A Chalice Returned

A Chalice Returned

ChaliceIt was a present from a priest we briefly knew for a time.

His was not the usual priestly career. He was a joyfully radiant priest, thrilled to say Mass and be with us. But he himself shared his true story.

He had a humility born of deep suffering in his priesthood. He had traveled from the heights of such things as concelebrating Mass with Pope John Paul II and participating in the liturgy at Saint Peter’s in Rome to falling far from his ministry, losing his faith and hope, struggling with multiple addictions, working in secular jobs outside the Church, and finally despairing of all and attempting (and failing) to take his own life. He did not respond to the treatment programs he was in.

Against his will, he was brought before the Blessed Sacrament for a daily holy hour. Only then did he begin to respond to that awesome grace of being before Our Lord. His faith returned. He regained the privilege of saying Mass. He returned to his religious family.

We followed him with our prayers over the years after his brief visit with us when he had the honor to bring Jesus in the Eucharist down upon the altar in our chapel. We saw the transforming power of Divine Mercy in this “Living Chalice of the Precious Blood”, our Founder’s way of referring to priests.

This priest, once dead in faith, died where Christ was betrayed, suffered, died and rose again. He died in Jerusalem where the Priesthood and the Eucharist was instituted. And as he prepared for death, this priest left instructions that we, who had prayed for him before the Blessed Sacrament, should receive the chalice pictured above.

This was his Ordination Chalice, given to him by his parents, and carefully kept in pristine condition for 24 years, even through the horrible years of despair and separation from the Church. It was the very symbol of his priesthood. Our founder once called priests who die unaware of their great dignity as other Christs, “the poorest of the poor”.

This man died rich.

He died a priest forever.