Like all boys growing up, I had heroes. These were men of virtue, characters who embodied true courage and nobility. Honor perhaps is a better word. Optimus Prime for instance, the courageous leader of the autoboots who gave his life for his cause. He was calm, serene and composed. Another hero, was the character of Hulk Hogan. He would yell and scream, encouraging all of us to ‘Train, Say our Prayers, Take our vitamins! He always beat the ‘bad guys’ in wrestling. (This of course distinct from the actual man who was jacked to the gills on **ahem** pharmaceutical aides!) Needless to say, that our heroes are people/characters we can try to emulate. Well why not a priest? I know some awesome holy dudes, trying to shepherd amidst this crazy world and they need our prayers!
Today is the Feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas. The Church in 2017 seems at a crossroads, but where there is much distress, there is even more grace to be acquired for our sanctification and the sanctification of others. Heroes especially among the younger clergy are coming forward (along with some very faithful older priests), being bold and facing the world. These men are heroes standing up for God’s faithful and encouraging us to grow, to think and to get Holy.
Too often today we see a disconnect between being ‘pastoral’ vis a vis being ‘doctrinal.’ This false notion must come to an end, and I believe it will through prayer and the JPII generation of priests getting ready to ‘take the reigns’ so to speak. To be ‘pastoral’ doesn’t mean speaking in soft feminine overtones with no punch, it means administering the proper dosage of Spiritual Direction at the moment the Faithful need it. It means forming the heart, so that the heart may mirror the heart of Christ Himself. Most ‘doctors’ administering euthanasia come off as ‘nice,’ but it does not change the poison that they will give to the patient.
Instead of criticizing, we need to pray for our pastors, that they be men of prayer, holiness, courage, boldness and honor. That they may preach with firmness and vigor, sometimes even rocking our worlds and causing us to think. To paraphrase late Archbishop Fulton Sheen, in order to be a lamb in the confessional, you must be a lion in the pulpit!
Our Lady of Guadalupe,…………………………………………..ora pro nobis!