Tuesday, May 13, 2014
"No fuss, no fuss, Paris would be nice" so apparently said a Father of one of the Oratories for some Jubilee in his eighties, so apparently a whole gang of them got on Eurostar and headed off to Paris for lunch.
I hate fuss too. Yesterday was the thirtieth anniversary of my Ordination to the priesthood, I celebrated it as quietly possible, just me and a server assisting at Mass. As I get older I hate more and more 'Me' celebrations, especially those that merely indicate I am still alive - "prizes for breathing". Prayers are useful - congratulations I find a bit hollow.
Five years ago we celebrated my 25th anniversary, it is good to look back and see how much better our church looks and how much more beautiful our music is. Two of those serving are on their way to the priesthood, others in video have moved on, some to their Eternal reward, some like Segei who produced this video to other parts of the world, he is back Moscow, one man I received into the Church has apostatised as is now a Muslim.
Thanks to Gloriatv for preserving this archive video, of the celebration for my 25th Anniversary it is worth comparing the Church then to what is now.
Thirty years as a priest and I look back over all that time I wonder quite what I have done and what is of value. There is certainly a sense in which I envy those with a clutch of children and a loving wife, the loneliness of celibacy is painful at times but it roots us in the Cross, I am become increasingly convinced of the connection between celibacy, the Cross and the priesthood. The old Mass gives a clue to this mystery: everything I have done in communion with God, in muttered prayerful silence is of infinite and eternal value. Everything I have done without him is vain and valueless, and will pass away. The priestly things I have done, really the sacraments I have celebrated, will last forever. The priesthood itself only has meaning in its eschatological dimension, pointing to God and his Kingdom and the things that truly last.
When we undermine celibacy for example, when we downplay sanctifying grace or make our liturgy prosaic or trite we do serious damage.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake