Cardinal Edwin Frederick O’Brien. wikimedia.org

We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things. — 1 Cor. 4:10-13

Cardinal Edwin Frederick O’Brien was here in Omaha to celebrate Mass for the Institute. At the end of Mass he shared with us two quotes that knocked my socks off. All of us here on faculty and staff pursued him until he shared them with us. Feast!

The first quote was from early 20th American century co-founder of the Maryknoll priests, Bishop James E. Walsh, who was later made a missionary bishop in China. Here he succinctly described the heart of an evangelizing Christian:

The task of a missioner is to go to the place where he is not wanted, to sell a pearl whose value, although of great price, is not recognized, to people who are determined not to accept it, even as a gift.

The second quote was taken from a note sent by Bishop Louis William Valentine Dubourg to seminaries throughout France. Bishop Dubourg, who was appointed Apostolic Administrator of Louisiana and the Two Floridas in 1812, was looking for men who were willing to come to America to serve as missionary priests. Their role would be to establish new parishes and serve the French speaking immigrant Catholics in the region. As you read this “job description” and “benefits package” for priests, I want you to imagine what kind of priestly-hearted men accepted this invitation to come to America. “The men who responded,” Cardinal O’Brien said, “are the men of character we need in the priesthood of Jesus Christ”:

We offer you: no salary, no recompense, no holidays, no pension. But much hard work, a poor dwelling, few consolations, many disappointments, frequent sickness, a violent or lonely death, an unknown grave.

And the Cardinal added, “And they came!”


6 comments on “Heroism

  1. Fr Josh Johnson says:

    That last quote is setting my heart on fire!

  2. Oneview says:

    Forwarded this to my new boss, pastor of close to ten thousand parishioners 🙂

  3. nos. says:

    Dearest fr. Johnson , so good to hear you say this . Our beloved Fr. JOHN V. O`SULLIVAN has need of your services. In his wisdom he purchased a plot of land adjacent to trinity catholic school as a future home for retired priests .It is ,as we speak, a beautiful wooded plot,however, much work needs to be done, cutting and clearing trees and underbrush to name just two of many jobs.you will receive no pay just just fr. O’S thanks you will however receive a recompense of one meal per day ,of your choice I’ve been told you love to fast..two holidays a year one day each , idle hands you know,choose wisely .your pension— well we’ll see. Much hard work is a given,a tarp strung between to trees you’re residence . Many consolations in knowing your helping one of the best priests to walk this earth.many disappointments, and sickness because you maybe working alongside fr . Tim Holeda a slacker if ever I saw one , but what can you expect he’s ex marine , we ARMY MEN know how to get it done, unfortunately I’ll be busy during most of the work day , I may be able to make your mealtime however.Heaven forbid you suffer from anything but a beautiful death ,,, after the work is done ,however.don’t worry about the grave either we’ll take care of that it’s the least we can do . All silliness aside fr.Johnson, May GOD grant you your obedient desire to suffer for HIM ,,,P.B.W.Y. DR. always.

  4. Carol Shutley says:

    I assume real. I remember really small cars in Italy.

    Sent from my iPad


  5. WoopieCushion says:

    Praise God for that homily to those men! Praise God for those French missionaries who came! We don’t have to go to any other land to embody those words. For that I’m troubled but grateful.

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