Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Special Kind of Happiness

I've been reading the book The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor. It's about a priest who is a recovering alcoholic and his dealings with a family with which he has intimate ties from childhood. It is written from the priest's own point of view and he reflects often on his life in a very beautiful way. I found the following paragraph particularly striking; maybe you will as well.

"So then, I was happy in the way that young priests so often are. This is, I think, a special kind of happiness, one perhaps peculiar to the priest, and, moreover, to the priest when he is just beginning, when he's in the very morning of his new life. Which is not to say that happiness must fade as the priest grows old: it can change its quality, it can deepen, ripen, become richer. But this kind of happiness will fade, because it belongs to the young: a mixture of innocence and awe, of freshness and wonder, of reverence and excitement, of joy and of a disbelief, almost, that, for example, it is really you who, in this church and on this altar and before these people, are now at last to have the great privilege of consecrating the Body and Blood of our Blessed Lord. Here the miracle and mystery of God's grace strikes home overwhelmingly, with such freshness and clarity, that it stuns your heart and fills your whole being and nothing else matters at all. And these moments, once known, no matter how long ago, can never be really forgotten. Never, never, never..."