Monday, 24 February 2014

The priest, the Mass, and love

This is a piece I wrote for the newsletter this week, that some people found to be powerful.
Every so often you come across a thought or some words that remind you about what’s really going on and what’s important. We all need that grounding from time to time – to get things in perspective, and stop us taking things for granted. And that includes priests. Our most common “activity”, indeed the occasion when parishioners see us most often, is when we are celebrating the Mass. How easy it could be to think that we’ve “got it”, that we totally understand what it’s all about.
So here is the great Cistercian monk Thomas Merton offering an awesome and humbling thought about what is really going on each time we approach the altar... ...
If you are afraid to love,
never become a priest, never say Mass.
The Mass will draw down upon your soul
a torrent of interior suffering which has only one function:
to break you wide open
and let everybody in the world into your heart.
For when you begin to say Mass,
the Spirit of God awakens like a giant inside you
and bursts the locks of  your private sanctuary.
If you say Mass,
you condemn your soul to the torrent of a love
that is so vast and insatiable
that you will never be able to bear it alone.
That love is the love of the Heart of Jesus,
burning within your own heart
and bringing down upon you the huge weight
of His compassion for all the sinners of the world.

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