Anniversary Musings

Anniversary Musings

Toward the end of the Mass in the traditional (pre-Paul VI) Roman rite for the ordination of priests, the ordaining bishop intoned the antiphon Jam non dico vos servos sed amicos meos  (« I no longer call you my servants but friends »), based on John 15:15. Perhaps it was that verse that contributed to how Pope Benedict XVI remembered his ordination sixty years later, when he said:

I knew: at that moment the Lord himself spoke to me quite personally. He called me his friend. He accepted me into the circle of those whom he had addressed in the supper room. Into the circle of those whom he knows in a special way.

From that he deduced this reciprocal response and duty:

The friendship that he gives me can only mean that I must also keep trying to know him better; that I seek to know him, in Scripture, in the sacraments, in the encounter in prayer, in the communion of saints, in the people who come to me and whom he sends to me.*

What a wonderful way to remember one’s ordination! What a fitting aspiration and challenge to make that response real in one’s day-to-day ministry! 

Photo: My Ordination as a priest, Saint Peter’s Church, Toronto, Ontario, 28 years ago today (October 28, 1995).

* Sermon at Saint Peter’s Basilica (June 29, 2011), quoted in Peter Seewald, Benedict XVI: A Life, Volume I, tr. Dinah Livingstone (Bloomsbury, 2020).