I became a priest because God was calling me to it. I can promise you…it wasn’t my idea. At the time of my calling, and indeed throughout seminary, I imagined being a priest in a medium-sized parish, baptizing babies, marrying couples, growing old, and eventually dying and going to heaven.
Perhaps to keep me from running away, I was spared viewing the type of priesthood that God has since let me know that I would ACTUALLY be called to. Practically from my ordination day, I’ve felt (and been shown) that the priesthood God is raising up in me and my fellow priests of my generation is a priesthood of warriors who will fight and die for the faith. I’ve also realized, from pretty early on, that this generation of warrior priests would be, in an earthly sense, too late. It is tempting to ask, “why didn’t God raise up priests like this 40 years ago?” I don’t have the answer, but I know enough to know that God has his reasons.
It began with homilies…when people would come up and complain about them I would sit there and have a kind of out of body experience and think “I should be really affected by this, but I could care less that this person is yelling at me right now.” Of course it continued with videos spreading out across the country to friends and foes alike…I remember thinking “I should be really sad that people are attacking me” but I remember in those moments being overcome with the urge to chuckle at how little it actually DID affect me. You, as a faithful Catholic, have likely had similar experiences…and that is God working in you and preparing you for what is to come as well.
And so it begins…
I’m a bigger fan of authentic peace, but I’d rather have a battle than surface level passive-aggressive “peace” that simply masks evil. I’ve seen, in 3.5 years of priesthood, that perhaps a battle would do us all some good. If the stats hold true, 40% of Catholics who go to Mass every week just stood in open defiance of their bishops and the Church in voting in the affirmative for a candidate who:
1) supports redefining marriage
2) supports forcing the Church to do something it will never do
3) is for abortion through all 9+ months of pregnancy
4) is for the government helping people procure abortions if they can’t afford one
5) provides for the destruction of human embryos for research
Please draw me up a candidate who could more completely embody the opposite of Catholicism.
The Catholic Church in the United States is a cage that needs rattling, and the coming battle will provide just such a shake-up. The days of bishops and cardinals yucking it up with anti-Catholic politicians will soon be at an end. The days of bishops and cardinals wagging fingers at anti-Catholic “catholic” politicians and telling them not to cross this line again…and then redrawing the line further back…those days will soon be at an end.
And I guess what I’m saying is that there is a lazy part of me that prefers comfort and wishes it never had to come to blows like this surely will…but there is another part of me that realizes God is doing something in the hearts of faithful priests and Catholics and I think we’re on the edge of something that will be unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace. I’ve come not to bring peace but rather the sword.” – Jesus Christ. He brings the sword because the sword wakes people up, and it is better to be awakened at the last moment so that one can still repent than it is for a person to gain the whole world but lose his soul.
My favorite scene from the Dark Knight Rises movie is at the beginning. Commissioner Jim Gordon is at a podium and a couple of fatcat politicians are talking about him from afar:
fatcat 1: “He’s going to have plenty of free time, the mayor’s dumping him.”
fatcat 2: “But he’s a hero!”
fatcat 1: “He’s a wartime hero, this is peacetime.”
“Wartime Heroes” always seem clumsy, brutish, unpolished, unrefined etc. when things are going swell and dandy and everyone has enough food to eat. Wartime heroes don’t know how to make a martini and don’t have a room full of stogies, but when peacetime evaporates, no one gives a dang about priests and bishops and leaders that are “refined” and “dignified”, people turn to warrior priests and warrior Catholics…they will turn to us soon…and we will be ready.