There are those days when even having been given our meaning and purpose in life (which we can rest assured we’ve found when we’re living out our vocation) that we’re still searching. It can often be for reasons that are easily within our control (like setting aside some more time for prayer, being a little more connected to our faith) other reasons require amendment and grace (we’ve got caught in the “cobweb” of sin, easily remedied with the Sacrament of Reconciliation) and sometimes we’re experiencing stress or the challenges which exist in each and every vocation. Even having meaning and purpose doesn’t keep us from needing to be reassured or reaffirmed of it. I know this well as a priest. On good days (which are most) I love the priesthood, being a priest, my ministry, the people I’m blessed to serve and meet in my life. On not-so-good days I find I need a lot more than I give.
One of the things that helps me though is to celebrate Holy Mass. It’s in praying the words of consecration that I realize that in my totally unworthy state as a weak and at times sinful man, the Lord chose me and others to bring about His Physical Presence in the world. Through the sacraments I bring His life to ours, and even on the most melancholic of days, that is all the meaning and purpose I need. When I think even beyond that, I realize that the manner in which Jesus has made me strong (as a priest) is perhaps in my greatest weakness – that I need this as much as I offer it.
I find myself deeply moved by the faith of the people who come to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. I see this strong faith in the eyes and when I come to know them and have some sense too of their meaning and purpose and their appreciation for the Holy Priesthood among the other sacraments that are deeply a part of their lives. We all bring the Bread of Life no less than others to everyone. They receive Jesus, and then with His faith, in His Word, carried within the sacred vessels that each of us are as Christians we bring the Eternal Word to those we meet throughout the day. Many times I have reflected upon how more and more my faith is deepened by faith-filled, joyful people. Not “preachy” people, not theologians or apologists – just good Christian women and men who love and serve the Lord in their daily lives. They inspire me to live my own vocation more and more, day by day.
Jesus says, “I am the Bread of Life, whoever comes to me will not be hungry”. Indeed, we receive, but we give the bread of life, we bring it to others. If ever we need a greater purpose, a way to convey the great meaning in our lives, this is it.