Thursday, January 01, 2009

To Hell and Back

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.

10 comments:

Marilena said...

now that is an example of holiness!! good point!!! something for all of us to consider! man, i don't miss the NO!!! not one bit!!

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I don't thing the New Disaster would be as bad if there were more priests like him, holy priest = holy congregation

Marilena said...

lol joe!!! new disaster, lol!!!

Therese said...

in our parish I can think of 4/6 priests that people would see in the church praying before mass. Our current priest is in there regularly and has encouraged people to come there to pray outside of mass times too.

paramedicgirl said...

Therese, that is good to hear. I love the quiet reflection and prayer time before Mass, when silence encourages prayer. I always get that opportunity at the Latin Mass and for that I'm grateful.

Marilena said...

therese, its uncommon in new mass parishes to have priests pray before mass. i must say, that iam very glad to hear he encourages people to pray before mass, and after mass:) wonderful to hear!

paramedicgirl said...

Marilena, you are right,here in liberal Canada, it certainly is common for priests to not let us see them pray in the churches before and after Mass. It is unfortunate that we have such liberal bishops and priests. A priest should edify the faithful by his actions. I'm glad it's not like Canada everywhere. Good for Therese's diocese.

Cygnus said...

Sadly, the NO is pretty much my only choice, as it always has been.

Before Mass, Father chats with the parishioners in the back of the church.

With his wireless mic on.

Tom in Vegas said...

Well, look who decided to surface:0)

Happy New Year to you and your family!

I wish I could meet a priest like the one you had the pleasure of knowing. Unfortunately, outside a monastery, that might never happen.

God bless!

Smiley said...

I was lucky this year to witness for 17 days NO mass said really well with great reverence at the monastery which i was staying at.
At our parish we have one priest who prays before the blessed sacrament every Friday after it is exposed and then he sits for hours in the confessional (almost 3 to 4 hours). The parishioners love to go to confession with him because he is a Holy priest. I pray that here in Canada we have more priests like him.
It is amazing to see people come in at 3:00 pm on Saturday waiting for him to come into the confessional. The line ups are a good sign.