Today, June 3oth, 2007 I celebrate the eleventh anniversary of my priestly ordination. It only seems like last week! I have so much to be thankful for as I remember that day. I was ordained by the auxiliary bishop of Dublin, Dr. Eamonn Walsh and remember him vividly reminding us of the joy that priesthood can bring. I certainly did not fully understand his words then, but I do now. The joy of priesthood, for me, is in the service of the Lord - bringing Christ to others. I do not underestimate the many challenges that it also presents - but these are graced moments too.
Today, I think of a particularly holy Irish Dominican friar that I had the pleasure to know and who died some years ago: Fr. Anselm Moynihan OP. Fr Anselm wrote a beautiful book entitled The Lord is Within You and I'd like to quote from a section of the book on the understanding of the Blessed Sacrament. It has helped me hugely:
'At Communion, we meet the Son of God in a way that breaks down all bodily barriers. It is the closest of personal presences this side of heaven.
Jesus is not merely present in the Eucharist. He is there to be eaten. He gives us his Body and Blood as the spiritual food of our souls. Food is necessary for life. Our life of grace, in which we share the divine life of God, is a very real kind of life.
- the life of grace,
- the trinitarian life of our souls,
- the indwelling presence.
This supernatural life needs supernatural food. And the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is that supernatural food for our grace-life. It is the Body and Blood of the Incarnate Word of God. Quite simply, faith teaches us that Jesus is the source of all our grace-life'.
Thanks be to God, and thanks to the goodness and kindness of family, friends and my Dominican brothers for deepening the appreciation of the Eucharist in my priestly life.