By Matthew Janeczko, OFM Cap.
Later this morning, I’m going to have the privilege of placing my hands atop the heads of three of my Jesuit classmates as they are ordained priests in the Bronx, NY.
For quite a long while, ordinations have always been experiences of liminality for me: up until two weeks ago, I have always watched and thought, “that will be me some day.”
At my own ordination, I couldn’t quite tell you what I was thinking – and that’s because the thoughts and prayers on my soul were those that cannot be limited to words.
But today – today – I will participate in the ordination of three friends of mine and be able to pray through the entire ritual. I find this entire proposition extraordinary (I still turn around with a confused look on my face when someone inquires, “Father?”).
I know that I’ll have more thoughts about this in the coming days – I must admit, they are rather disorganized at the moment – but what I do know right now is that I’m looking forward to the ordination of these three men almost as much as my own.
The precise reason for this is the laying on of hands – the ritual in which, after the ordaining bishop does so, all those concelebrating priests place their own hands upon the heads of those to be ordained and invoke the Holy Spirit.
To me, the only way anything one does within Christianity makes sense is because of the Communion of Saints. By this, I don’t mean tradition – rather, I mean the reason why it all matters – the sacraments, the prayers, the ordinations, the laying on of hands (the list could, and ought go on and on) take place exactly because these same rituals have made saints. They’ve made saints out of men and women who became saints because they followed other saints. All followers. All in this together. All in the Communion of Saints.
Because in the end, aren’t we all supposed to be saints?