What was your New Year's Eve like? I was up all night; in fact I spent my night in downtown Vancouver among all the partygoers and revellers who were celebrating the New Year in "style." I wasn't participating in the celebrations, though. My job was to get them to the hospital after they had over-indulged in alcohol and drugs. It was a constant run to and from the hospital. As soon as we cleared, there was another one waiting for us. The emergency department of a downtown hospital can be like walking through the gates of hell. Will people ever learn? Possibly, but as soon as they do, unfortunately there is another one to take their place. It's a vicous cycle.
The bright light of the night came at 6:30 AM, at the end of my shift. I changed out of my uniform, and into the clothes I had brought for Mass. Then I made my way through unploughed streets to attend the Low Mass. I was the first one there. Correction, both priests were already there, kneeling and praying in the sanctuary. There is something about seeing a priest absorbed in prayer. A good priest radiates holiness, and prayer is the path to holiness.
This is something you don't often see in a Novus Ordo Church. In all the years I went to the New Mass, it was more common for the priest to walk in right at the start of Mass than it was to see him kneeling in prayer before the Mass. There was one exception to this. He was an old Franciscan priest, and he was the priest of my return to the Catholic faith. He would kneel on the hard floor in the chapel before every Mass, never taking a padded kneeler. He did hard penance, and would often give away the luscious food gifts that people brought him. He sat in the confessional before every Mass with the door open and the curtain pulled aside, praying his Rosary. It was an open invitation to the Sacrament of Penance. He set a good example of holiness, one that was very beneficial to me at that time. If only there were more priests like him. God rest his soul.