As long time readers know, I remain always fascinated with Mountain Life, perhaps because I feel at home, perhaps because I grew up this way. I love everything about nature, and I love that Jesus goes after all of us everywhere who have a fallen human nature, whether in city or country, on whatever continent in whatever culture or language or politics. What’s there that is not priestly about wanting to be part of that in whatever way in whatever place? But that bit about escaping the real drama of the priesthood is the judgment I hear frequently enough from some priests and some laity, that I am somehow misplaced in this paradise, that I have unused and even buried talents, blah, blah, blah. It is to laugh.
I wonder if the attitude behind such statements betrays a certain prejudice against those who live in these backsides of the beyonds. The locals are absolutely amazing, each a treasure in God’s eyes, entirely having histories with which I am already familiar with coming from a place very much like here. All the good things. All the bad. And those who are not local, oh my, so many of them I wouldn’t say are somehow more special, but so many of them do have rather, shall we say, unique backgrounds, having some of the most unique talents one would ever find anywhere, including all that which regards science, communications, military, intelligence services, finance and, yes, crime at very refined and very non-refined levels.
So, if it’s the not the area, not the locals, not the transplants, then what would it be that would have people say frequently enough that I am somehow escaping my priesthood or, diversely, that I am misplaced? Perhaps it is the opposite of what people might themselves expect.
Here’s the deal: I love it here, as I love being a priest everywhere and in every way. Not all priests are like that and perhaps it is refreshing to see that, so refreshing that it is somehow held to be something special about yours truly as a priest, so much so that I must not really belong here because that attitude is so unusual and so useful. But, I protest, loving the priesthood is just the normal Father Joe Schmoe priest thing, isn’t it? Aren’t all priests to be that way? And isn’t that something that has to do not with any particular priest, particularly me, but with Jesus the High Priest Himself? He’s the One. He’s the only One.