Ordination Day

Today 5 men shall be ordained priests for the diocese of Spokane. I know all of them well, living under the same roof as several of them for a few years. There is much to say and much that cannot be said. I wrote the following a few months ago when my classmates where ordained deacons. One of them will be ordained a priest tomorrow (the other two next year).


On My Ordination Day


I had forgotten this day,

or rather, that this was the day,

my ordination day.

The crypt is full of friends,

families, even strangers,

priests and deacons,

at least one bishop, maybe more;

festivities are waiting

across the street, delights

hard to number but easy to swallow.

The Heir shall come and lay

upon heads his hands,

calling down the Paraclete

forever changing destiny;

to serve and not to be

served, bearing upon heads

the weight of the gospel,

the proclamation and the message,

and held forth in hands

the pressure of the chalice,

bearing the weight of the world.

Today is my ordination day

and I am not there.

To mind are a thousand reasons

to be present at the altar,

yet only one that called me away,

a tingling, small voice

that only speaks in silence

and even then is quiet.

The years have not made clearer the call

save that it remains what it was

which is to be elsewhere, elsewise.

The heart of the mystery remains

mysterious, other, distant, present;

only the encounter has taken me away,

laid low my present for the sake

of what has not yet come to pass.

For two years I have not advanced

so clearly as those in the crypt,

my firm and sure plans muddled

in wind and rain and passing days;

there is no book, no chalice, no stole,

no altar, no hands, no kiss;

I wait and cannot wait,

for today is my ordination day

and I am not there.


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