Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cleri - what?

Part of being a priest is hanging out with other priests.  You just can't avoid it.  Once a month we have "Clericus" meetings at which all of the clergy in Central Texas (Waco, Temple, Killeen, Copperas Cove, etc.) gather for a meal, prayer, and reflection.  

Okay, maybe this picture is an exaggeration
I often crack this joke about Clericus: "Well, once a month we open up the crypt and let the old guys out to have lunch with us."  I'm 26.  The next youngest priest is my rector, who's in his mid-40s.  Then there are a bunch of guys in their late 40s and 50s.  After that, we have a bunch of old dudes.  And I mean old dudes.  

But in all seriousness, I actually treasure Clericus.  First, it's an opportunity to talk and pray with my fellow priests.  Sure, they're all way older than I am, but we're all still peers.  I'm smart enough to know that priests who isolate themselves end up in trouble because they cut themselves off from their peer support groups.

Secondly, I respect the work and labor of all those old geezers.  Sure, their model for priesthood is way different from mine, but that's mainly because we're generationally separated.  They have planted many seeds in this Church; now it's my turn to water so that God can give the growth.  

As I sit there and eat with them, sometimes I find myself caught up in a pleasant daydream: I envision myself in 50 years, being some old geezer who has done his job and done it well.  And then I look over and see some restless 20-something upstart who has his whole career in front of him.  And in that daydream I smile, and take another bite of lunch, and thank God for this beautiful ministry.

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