Trust and obey

by Joe Bollig

The ordination of a man as a deacon, priest or bishop is a tremendously beautiful and profound event. This year I’m scheduled to cover three ordinations at two Masses.

The first and second were the diaconal ordinations of Deacon Daniel Coronado and Deacon Michael Guastello on May 21. The third is the priestly ordination of now-Deacon Agustin Martinez on May 28.

There are so many beautiful aspects of an ordination: the church, the vestments, the music and the rite of ordination itself. However, if you focus only on the visual feast for the eyes and miss the profound symbolism present in the words and actions, you’ve missed everything.

Here is just one.

When the candidate comes forward for the examination, he places his hands into the bishop’s hands and promises respect and obedience to him and his successors. In his homily for the ordination of Deacons Coronado and Guastello, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann said this promise was perhaps the most difficult of all.

Think about it. The man being ordained literally and figuratively places the remainder of his whole earthly future under the control of another person. Not only that, these promises will also affect his eternal destiny.

In our time and culture where absolute individual choice and autonomy are held to be among the greatest goods, a man freely promises to trust God and hand it over to another.

That’s a radical commitment. That’s radical trust. That’s a contradiction to the spirit of this age.

But here’s the kicker. The radical commitment of obedience is meant for all Christians, not just clerics. Obedience here is another word for “trust,” and another word for “believe.”

It’s hard to obey. It rubs us the wrong way, goes against our nature. Often do we disobey. Been there — done that.

The weird, paradoxical thing that the world and spirit of the age doesn’t get is that obedience to God doesn’t restrict us. It frees us.

Pray for our new priest and deacons. And while you’re at it, do yourself a favor and spend some quiet time with Romans 6:15-18.

Dive in. The freedom is glorious.

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