Being Ordained: A Reflection by an Almost-Priest

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.   

Deacon Bresnahan (bottom right) with Diocese of Arlington Seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia

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.

2 thoughts on “Being Ordained: A Reflection by an Almost-Priest

  1. Dear Rev. Father Breshahan and other newly Ordained Priests,

    Move forward with a deep sense of humility and a desire to grow in wisdom for the sake of others as you accumulate practical knowledge from your experiences. Pray for knowledge; pray for wisdom; pray for understanding; pray for spiritual and physical stamina; pray for the ability to most often respond selflessly, reverently and lovingly as is fitting in the Lord. Be holy, but do not distance yourself from those who will call on you for needful help or even affirmation or even just to say “Hello, I am thinking about you.” Give, give, and give and then return to the Lord for replenishment; if those others to whom you give respond with love, count it as an additional blessing, and you will find true peace and true refreshment. Lead, teach and encourage your rectory staff and volunteers, within the context of their daily occupational or volunteer duties, to selflessly excel and meet professonal standards as a gesture of love to every person in the parish, knowing that to love their neighbor in this way, they are, in fact, loving their God, and they will manage resources well for you.

    Thank you for your message for your “gift.”

    Peace to all of you in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
    t

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