Priest Salt Light and Leaven

The Cure of Ars had a weak voice and many of the thousands who flocked to his pulpit could not hear him. But they were converted to a better life by the mere sight of him. A lawyer who came away from Ars visibly changed, explained to his friends, “I have seen God in a human.”

Non-believers will never be brought to Christ by arguments alone, or by brilliant processions and devotional songs; much less by the sight of the fine Catholic schools and large hospitals. They must see God – His goodness, His charity, His purity, His holiness–in each Christian they meet.

St. Paul says, “We are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor.6:16). If we are the temple of the living God: what my position would be as a Priest? If God dwells in us, we must reach out like Mother Mary who extended her helping hand to Elizabeth. We must be like the Samaritan woman who came to fetch the water, left the water jar and went back to the city to tell the people about Jesus. Jesus awakened in her the quest for the Divine. In Jesus, she interestingly encountered the love of God (Jn 4:1-42).

The Apostles when they received the Holy Spirit on the Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13) spread the Good News with courage. We must be like St. Paul who was converted (Acts 9:1-22) by the Spirit of Christ and reached the Gentiles with his God experience or with his encounter with Christ. In our contemporary context, we can see the perfect example in Mother Teresa of Calcutta who felt the call of God in her heart and dedicated her entire life to the down-trodden and cared the rejected and dejected by the society.

Taking all these God experiences, the priests who carry God’s image must allow God to show through and catch reflection of God when people meet them. In a priest figure, the Divine-human encounter takes place in the ordinary circumstances of life. God meets human persons in the very midst of their existential problems through His messenger.

For a priest, faith involves a deep understanding of God’s saving grace in his life. It is to trust in Jesus and let go of one’s ego and pride. It takes a lot of humility to stand up and acknowledge oneself as the follower of Jesus. When we have experience of Jesus’ loving presence in our lives, we must also serve others and allow others to experience the same through us. Christian love calls for a readiness and willingness to give oneself in service. Christian love is an inner eagerness to reach out to those in need, whoever they may be.

It happened in one of the homes of Mother Teresa for the dying. A sister was taking care of an old man who had just been brought in from the streets. The driver, who is a non-believer in Christianity stood there and watched amazed at the love this sister obviously had for the dying man. Her eyes, her voice, her words, the expression on her face, the way she touched the man, all showed tremendously genuine and tender love. As he turned, he saw a picture of Jesus hanging on the cross and embracing an old man. He went to Mother Teresa, said to her: “I came here as an empty man without God in my heart and without peace in my mind. I leave here full of the presence of God whom I have met in the love of that sister for the dying man, and full of peace of mind.”

No need to do miracles but small actions too can change and become a miracle for everyone with meaning. It is Christ who allows trifling trials and seeming annoyances so that they will make us more holy. It is in and through Jesus Christ we become true follower of God.

To love Jesus more than anything and anybody else, I think, is to allow one’s being to be pervaded and possessed with the values of Christ. So that every thought, word and action of the person is colored by ‘Jesus-ness.’ A candle cannot be really called a candle unless it burns and gives light. For, it is the nature of a candle to give light. The same truth applies to us too.

By listening to Jesus, we can be transformed by His light. Listening to Jesus means spending time with Him in prayer. It is to know the way He felt, He spoke and He acted. It is to know the way He responded to persons and situations around Him and do accordingly.

– – – written by Br. John Singarayar