November 2023 By Father Stephen Durkee, Director of Priestly Vocations Through this holy anointing, may…
THE WONDERS OF GOD’S WAYS
By Fr. David Sacha
When I entered seminary, the line from Psalm 46 came to mind, “Be still and know that I am God.” (v. 11) At the time, it calmed many fears and doubts and reminded me that “The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.” (Ps 46:12) This verse has continued to come back to me in moments of difficulty, exhaustion and limitation. Wherever I found a limit, God revealed his own limitless power.
As I have begun this vocation to the priesthood, straining to remain with eyes and ears open to the Lord’s continued presence and calling, I have been reminded of the wonders of God’s ways. Three ways I have seen God work is through his people, through the sacraments and through my brother priests. Toward the beginning of my parish assignment at the Basilica of St. Adalbert, one of the staff members invited me to a birthday party. At first, I was a little hesitant, not even knowing the person whose birthday it was, but my extroverted side took over and I went for it. What a grace it was! The welcome and the excitement around my presence reminded me there was more than myself at work here. These gracious young adults welcomed me as Christ would be welcomed, and I felt immense gratitude for his grace to make me, a human being, a testament to his faithfulness to the Church. I also have been blessed to witness firsthand the healing power of the sacrament of reconciliation. There have been first-time confessions where the people leave the confessional beaming with a smile, confessions where the person feels the burden lifted off their shoulders and the people who go to confession often but were looking for the reminder that God loves them specifically, uniquely. I have had moments where what I am inspired to say relates exactly to the person’s present situation. I am so grateful to God for blessing me with those moments! God draws close to each of his children to encourage, embolden and empower them with the freeing power of his forgiveness, and I have witnessed this grace! So, too, his Eucharistic Presence has brought unmistakable daily nourishment to my life that I cannot yet fully put into words. I feel as though Christ has drawn closer to me than I have to him in these sacraments, allowing me to use his very words and to speak with his very authority. This is something I could never have earned! The joy of the priesthood, just as any other joy in life, means all the more when it is shared and nourished in the communal recognition that God is here. For my brother priests of the diocese to welcome me and to share insights and encouragement have meant so much to me. I have felt the embrace of Christ, who “with a brother’s kindness also chooses men to become sharers in his sacred ministry through the laying on of hands.” (Rite of Ordination to the Priesthood Preface) “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute [the] food allowance at the proper time?” (Lk 12:42) Jesus, who asks us to always remain attentive to his love and promises to send out shepherds who distribute from a storehouse of graces; who rely on treasuries of God’s power and timing. With a heart set on fire with the bold, tireless, grateful, humble love of Christ, disciples are meant to live in the richness of God’s blessings, sharing them freely. Please pray that I and all the priests of the diocese may do so with this wondrous ministry of Christ’s redeeming love.
FATHER DAVID SACHA is parochial vicar at the Basilica of St. Adalbert in Grand Rapids and co-chaplain at West Catholic High School. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Grand Rapids in June 2022.