Friday, November 2, 2012

The Lord: Chapter 59, “The Sacerdotal Prayer”

Dear friend, *

I didn’t even know there was a sacerdotal prayer. Heck, I had to look up sacerdotal: ”relating to priests or the priesthood; relating to a doctrine that ascribes spiritual or supernatural powers to ordained priests.” But this is what I love about the Catholic Church, where I began lowering a kneeler and pulling out my beads five years ago. There’s always something to learn.

It turns out that the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John is the sacerdotal prayer. Jesus, now that “the hour has come,” prays for himself and prays for his disciples, linking them and Him and the Father, and by extension us, in an eternal chain of love.

I left home at age fifteen, an Episcopal acolyte (altar boy) who thought seriously of the Episcopal priesthood as a vocation. Life laughed, pointing toward the stage, then the East, then the book. Now I am with books again—reading every day something from this unequaled tradition of Catholicism, and trying to write about it from a simple, relatively uninformed lay perspective.

These are the best days of my life.

I think I want to leave this post short, my friend, because any effort on my part to explain the sacerdotal prayer—when I didn’t even know there was such a thing—would probably smack of presumption. There’s so much in Guardini that I just — don’t — get. But I’ll keep trying and reading, pulling down my kneeler and out my beads.

Pax Christi,

This series of posts continues here with chapter 60.

* This post continues a series of meditations on Romano Guardini’s book The Lord, framed as a open letters to a very real and treasured friend from my school days.

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