Thursday, October 2, 2014
Life Is Not Always Easy
A priest writing in the Korean Catholic Digest recalls a confession he heard. A grandmother enters the confessional and immediately says: "Living is it not all sin? Quickly give me my penance."
"Grandmother, God has given us this beautiful world in which to be happy, you should not be so pessimistic. It is not good to think that way." The priest spoke these words, but at the same time knew life was not always easy.
He lived as a religious in a monastery for over ten years and was given an assignment as a pastor of a country parish. The Sunday Mass attendance was about 500 so it was not a small community. Some of the older priests hearing about the assignment told him that he will have many sleepless nights. You are a pastor, however, and not a hireling.
His life in the monastery was very regular. He would get up in the morning, pray, say Mass, after breakfast go to his work place, evening prayer, the meal, a period of rest, night prayers and sleep-- a very simple life.
He has been in a parish now for over ten months. There have been peaceful days but also days of battle. "When we have some parish events the different groups are at odds with each other on how to proceed, and we have conflict."
The parishioners do listen to the wish of the pastor and go along but he always finds it difficult when he has to choose one group over the other. He is bothered greatly with the results of his decision.
He follows the practice of the previous pastor in going to the different villages once a week for a Mass. There are are 10 to 20 that attend. Each division of the parish has a distinguishing feature.
In the farming area we have the aroma of grass and bean-paste pot stew. Those who attend, seem to be care-free and at peace. Apartment areas of the parish and market environments have a different feel, they are lively, vigorous, dynamic, but some seem to be living in the shade.
At Sunday Mass, everyone is well dressed smiling and greeting each other. He surmises they are not having financial difficulties. At the village Masses he sees this is not the case.
Before he entered the religious life he worked and lived a frugal life in a small apartment. He no longer has those problems. After work he would meet with his fellow workers, and sharing glasses of liquor would forget their cares. At a village Mass these thoughts come back to him. Jesus never stayed in one place and associated with all kinds of people in society. He finds this very healthy.
The grandmother's: "All is sin is it not?" Often rings in his ears. How difficult life must have been for the grandmother? He feels sad, and wants to be a conduit to bring consolation to those he meets.