I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. – Romans 12:1
These words, written by St. Paul, is the inspiration for the title of this blog. In reading Sacred Scripture I had read those words probably a thousand times, but it was not until I was diagnosed with ALS, that they really became real. After my diagnosis those words became imbued with power, because I was being called to do exactly what St. Paul was exhorting the Romans to do. To literally offer my body as a living sacrifice.
As a priest, I am very familiar with the idea of sacrifice. After all, my main task as a priest is to offer the Holy SACRIFICE of the Mass. But now, having no use of my hands, arms, or voice, I can no longer offer the Holy Sacrifice. Instead God, in his wisdom, has called me to become a living sacrifice. I have believed, since my diagnosis, that this would be my mission: to become a living embodiment of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. In other words, to become so configured to Jesus, priest and victim, that I become the sacrifice I used to offer. This is certainly not easy, but it is ultimately what every priest is called to. To be both priest AND victim is the call of every priest.
Every priest lives out this call in a different way. For some it is being misunderstood, for others false accusations, for others persecution by his bishop, for others constant ridicule for preaching the truth, and for me, ALS. I am blessed by this call to suffer in this way. I have grown more since my diagnosis than in all previous years as a priest combined. It is a great gift to suffer. Nothing has the ability to put life in perspective than a terminal disease for which there is no cure. It is a mysterious gift.
In a coming post I will write about how our Lady of Fatima is the one who obtained this mysterious grace from God. Until then, a few words of thanks are in order. First, thank you to the Catholic Signal Corps (their website is found here: https://catholicsignalcorps.com/) for helping me to design, manage, and maintain the blog. I also want to thank all those who have encouraged me to keep writing as a means of preaching the gospel to all nations.
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