Thirty-Fifth Anniversary of Priesthood Ordination, April 9, 1983

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Self-Portrait for 35th Anniversary of Priesthood, April 2018

 

My Place at the Table after Thirty-Five Years

The Real Presence of Jesus rests

In my soft hands

Not real work some would say

No work-related cuts or calluses

 

Lifting up the Bread of Life

The Body of Christ

Reflects back to me

The beauty of ordinariness

Dipping bread in homemade soup

For strangers

Serving family recipes

Around rectory tables

To spiritually malnourished friends

Sharing fresh loaves from the oven

When their bread has become stone

 

Lifting up the Cup of Salvation

The Blood of Christ

Remains heavy lifting

After all these years

Of carrying within me the bruises of many

I now conceive the primacy of blood

For parishioners’ mastectomies

Accident survivors

Mothers giving birth

The deep cuts of suicide

And the bloated fear of blood

In friends and strangers

Who died of AIDS

 

The Word of God

Falls from my mouth

More easily now

Since I have learned to listen more deeply

Conversing with people who need healing

From their mental illnesses

From wars and abuses that were not their fault

Or multiple addictions

Or sheer stubbornness

And now I finally admit in my silence

I am poor too

Since I am powerless to change them

From my own talents

Or to convince others that Jesus is not silent

 

My shoes are worn now

My shoulders slumped and my belt tight

For my possessions are many

As I walk in faith

And pace around my own infidelities

And my heartbreaks

For the step-by-step journey to love is long

Where the Word becomes flesh

 

Jesus remains present

In sacramental oil and song

As I mark and anoint another forehead

As a tattoo for salvation

Or a brand of fidelity

For the many who remain afraid to die

 

I am still surprised

By the consolations falling from

My mouth when a divorce is imminent

When a husband cannot admit infidelity

Or when a wife hides her multiple prescriptions

Or when a police officer knocks

On a parents’ door

During the nighttime

 

The Forgiveness of Jesus

Rests more comfortably

Within my heart

As mercy becomes a constant friend

As tender as a spring jonquil

And as hearty as an ancient oak

In my reluctant surrender to love

 

The years have drawn me more closely

To admit my insincerities and peccadilloes

And to see with sheer delight

Surprises that enflame

My heart with gratitude

So that there is more room

Under my skin

For both Jesus and myself to be together

Under the same roof

Of our priesthood

 

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Bishop William McManus, John and Rosemary Raab, April 9, 1983

11 thoughts on “Thirty-Fifth Anniversary of Priesthood Ordination, April 9, 1983

  1. Congratulations Fr. Ron, my first “R” father, on this wonderful achievement on the delayed this year feast of the Annunciation. I’ll say at least one extra one today for you and the countless souls you have served and helped now these many years.

    Mike from Centennial

  2. Dear Fr Ron,
    A Happy and Blessed Anniversary! Thank you for all your teaching and guidance, helping us to open our minds and hearts to one another.
    Nancy Binkley

  3. Congrats times thirty five–know what a blessing you are to all of us. You patience throughout the restoration has been a model to all of us to let go and let God. I cherish our friendship and sharing your gift of art that speaks so clearly to our visual senses–a perfect complement to the Word you eloquently share. Prayers for many more blessed years–A

  4. CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so glad you answered your call. You have influenced my life in so many profoundly positive ways, and I thank God for you every day!

  5. Wonderful, Ron, I’m happy that I shared that ordination day with you! I’ll always remember your first homily at your first mass at St. Joes, in which you quoted your mom as saying, “Don’t get too big for your britches!” Your mom was right to remind all of us that the key to knowing Jesus is through humble service to Him.

  6. Thanks be to God Fr. Ron. Your ministry through artistry, written word and wit and wisdom is a living witness to your Love of the poor Christ.
    May our Lord bless and protect you. Amen

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