By: Deacon Ed Bresnahan
People often ask me how I’m feeling as I approach Ordination and, I have to be honest, that is a hard question to answer. On one level, I think you could probably compare it to what Stephen Strasburg must be feeling as he prepared to become a major league baseball player. No, I can’t throw a 100 mph fastball or a curveball, or even a softball (accurately), but I understand what it means to have the hopes and expectations of a lot of folks on my shoulders – and I haven’t even celebrated a Mass yet.
On the other hand, like Strasburg, what I’m about to do is something that I have been preparing for and dreaming about my whole life. In my case, God has been preparing me even more than I knew. So while there is a lot of pressure and I’m a little nervous that I might trip while swinging the incense, there is a feeling of joy that comes along with doing the very thing that my heart has been set on even before I knew it. There is a simple joy and a reassuring peace because I’m doing, and I can’t wait to do, what God wants from me.
Somehow though, that message gets lost. I’ve read about and heard people try to frame my vocation in the context of scandal, change and chaos. While those certainly can be present at times, they are not all I see when I look at my brothers from Arlington and beyond. I see men who want to lay their lives down on the altar every single day out of love for God and His Church. Does every priest want to save the world from scandal, chaos and sin? Yes, I think so. But more importantly, they want to bring a broken world, and themselves as members of it, closer to Jesus Christ, Who is the Savior.
That is what inspires me to be a priest: not fame or affirmation, but the desire to be closer to Jesus Christ by doing what He is asking me to do. It is the adventure to which God Himself has called me. And there really is a sense of adventure, because we are placed in a world that doesn’t understand the priesthood into a culture that struggles to promote fatherhood.
So what am I feeling as I approach ordination? Nervousness? Anticipation? Joy? Absolutely. But also, it is the excitement of getting to meet people who have been praying for me. The excitement of being a father to countless spiritual children and of offering my life as a small token of what our Lord has done for me. Please continue to pray for priests, for more priests and for holy priests. And in a special way, please pray for the three of us who are to be ordained on June 12.