The dream. “A phrase that has become a great part of my journey as a priest. “The dream.” Saint Francis was called by God to rebuild a ruined church. “The dream.” Not so long ago I was haunted by a dream to serve. “The dream.” This dream, in which I shared with all of you.
17 years ago I lived a dream – God’s dream for me, the dream of those people who believed and helped me to get through, the dream my parents lived to see – “the dream.” That dream came true when I prostrated myself before the altar and pronounced my vows to live in obedience, in poverty and in chastity. That dream came true when I rose up from that altar and said my first Mass. That dream came true when I became Christ’s priest – a priest forever. I lived that dream.
Saint Francis lived God’s dream for him as well. As the Book of Sirach proclaimed, “Behold him in whose time the house of God was renovated, like a star shining...like the full moon at the holy day season...like the sun shining upon the temple...like the rainbow appearing in the cloudy sky.” Francis, lover and proclaimer of the Gospel became a renovator, an innovator, a collaborator, an instigator in the society and Church of his time. Francis discovered the humble, poor Christ and his example became the great light that directed Francis’ life. Jesus’ example was what set Francis’ feet resolutely on the road of poverty and humility, on the path of relationship where all were brother and sister. He invented a form of communio, of community where there existed no positions of dominance. The power of this quality of relationship flowed from Francis’ wonder-filled discovery of the mystery of the Incarnation – the God who became man. For Francis, God was not the God of the feudal wars or the holy crusades. Francis’ God was and is the Word who walked in our midst, without any sign of power, as the humblest and most loving of all. Francis discovered the humanness of God, the humility of God. For Francis, Celano writes, “the God of majesty himself became his brother (Celano, Vita II, 198). Francis embraced this call to “communio”, communion with all and identified with the God of the poorest and humblest human condition. He set an example for the society and Church of his time in his radical embrace of poverty and in his creation of a community in which “whoever wishes to become great shall be the servant, and whoever wishes to be first shall be their minister and servant (Rule of 1221). Radical thought for radical times! Francis created a true spiritual revolution with the Gospel at its very core. In his day Francis challenged his brothers, his Church, his society “ to be created anew.” St Paul echoed these words in his letters to the Galatians! “All that matters is that one is created anew!
In my journey as a priest, one thing I do is pray all the time – that God who called me to become his humble servant recreates me anew every day. The life of a priest is not easy. It’s a long road, oftentimes dark and uncertain, but God renews our heart every day. It is not possible for me to go on in the midst of difficult circumstances without you, who not only support me with my daily provisions but nourish my spirit with your faith and sustain my own faith with your prayers. I am blessed to have all of you as part of my journey of living “the dream.” Like Saint Francis, I look upon the crucified Christ and see in me his wounds – wounds that heal others, wounds that comfort the lonely, wounds that bind people together, wounds that becomes an ocean of love.
Pray for me. God Bless You!