Last month’s reflection on Theology of the Body and Deliverance Ministry may have sounded rather strong. Well, it was meant to have an edge to it and challenge us priests to think of who we are as priests and what ministerial choices have we been making and why? Have we reduced Jesus’ Sacred Priesthood to a mere function or role? Pope Francis referred to the Church as a “field hospital.” This hospital not only includes people who are physically or mentally ill, but those suffering from possession, oppression, or obsession. This also includes places, objects and homes infested with evil. Theology of the Body beautifully teaches us who we are, our inherent dignity, value and worth. It teaches us who God created us to be and why and how we should live out that dignity. It reminds us of God’s plan for marriage and living out our sexuality as men and women freely, faithfully and fruitfully. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and when it doesn’t, it causes great damage, harm and woundedness. Broken relationships are the breeding ground for sin and demonic activity.
Lucifer was the most beautiful of God’s creations, an “angel of light” far beyond the beauty of all other angels. He rebelled against God’s plan of the Incarnation and still makes war on God’s children – us! He and his demons are relational creatures and legalistic at that. When we deliberately or inadvertently, through sin, invite them in, they try to make a “claim” on us. However, Jesus Christ claimed us at our baptism, which is why baptism is so deeply important. All our sins and Satan’s attacks are against the Incarnation and hence why he tries to mock the Incarnation by attacking our bodies and the Church, the Body of Christ. He attacks us in our unhappiness, brokenness and woundedness. He tries to lie to us about our identity as children of God and priests of Jesus Christ by clouding our understanding of our identity. If we all truly knew our dignity and God’s deep unconditional love for us, would any of us truly rebel against our loving Father? The more we do not preach on sin and its disastrous affects on us, the more wounded we (and our Bride, the Church) become and hence more vulnerable to bad choices in life. These choices can open us more to diabolical attacks – ordinary and extraordinary. For example, the more we continue to ignore the harmful affects of pornography, artificial birth control, sterilization, homosexuality, divorce, etc., the more broken and wounded our nation will become and hence more dabbling in the occult, witchcraft, etc. will occur. What are we priests to do? I suggest two things.
It might be a good idea if we start to learn the true meaning of the Theology of the Body and what it truly means to be human. So many of us don’t have a purpose in life and grow unhappy and confused. We need to know who we are and why we are created. This gives us a purpose in life.
Secondly, we priests need to learn, as I am still learning, the awesome dignity of the priesthood and to live it fully alive in the Blessed Trinity. To realize the laity is supposed to support the priests in this vital ministry, not replace them. It is our responsibility brother priests, as mandated by Christ to heal the sick and cast out demons. I am always reminded of this every time I am vesting for Holy Mass and praying the prayer as I place on my alb. Remember vesting prayers my brothers? For me the alb is a symbol of priestly identity, which I need to be clothed in to have a healthy understanding of my relationship with the Blessed Trinity, with others and within myself. This understanding helps me to live as I am created to be, a beloved son of the Father. We have great spiritual authority, brothers, and humility teaches us to accept it, live it and use it to set others free, so they can be whom they were created to be: beloved sons and daughters of the Father, claimed by Jesus Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Father Tom DeSimone was ordained a priest on May 13, 2006, the Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima. He most recently served as Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in White Plains, NY. He joins the staff of the Theology of the Body Institute on a three year leave from the Archdiocese of New York, to become the Institute’s first ever full time spiritual advisor and Director of Clergy Development.