|Christ the Great High Priest|
"We seek the God of consolation, not the consolation of God." These were words first uttered to me by a consecrated virgin on the campus of Creighton University while I attended a spirituality program a number of years ago. They communicate a message stubbornly true - it is my place to seek God, not simply His blessings.
These words have flitted through my mind off and on over the course of a couple of months. It is one of my greatest temptations, I have found, to seek consolation in human relationships. With another person, I can find warmth, companionship, intimacy, sympathy, and company. Perhaps more to the point, however, in another person, I can find distraction; I can ignore at least for a time, the omnipresent knowledge that I am less than I could be, more vicious than I ought to be, less perfect than I am made to be. Human relationships easily become the building materials for a facade that permits me to believe that I can get through life well while avoiding solitude.
This is not to say that human relationships are bad. In fact, they are good, beautiful, and necessary. As with all things, though, they must be ordered toward the goal of salvation, and all too quickly they become an end unto themselves. This is especially true, if not for every priest, for me at least. Thus, after a period of prayer and soul searching, I recently found myself asking Christ, "Can you be enough for me? Can I be satisfied with you alone?" His answer was not immediate, but He seems to be making slow reply day by day.
The first thing He did was bring me to an awareness of utter exhaustion. I am so tired. I feel as though I could sleep for a week and still sleep longer. An introvert by nature, I need silence, but I take too little time for it. So, when my vehicle recently broke down preventing me from going very far from the rectory and with Msgr. Woster on vacation, I was left to myself in the rectory. Having overcome my annoyance at the lack of transportation, I found I was uninterested in leaving the rectory. I spent this past winter watching television shows on Hulu before falling asleep. I read very little, which is an oddity for one who, until recently, averaged a novel per week. No vehicle, a quiet rectory, and nothing new on television prompted me to return to my books. I have finished ten or so in the last several weeks.
Then, schedules being what they are, I have been unable to spend much time with the people with whom I would generally spend the majority of my time. I have been, largely, alone with my thoughts, with my fly rod, and with my God. Instead of boredom, I have been finding rest, peace, and a shifting perspective.
In the midst of all this, I celebrated the forth anniversary ofmy ordination to the priesthood. As I prayed the preface for that Mass, especially the final paragraph, I was reminded profoundly of who I am:
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,And suddenly, the answer was yes. Christ can be enough for me. It is not always easy, it is not without suffering, and it is not without the occasional desire for more. But He is enough, and enough is all I need.
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
For by the anointing of the Holy Spirit
you made your Only Begotten Son
High priest of the new and eternal covenant,
and by your wonderous design were pleased to decree
that his one Priesthood should continue in the Church.
For Christ not only adorns with a royal priesthood
the people he has made his own,
but with a brother's kindness he also chooses men
to become sharers in his sacred ministry
through the laying on of hands.
They are to renew in his name
the sacrifice of human redemption,
to set before your children the paschal banquet,
to lead your holy people in charity,
to nourish them with the word
and strengthen them with the sacraments.
As they give up their lives for you
and for the salvation of their brothers and sisters,
they strive to be conformed to the image of Christ himself
and offer you a constant witness of faith and love...