On the 12 of March I knelt alone in the chapel. The lights were low; the red light of the tabernacle flickered; everything was quiet. “Today is my conception,” I thought to myself. Just like any freshly conceived embryo, it would take me exactly 9 Months before I would be kneeling once again, but this time in St. Paul outside the walls of Rome, under the powerful hands of one of the Church’s bishops. My priestly ordination is scheduled for 12 December 2011!
Yep, that’s how it all got started: After that visit in the chapel I started sending a daily e-mail about how I felt to my folks back home, a few classmates, and a few old friends. But soon it started spreading like wildfire. New messages in my in-box read: “Hey, can I sign up my friends?” or “Brother, please send this to my sister too.” Since then it’s been 74 days, and I have been counting down daily from 114 towards my first goal: deaconate ordination on the 2nd of July … in just 40 days.
Sure, I wanted to go on missions with my fellow barber, but I am not a priest yet; plus studying was intense. The priests who go to these South American villages spend the entire time hearing Confessions and celebrating the sacraments. Many of these poor, lost villages haven’t seen a priest for years, so Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations and Marriages are all lined up and celebrated during Holy Week. On top of that are the daily Masses for each village, as well as the liturgical and local customs for celebrating the passion of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
But while Father was out, I jumped in and took his place cutting hair.
Cutting hair is a great preparation for the priesthood. It’s kind of like hearing Confessions: The barber, at least the LC barber, gets absolutely nothing out of cutting other people’s hair. Since fellow seminarians (and myself included) have a vow of poverty, no money changes hands. Everyone’s head is different. The work of chopping and trimming is never finished—customers keep coming back. But no matter how long they stay away, one haircut suffices to bring them back to perfection. Even though you leave them looking perfect, within a short time those hairs get out-of-hand again. Everyone else around can see the effects of a good barber. Often the one who gets cut is the last to see the difference. Yet, what one notices more than a good barber, is the wretched barber—everyone wants to know right away “OMG, who cut YOUR hair?” And they make sure to avoid his chair. Usually the barber is entirely forgotten—people just look and admire the haircut. And that’s the way it should be.
And a good priest NEVER SAYS NO. He always accepts the job. So, ever since I sent the brief daily countdown e-mail which explained that I cut hair, I have been trying to, also, always say yes to my brother seminarians.
If today is May 24, then there are 40 days left until my deaconate ordination. Want to join me in prayer and preparation for the final countdown? Just shoot me a line, I’ll add you to the list. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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