013
I am baffled, truly confused about a certain little phenomenon I have encountered rather often in my short time as a Priest. Over the course of my time here at St. Raphael's there have been a number of calls which usually start like this:
Me: (Pick up the phone) “St. Raphael's emergency line, how can I help you?”
Caller: “Hello, is this a priest?”
Me: “Yes, what is the emergency?”
Caller: “Oh, good, eh... I've been trying to get a hold of a priest.”
Me: “Well, you found one, what is happening?”
Caller: “I think the devil is after me, we have been hearing things at night, my wife can't sleep, we smell weird smells, our dog barks at apparently nothing, so we need you to help us out since you guys (that is, Catholic Priests) deal with these kinds of things, I'm not Catholic but I didn't know who else to call.”
It is a testament to the truth that people, when things get ugly and are scared to death about what is going on spiritually, they don't equate the Priesthood with just another preacher. There is something essentially different about Priesthood in comparison to other ministers that in a very basic level gets communicated to others. Somehow people perceive or sense the Priesthood to be different in a significant way...they recognize there is a power there, not in the man that is the priest, but in the priesthood itself. All the people that call have no idea who we are or what kind of men we are, in their moment of need what they reach out for is the priesthood of Jesus Christ, not Fr. Alejandro nor any individual priest.
Every time I get this phone call I thank Hollywood and ask myself the same question... If you recognize that there is power in the Catholic Priesthood, why not be a Catholic? I think this is the challenge of spreading the Gospel, that perhaps we have not made obvious the Truth every man senses and has a glimpse of. That there is such a thing as objective Truth, and it has a name; that there is such a thing as the Good and it has a name. That Truth is Jesus Christ alive and kicking. Living out our faith is making the presence of God in the world obvious. It is the essence of priesthood and the mission of every Christian, to make Christ known. Imagine, if men and women can get a glimpse of the truth about the priesthood without even interacting with a priest previously, how much more glaring will THE TRUTH be if they see us live according to Him and make Him present?
- Fr. Alejandro