When a parishioner or a relative sits there in the pews to witness an priestly ordination, what do they really see and how do they feel?
Perhaps, they see a person who is different, someone unlike the majority, someone who is special because he has been called to a different state of life than most others. Perhaps, it evokes contrasting emotions of connectedness and disconnectedness. A connectedness because he is a familiar member of the family, because he is part of the community; he is one of us - a fellow Catholic. Yet, a disconnectedness because many will not be able to identify with the experience of a Love which first called and which then moved one into a loving response. A feeling of joy that is genuine and yet distant. And to some others, perhaps they were just caught unaware, not knowing that there was going to be an ordination at that Mass and the solemn celebration meant no more than an irrelevant ritual.
However, to one who is walking or has walked the same path, one who has experienced the struggles of the journey in perseverance and faithfulness, one who shares a similar love for the One to whom our responses are directed, witnessing an ordination reaches far beyond the indifference of a bystander, beyond the conflicting connectedness and disconnectedness of a fellow Catholic.
There exists a deep awareness in the depths of one's heart of the bruises and consolations that must have preceded this celebration, the falling and rising along the way, the purification and moulding, the failures and successes that teach humility. The laughters and tears that the journey presents. An intimate knowing that here, before the altar of sacrifice, God once again assures His people of His faithfulness towards them in giving them of Himself not only in the Eucharist but in a person He has Himself raised to administer to their needs and well being, another life now broken and poured out in Christ for all. An immeasurable gratitude, an enormous inspiration, a burning desire to arrive at the same destination as the ordained.
Which experience might yours be should you be present at an ordination, like I had the privilege to this evening at the priestly ordination of Fr. Agustinus Tanudjaja, S.J.?
29 April 2012, Sunday