Heaven blesses us.
For those who did not see the sunset tonight
in Southern California. . . Farewell to the day.
However, the greatest gift we are given in life are the
souls that bless us with their goodness.
Today in our parish we said goodbye to a beloved
priest, who is being reassigned after six years.
There were tears, yes. And smiles.
Father Agustine Escobar is a priest filled with joy,
and sanctity, and humility. He personifies the type
of priest that Francois Mauriac wrote about:
People say that there is a scarcity of priests. In truth, what an adorable mystery it is that there still are any priests! They no longer have any human advantage. Celibacy, solitude, hatred very often, derision and, above all, the indifference of a world in which there seems to be no longer room for them - - such is the portion they have chosen. They have no apparent power; their task sometimes seems to be centered about material things, identifying them, in the eyes of the masses, with the staffs of town halls and of funeral parlors. A pagan atmosphere prevails all around them. The people would laugh at their virtue if they believed in it, but they do not. They are spied upon. A thousand voices accuse those who fall.
As for the others, the great number, no one is surprised to see them toiling without any sort of recognition, without appreciable salary, bending over the bodies of the dying, or ambling about the parish schoolyards….
For centuries, since the first Holy Thursday, some men have chosen to become objects of hatred, without expecting any human consolation. They have chosen to lose their lives because once Someone made them the seemingly foolish promise: “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My Sake will find it.”
But if they did not find their joy even in this world, would they persevere? “What are You going to do?” said Abbe Perreyve to Christ, the day before he was ordained. “You are delivering Yourself; You are abandoning Yourself to me. You surrender your Body to me. I shall use it for my needs and for the needs of other souls…I shall touch You, I shall carry You, I shall handle You and You will allow me to do it; I shall place You on the lips of whom I will; You will never Refuse….”
Indeed, Priests, holy priests, are repaid by an immense Love.
Francoise Mauriac; Catholic writer who won the Noble Prize (1952) in literature.
(from Holy Thursday An Intimate Remembrance)