Tuesday, 23 March 2010


"Why do we always get a tired priest?" asked a small child after I'd just completed my third Mass on a Sunday morning. Now this happened years ago, when I was much more sprightly than I am today.

In the Caribbean we have a popular chorus that goes like this, "I never get weary yet. I never get weary yet. I never get weary praising the Lord. I never get weary yet." Why did the repetition of these words sound like two cymbals clashing within my head? Only fatigue and a sense of futility prevented me from rising and screaming, "It's not true! It's not true! "

Matters are not made easier by the admonition of St. Paul, "Let us not grow weary in well-doing," (Gal 6. 9). Is there something shameful in becoming tired in doing the Lord's work?

I savour the memory of a young lad asking me if I ever did not feel like saying Mass on Sunday. Now I would not presume to speak for other priests, but for me, as I told the little fellow, when my alarm clock rang early on a Sunday morning, at an hour when the birds would not have ventured to squawk or chirp, at such an hour my body protested that it wanted to stay snugly in bed, comfortable in the thick darkness.

With a smile he replied, "Just like me." We did a 'high five!' He was one of my most reliable altar servers. Like soul-brothers we could boast that we did not let our feelings get the better of us. With more or less joyful, more or less willing hearts we did what God expected of us.

I'm inspired by these words from the Letter to the Hebrews, (12. 12) "For the sake of the joy that lay ahead of Him, Jesus endured the cross." In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus yearned, pleaded, to be spared the cup of suffering, but with courageous resolve, accepted the will of His Heavenly Father. In comparison, my weariness, very real to me, very heavy for me, is as nothing.

With ease I identify with Jesus sleeping in the boat while his disciples struggled against the wind and the waves. He rose, perhaps with a stretch and a yawn, when he was awakened to do something. It eases my conscience that Jesus sometimes took His disciples aside from the crowd so that they could rest a while.

So there's no need for me to aspire to being super human, toughened against feeling the burden of living. No need for me to feel I've let down a youngster by feeling worn out by the time I've completed my third Mass. Jesus made no claim to being above and beyond such human weakness. In my following Him there's no call for me to resent my frail humanity.

It is in and through it I am to choose to do the will of God and in this find joy...as did the bed- loving boy in serving Mass.

Peter O.P.

Next week Fr. Isidore will Meet God in the Australian Outback.

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