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For Your Marriage

Timothy and Donna have been married for over fifteen years after meeting in the gambling tent while volunteering at their parish carnival.

It’s Good To Be The King – and The Priest and The Prophet

A priest, a teacher, and an accountant walk into a house. There isn’t a punch-line, it was our house and they all came for dinner. The evening progressed and during our conversations it occurred to me that our guests represented the vocational trinity. The ordained, married, and single gathered together to share of themselves with one another. Donna and I always observe that our poor brains are always overheated after an evening of discussion with this thoughtful group. We notice, though, that our hearts are fuller and our spirits are refreshed, as well.

We live in the information age. There is no lack of material available to make anyone who chooses to make the effort a knowledgeable individual. We no longer have to consume the scraps that fall from the table; we can have our fill at the wedding feast. And yet, it remains our responsibility to wear the proper wedding clothes. Paul tells us in Ephesians to put on our new selves created in God’s way in righteousness and truth. The information we consume and the discussions we have can’t leave us wallowing in our old torn and dirty rags. We have been transformed in Christ so we may in turn transform our world.

Our after-dinner talk touched on the challenges we faced and the wretched wickedness of the culture of death which is being further exposed each passing day. We acknowledged and identified the evil that we saw taking place. This is one of the first responsibilities of Christians as prophets by baptism. Too often, however, this is as far as many of us go who read the latest books or articles on what’s wrong with the world. It was, therefore, edifying to hear from our guests the different ways in which they were facing these challenges and returning good for evil.

Prayer and personal sacrifice are ways in which we perform our baptismal priestly duties. Each of our guests was an unconscious witness to this fact. When they spoke of their struggles or mentioned a Mass, prayer group, or meditation in which they participated, this sacrificial ministry was being performed. There are few things more unproductive than wasted suffering. We needn’t be helpless and inert in the face of evil. Prayer and sacrifice are powerful weapons against the powers of darkness. Something as simple as making the sign of the cross is a slap in the face to the devil.

It’s good to be the king! We are baptized into the Kinghood of Our Father. We have armies and resources at our command. Our advisors posses the wisdom of centuries. Our guests shared the details of some of the campaigns in which they were involved. These weren’t mere political campaigns; these were campaigns of conquest. Politics is downstream from culture. We can’t expect to harvest a crop of selfless servant leaders when we neglect to tend our cultural fields. Our visiting royalty spoke of the time and effort they took to prepare their territory for production. They spoke of educating the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, bearing wrongs and forgiving, comforting, feeding, visiting, and just plain loving those who were passing through their personal kingdoms.

They had no idea they said these profound things, but they did just the same. It’s done when a priest says the right thing rather than the safe thing to his parishioners. It’s done when a teacher patiently develops critical thinking skills in students and leads them away from simplistic clichés to the truth of their faith. It’s done when an accountant counsels and consoles a godson suffering from despair.

Our vocations may vary, but we all share the baptismal anointing of prophet, priest, and king. Will we get a prophet’s reward? Do we offer sacrifices for others? Is our kingdom in this world but not of it? Here’s a prayer I wrote to St. Joseph which Donna and I say most days to help us in our vocation:

Saint Joseph, you provided for those who were given to your care in this life. Intercede for us, so we may receive the grace we need to provide for those who are given to our care, whether for a moment or a lifetime. Amen.