ORDINATION OF THE REVEREND FATHER DIRK PETER DANDY
[20 November AD 2010--Our Lady of Divine Providence]
Your Excellency, Bishop Euler, Reverend Fathers, Clerics, dear family and friends of our newly ordained priest, Mr. Andrew John King, my dear Father Dirk Peter Dandy
“Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Lk., 11:28) In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
These words, taken from today’s Gospel are not so much a rebuke as they are an admonition. Hence, Father Dandy, it is fitting, I think, to allow my words to you today to be those of admonition. You see, you have had the misfortune of being ordained a priest at a time when the world has little warmth for priests, in general, because too many priests have forgotten that admonition of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Moments ago, as you lay prostrate before your God here at His altar, in what must have seemed to you an interminably long time, as we called upon every person in heaven to come to your assistance – I can only imagine what went through your mind. If you were like the rest of us – me, in fact, there was a myriad of thoughts that raced through your mind: Fear, perhaps, because you really do not know what lies ahead for you; contrition, perhaps, because, although you now have the very mark of Christ indelibly etched upon your soul for all eternity, you are indeed human and, like all of us, you have much for which to atone; doubt, perhaps, because you know your own limitations – I hope you do – and you wonder if you can ever really measure up to what it is that the Most Blessed Trinity has done to you this day; zeal, perhaps, because you are venturing into the greatest work on this earth – the ever frightening work of bringing souls to Almighty God. Father, be aware that you are now a member of an exclusive society of men to which Christ has called you. Remember first, that Christ makes it very plain to each of us belonging to that society that this is NOT our decision; it is His. “You have not chosen Me,” He says, “I have chosen you.”
You have the honor of being ordained on a special feast day of our Blessed Mother; Our Mother of Divine Providence. Consider that title: Our mother – the same that our Divine Lord gave to us through Saint John as both mother and son stood before Him at Calvary’s cross; Divine – having to do with the Creator of all things, so readily pointed out in the Epistle of today’s Mass, from the Book of Ecclesiasticus – the words that are so prophetic of our Lady’s place in the divine will for this universe; providence: the divine guidance and care of human beings seeking their destiny. Mary has a most intimate part in that. She is our beloved Mediatrix. Today, Father, Mary is your mother as you have never known her before. Be a good son! Be Mary’s priest. As an alter Christus, another Christ, you are now one with her divine Son. Consider the words of Thomas á Kempis, in his Imitation of Christ, “Great is the mystery and great the dignity of priests, to whom is given that which to the angels is not granted.” Yes, you have a dignity; in fact, a dignity not even given to the Mother of God herself. But that does not make you better; it makes you more accountable. Whether you make your eternal destiny an abode in heaven or hell, you will always bear the mark of what you have received this day. “Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.”
And that is what I wish to dwell on. Hear the word as Christ preached it, not as modern man so often wishes to adulterate it. The word is eternal, not temporary. The word is uplifting and glorious, not banal and bland. The word is meant not only for Catholics who have a traditional bent, but for every human being into whom almighty God has breathed a soul.
Today, Father, Jesus Christ repeats to you what He asked three times of His beloved Simon Peter, “Lovest, thou Me? Feed My lambs; feed My sheep.” How do we feed them, Father? We feed them not with the tasteless pabulum of political correctness, we feed them with the same words and ways that the Master has taught us, with firmness and conviction, without regard to place or moment, without regard to person or station. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, with ALL thy strength, with ALL thy Soul.” As a married man and the father of children, you will sometimes be called upon to choose the Master and His Church above your family – however “odd” that may seem to some. You seek Him first and His kingdom, and He will take care of all who are dear to you. But choose Him first – always. His laws are not suggestions; they are commands. He commands you to be perfect, even as our heavenly Father is perfect. That means you are to spend the rest of your days becoming more and more like Him every day in every way. How do you do that, Father. By prayer.
