I totally entirely did not in the least ever choose the priesthood as my vocation, which would be a contradiction in terms anyway, as vocation means to be called to the task by God.
- Jesus didn’t choose me because I’m some sort of good guy that He’s lucky to have on His team, or some such idiocy as that. No, I’m a hell-child of the devil inside-out, upside-down, back to front. I was running into hell as fast as I could go, and then, He choose (1) to redeem me when He was on the Cross, (2) to save me when I was baptized, (3) to call me because such is His mysterious will.
- Jesus didn’t choose me because I come from some sort of good family. As longtime readers know, I tend to brag on mom and dad. But no matter how much I do that, that doesn’t mean they they were not fallen human beings, as was and is the case with myself and the rest of my family. We’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God, original sin and whatever of our own person sin. Jesus knows that all too well.
- Jesus didn’t choose me because I have a talent for this or that: “Little George will be pretty handy with a Glock, so I’ll choose him!” Um… No… “Little George is will be pretty good at exegesis of the Scriptures, so I’ll choose him!” Um… No… etc.
A good priest is not ever:
- “a man of consensus” – if a priest is not a sign of contradiction by way of the Living Truth who Jesus is, then he is betraying his priesthood.
- “praised by everyone” – for then he is not speaking clearly, not acting decisively, not bearing witness as he must to the Lord Jesus.
To put it this way, a good priest:
- Get’s the hell out of the way of Jesus, the One High Priest, and he does that by keeping up with the Sacraments himself, specifically, going to Confession.
- Doesn’t take credit for anything good that happens with his priesthood, because the whole time he’s been stepping back to watch with awe Jesus the High Priest act through his priesthood.
- Has a bit of joy in the Holy Spirit, not because he has the right to such a miracle, but precisely for the reason that the irony is so very sharp in the best Christian sense ever. So, here I am, such a hell-child if left to my own devices, watching Jesus work through my life to accomplish His ends of getting more souls to heaven, those of His little flock. I weep for joy. The irony is crushing, exhilarating, magnificent, personal with the Lord Jesus, in good friendship with Him, with the lowly human priest being in humble thanksgiving.
The picture up top of this post, wherein the priest acting in the Person of Christ at the Consecrations at Holy Mass sums it all up:
- There is only One Priest, the High Priest, Christ Jesus, Christ our God, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who gave Himself for us, the Innocent for the guilty, even using the guilty – us knucklehead priests – to manifest His innocence, His goodness and kindness, His truth, such being the divine irony inviting all of us to look to Him.
What I hope my conversation at my judgment will be:
- Me: “But dear Lord, I only did what I had to do. Anything good was only You. You’re the only One. Non sum dignus.”
- Jesus: “Well done good and faithful servant. You did the one thing necessary.”
- Me: “Thank you, for absolving me in Confession.”
13 responses to “29 Years a Priest: “I’m Nobody.””
So many souls have benefitted by God choosing you, Father!!!
Choosing me to get the hell out of the way.
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.
G. K. Chesterton
If memory serves, n example of getting IN THE WAY of Jesus, was a certain Bishop who, during the “Amazon thing,” bragged about not having converted one indiginous soul to the Lord.
Fr. We are so glad you have achieved yet another milestone. I found your judgement to include “Non sum dignus” interesting, because for 21 years of reciting that at Mass, I never felt worthy to receive, and prayed earnestly for my sole to be healed. Still waiting for “the word” so that I may be healed.
Happy Anniversary Fr. George! We can always be glad and rejoice that God can never make a mistake especially in the way He chooses us to serve Him. Sending love and prayers.
God bless you Father George on your 29th? Anniversary of your Ordination to the Priesthood!! I count myself so fortunate to have you there to guide and expound on the greatness of God, Jesus, Mother Mary and dear St. Joseph. Don’t change Father…you are the fire that we need in this tepid world. May the Holy Face of Jesus shine on you and keep you healthy, safe and on the path of holiness and grace.
Father, I know you only through your posts, but I am grateful to Our Dear Lord for calling you. Christ has reached out His Hand to your fallen nature, and has raised up many of your fellow fallen creatures. Thanks to Him, and thank you.
thank you for speaking always the truth our Lord wants us to know….God bless you for your priesthood
Belatedly wishing you a happy 29th anniversary, Father, and hoping there will be at least another 29 to come.
May today be like the day of your ordination!
This comment is from Father Gordon MacRae, which he is having me type for him:
To be a priest today is to risk going to prison. It requires standing by the Truth and suffering that that Truth. In the latter years of his priesthood Father Byers has done one better. Unlike the vast majority of other priests, he has stood by the Truth and has stood by me in prison. As I read his self description in this post I was struck by how differently I would write it were I to write this on his behalf. He is a priest of the first Pentecost with the flame of Truth upon his brow and the breath of God at his back as he stands in the public square in defense of his brothers. The priesthood is better and bolder for Father Byers. Ad multos annos, Persona Christi.
Fraternal blessings, Father Gordon (from the slammer)
Father Gordon then apologized for having me write on my own cake. Hah.
Acting *in Persona Christi* with the Sacraments makes one want to not act in one’s own name!
It only seems fair to me write on your own cake – if you are making your own bed. [if you know what I mean, and I think you do] The epitaph, on the other hand…