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A gift from the Father

First slide

There are some things in life for which no amount of preparation will ever be adequate. April 10, I learned that ordination is one of them. Over the last five years of seminary, I always wondered what it would be like to be ordained. Being a naturally anxious person, I always had anticipated the stress, nerves and fear that would come with making a pledge of my whole person to God for all of eternity. What I actually received, however, was far beyond my greatest imagining.

Immediately before the ordination, a few of my classmates and I prayed a holy hour in the cathedral rectory. For that hour, my mind raced ceaselessly, thinking of all the intricacies of the ceremony and hoping that I would remember all the right things to say and do.

As the hour came to a close, I felt sad that I had spent these final moments before ordination anxious about myself rather than talking with God. Then, with only about 40 seconds left before I had to depart for the Mass, I felt the Lord speak into my heart: “Since before creation began, I have longed to share this moment with you” (Song 2:16).

With this one sentence, everything changed. Gone was the anxiety. Gone was the fear. All that mattered was that I had a Father in heaven who was crazy about me. He longed for me and wanted nothing more than for me to be united to him in the depths of my soul. For so long, I had wanted to find him, to prove to him that I loved him; yet all along it was the Father who had been looking for me, trying to show me his love for me. When we lined up to process in for the Mass, the congregation faded away in my mind. I barely noticed the family and friends who were there to pray for me and support me. As I began walking toward the altar, all I could think about was that I was walking toward my God, ready to be configured to him in a way I never could have anticipated.

The ordination came to a climax for me when I placed my hands in the hands of the bishop and promised him my obedience. Looking into his eyes, I saw the eyes of my heavenly Father. In that moment I promised both my God and my bishop the whole of my life. Far from the anxiety that I had expected, this moment was the easiest moment of my life. I knew that no matter what struggles and difficulties lie ahead, I can never be separated from God. He has made his dwelling place within me in a manner beyond my wildest longing.

April 10 I promised God my all. Yet my promise was not the biggest one made that day. Rather, it was the Father who made the biggest commitment: “My beloved is mine, and I am his.” 

Deacon Reuwer, who is from St. William of York Church in Stafford, just completed his third year of theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa. He was ordained a transitional deacon April 10.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021