Your first prayer, is the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. That is precisely what this ordination is all about. Offer Mass daily, insofar as possible. Too many priests today offer Mass only when it is an assignment. No, no! It is part of what you must be all about. To partake of Jesus Christ in the true other Self – the Self of the Cross; the Self of the good shepherd, Who reaches down through the briars and the brambles to seek a soul, to give of yourself, when you might even think you have no more to give.
Father, pray as much of the Breviary as you are able each day. Pray our Lady’s rosary every day – all of the rosary. Make your every day one with Christ. Your Morning Offering. that will enable to make everything you do during the day a prayer. Walk the Stations of the Cross daily. Give unstintingly of your time and your talents to your pastoral work.
Walk with dignity. Never blemish that collar. Keep unsullied your hands, your heart, your soul from the mundane affairs of this world. Admonish, with the gentleness of Christ, but do it as firmly as Christ did to the woman at the well and to Simon the Pharisee, who showed Him none of the common courtesy and love that the sinful Magdalene showed Him. If need be take the whip that Christ took in the synagogue to drive out the defilers of His Father’s house.
Mr. King, you are little more than a footnote in all of this today. You sit where I sat forty-five years ago; indeed where each of us who has embraced Christ fully has sat. Because of your presence now among us, our Subdeacon moves up a notch, and I move closer to the notch within eternity. You are at the beginning. You have sat with us for many hours this week, listening, cajoling, debating, examining some of what it is that priests do when we are not at the altar or in the pulpit. Listen carefully, because you, too, must learn to “hear the word of God and keep it.” That is not easy. The pressures are great; the ears are turning so much deafer; so much seeking of compromise!
“Hear the word of God and keep it,” Father Dandy. There can be no compromise with abortion. There can be no compromise with homosexual marriage. There can be no compromise with in vitro conception. There can be no compromise with the female gender and holy orders. There can be no compromise with mutilation in an attempt to become a sex not created by God in a human person. There can be no compromise with stem cell research. There can be no compromise with euthanasia. There can be no compromise with any of the fundamentals of our Faith in order to spare the feelings of those who have never learned to form their consciences with the wisdom of Jesus Christ.
“Hear the word of God and keep it.” Let each of those faith expressions be heard by all of us today, as we send forth another Christ into a world becoming more pagan each day. The world has grown cold to its God, my dear friends in Christ. We seek almighty God to intervene only when we come to our wits end. In the meantime, we ignore Him. We play games with His mandates to us. We cast Him out of our schools, our city halls, our halls of Congress, out of some of our churches, mosques, temples and synagogues, and, yes, even out of some of our homes.
This is the world into which you will walk as a priest, Father Dandy. You can be angry – as was Christ, justifiably, you can wring your hands, or you can pick up your cross and walk the route – with a smile and a gentle heart, even as our blessed Lord did, as He greeted the women of Jerusalem as He passed them by on His way to Calvary. It is your Calvary that lies ahead, Father, not a paradise on earth. You can despair, or you can do as the Master did. I pray God, you will always do what it is that Jesus Christ alone summons you to do today. Embrace Him; cherish Him; be Him.
Now, if you truly become Him, Father Dandy, you will have a life on this earth like no other. Imagine standing in the very place of Jesus Christ as His other Self, sacrificing to His heavenly Father for all of His children and appeasing Him for our many offenses against Him. Imagine invoking your God for those whom you will Baptize and absolve and witness at marriage and comfort, as their deaths approach, and bury and console! Imagine being a friend to Christ’s friends – for you will also find that there are some real saints on earth, Father, people much holier and resplendent before God that you are able to be. Love them; they will love you, and they will pray you into the very presence of God when you stand before Him.
May the God Who has made you one with Himself this day bless you and all those dear to you. May God bless us all.
The Most Reverend John J. Humphreys
Titular Archbishop of Caer-Glow
Our Lady of Good Hope Old Roman Catholic Church
November 20, 2010