A while ago I was getting the rectory ready for a visiting priest to stay, and noticed that the place had gotten uncharacteristically, chaotically even, out of order. Tumbleweeds were blowing down the hallways when the doors were opened, vines were creeping in around the corners of doors, dishes in the sink, pots, and pans on the counter.
It started to dawn on me that I was staying too busy. My wheels were spinning in overdrive, my exercise was nonexistent and while I was staying very busy I wasn’t getting everything done by a long shot.
To cut to the chase, after the great rat infestation of winter ’18 and the subsequent gutting and remodelling, the same thing started to happen – but this time mostly because things are simply still in boxes, and what little storage room there was in the house is now gone, save for the addition of cabinets in the kitchen.
So I’ve more or less given up on it’s being picture perfect anytime soon. And while I’m away I know everyone and their cousin will probably stroll through and see the kitchen remodel, and marvel at how out of order the Pastor’s rectory is. One no longer refers to it as “that rat infested hellhole”, thanks be to God. I mean it’s not all that bad, but you won’t be seeing it in Southern Living anytime soon.
It’s penitential living at it’s near finest. And we’re all about penance here – atoning for past sins and omissions, straying from the practice of virtue as we do at times into the realm, of vice. Then back again in repentance of heart.
We’ve simply grown as a Parish. We have many more people involved in the life of the Parish, a lot more activity taking place. More receipts to file, more schedules to organize, more letters and emails to type up, phone calls to return, house calls and hospital calls. Sacraments, the salvation of souls, Jesus Christ the Word made Flesh daily upon the altar of our salvation.
It’s what we do, but I’m still finding the balance as the work has increased. Triaging, delegating, asking for advice – and lots of apologizing. Lots of organizing.
Then there’s the situation in the Church which took the wind out of everyone’s sails. That changes the big picture and makes one reconsider many things. There is no defense for the indefensible, and the ongoing avoidance from the top isn’t helping anything. The news cycle may be over, but very real effects are being seen in people’s actions, prayers and works.
People are tired of being lied to by the men and women of God. Mostly men. And mostly men who preyed upon minor men. Feelings of betrayal, anger, mistrust. The rug gets pulled from under you once more. Will it stop? Will Priests, including myself, strive to grow in personal sanctity and holiness? Or toss it all in and go teach somewhere? It’s been a rough time for many Priests, I can assure you. Demoralizing. Challenging.
Prayer and appropriate exercise will get one through many things, relying upon the promises of Jesus Christ. And returning phone calls, emails, tending to the business of the Parish and packing up for a trip whilst making the rectory presentable. I pray I might grow in wisdom, charity and humility before the Lord God, and one day glorify Him in His presence forever.
Conform me to your will O Lord, teach me the ways of your heart that I might be made pure, and create a memorial of goodness to the glory of you most holy name.