By Matt Janeczko, OFM Cap.
The original title for this piece was “The Quiet Beauty of the Priesthood.” But, as I was unlocking the church today and heard the sounds of Yonkers come alive, as I opened the doors and greeted Sister Mary Pius and others who come to pray in the quiet humidity of the early morning at Sacred Heart, and as I prayed the Office of Readings and thanked God for a marvelous supper and conversation with a couple deeply in love with their God each other, I realized that the quiet beauty that I experience is not the result of me being a priest, because for some reason priesthood makes me amenable to wonderful experiences of grace, but instead because it’s my vocation to be a priest, and thus it is where grace comes to me.
There is something, it seems, that we (heck, me) so often miss: the appreciation of the quiet beauty of our lives, the rivulets of grace that run through our hands and down out gullets in the form of the first sip of coffee in the quiet morning, cool water splashed on our faces during a cool day, or, in my case, getting to say “The Body of Christ,” and place communion in another set of hands each day, time after time.
These quiet insignificant moments, it seems to me, are really the mortar of a vocation: they set it solidly on the shoals of life, rooting it against the elements, come what may. They are as unique as any person, as any vocation for that matter. For me, it’s distributing communion, praying the Office of Readings in the sanctuary before the 6:45 am mass, the pounding of my heart in my ears whenever someone asks me if I have time to hear their confession.
In my first month of priesthood, I have begun to realize that priesthood is beautiful precisely because it’s a vocation; just as it’s a vocation to begin to fall in love and get married, excited about the future, just as it’s a vocation to be like my parents, still in love after all these years.
Yes, vocations are beautiful. And I’m thankful for my own, for yours too, for that matter.