Brothers and sisters, as a high school principal I can easily get discouraged. Because I am one of the few people in the building that knows everything that went wrong on a given day, I often end my day feeling that the whole school is falling apart and that it is my fault. When I feel this way, I have a remedy that was suggested to me by a colleague early in my career as an administrator – Stand in the hall while classes are changing.
Standing in the hallway.
When I stand in the hall I quickly discover that most of the kids are indeed in uniform, most of the teachers are happy and fulfilled in their ministries and most of my parents do not in fact hate me. Standing in the hall, I appreciate the fact that while one of my 300 students may be falling short, the other 299 are doing just fine. This simple exercise is a reminder that my God cares for me and that His Holy Spirit is there to guide me. In other words, if I step back from my problems through prayer, I discover that all is well with my school.
Christ and His Church prevails
Monday night, I had an opportunity to “Stand in the hallway” with regards to our church. Specifically, I had the privilege of serving as a deacon at the Archdiocese of Washington’s Chrism Mass. This is a Mass celebrated during Holy Week by the Bishop of every diocese in the world. It is also one of those rare occasions when virtually every priest in Archdiocese surrounds our Archbishop on the altar during Mass. It is a celebration of the priesthood and a celebration of the men who have answered the call to serve God in this very special way.
At a time when our Holy Father seems to be under scrutiny and attack; At time when our values as Catholics are assaulted as marriage is being legally undermined and; At a time when our commitment to protect the unborn is ridiculed, we need to “stand in the hallway.”
In awe of the priesthood
Brothers and sisters, I stood on the altar of the Cathedral of Saint Matthew with my brother deacons and each one of us was in awe. The sight of six bishops – the literal successors of the Apostles – surrounded by hundreds of priests while a Cathedral full of seminarians, men and women in consecrated life and the lay faithful looked on was simply overwhelming. If for a moment I may have been discouraged by the recent attacks on my faith, the Chrism Mass was my opportunity to “Stand in the hallway” of my Church.
Thank a priest!
Brothers and sisters, there are very good men in the priesthood. Like any other group of humans, some are not living up to their calling from God. But, the vast majority are! And, if the media and those with political agendas try to tell you otherwise, find a way to spiritually “stand in the hallway.” When you do, I trust you will find that we are indeed the Church that Christ built on the Rock of Peter!
Thank a priest today for his service to us and to Our Risen Lord!
Here is a link to more information about Chrism Masses in the Catholic Church: