The Story Of A Priest
All the following happened some 31 years ago. A priest, a Father Peter, in his mid-60s’ came to live with me in a parish where I was Pastor. At the end of the year, 1982, Father Peter– always in poor health – died; a sad occasion for me. Often in times of honest disagreements, he had the happy faculty of saying, “God bless you.” These words, “God bless you”, immediately threw a new dimension of peace and good will into our discussions and strengthened our friendship. Try this in disagreements.
On the first day when Father Peter reported to the Parish, he spoke a few words of awesome humility that I will never forget . . . “I can’t do much, but I’m better than no one”. . . This highly educated man, with a superior intelligence, a gift of preaching prophetically, a rich knowledge of scriptures introduced himself with this simple statement, immediately winning my heart. True humility always captures the hearts of those who come in contact with it.
Without exaggeration, of all the priests in Chicago, Father Peter drove the oldest and most dilapidated automobile in the Archdiocese. When he started his car in the school yard, the children in the classrooms could only think of the take-off of a rocket ship for the moon. Indifferent to clothes and personal belongings, he could well have been a modern day Francis of Assisi. In all his mannerisms, he showed himself a Christ figure.
In May, 1982, Father Peter asked me to drive him to the hospital because of his chest pains. After some time that day, the doctor, a personal friend of Father Peter’s, came out of the room and said to me . . . “We are going to lose Father Peter.” I cried without shame. His life has since influenced me to aim for the best in life. Humility is so attractive. May he rest in peace.
In this Holy Season of Lent, 2013, we all have the good fortune to meet another Person of simplicity and humility, a Person with a sublime knowledge of the Scriptures: Jesus of Nazareth. He hides His Greatness to come in friendship to us, His people, not to judge but to heal and lift us to Goodness.
“God bless you”, He says to each one of us, bringing peace and joy to all. With no blare of trumpets, the humble Christ stands at the door of our hearts, anxious to enter and enrich our lives. His humility in willing to come down to our human level, with all His gifts of mind and heart, immediately increases His attractiveness and appeal.
Fr. George Mc Kenna