Memorial of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
There is a certain theme in the reading from Isaiah for the Mass today that I have always loved. In fact, in some ways, this theme has become a part of my vocation as a Passionist and as a priest. Forty-seven years ago today in a steaming hot prairie Church in St. Paul, Kansas, twenty-one young men, myself included, knelt on the old Church floor and professed our vows as Passionists. For me it was an incredibly emotional moment in my life and, while I may have been terribly naïve, I did feel a certain determination that nothing would ever cause me to change my mind and that I would seek to live as fully as possible the four vows that we Passionists profess. I know I have failed many, many times and have lived these vows imperfectly; yet, they have also been the source of strength and fidelity in living the life of a Passionist religious.
Accompanying this ceremony of vows there was in my heart a recurring prayer that we hear in the reading from Isaiah: Here I am Lord, send me! That is precisely how I felt at that very moment and, while there have been many challenges, large and small over these forty-seven years, I carry that same aspiration in my heart: Here I am Lord, send me! In fact, the words of Isaiah are fitting for each and every one of us today. In the depths of our hearts I believe this should be one of our deepest longings, to seek to know and to fulfill the will of God for each of us day by day. With Isaiah we can all cry out: Here I am Lord. Send me!
Fr. Pat Brennan, C.P. is the director of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.