This is the largest group of ordinands we've had in years -- there are eleven. They will make their vows on Saturday; even the Cathedral of
St. John the Divine should be pretty full. Today we are on retreat at the Sisters of St. Helena's convent along the Hudson.
We came in yesterday evening, and had one session together. It was called "The Dream of the Priest". What was your dream? Who was that priest who first made you wonder if you heard the stirring of call in your life? How did you imagine yourself, when you had finally summoned the courage to imagine such a thing?
You'd better have a dream, even if you know it's going to be knocked around significantly by life. Even if you already suspect that not everything you imagine will happen, and that you yourself will turn out to be somewhat other than you expect.
Today: The Priest In the Desert, The Dance of the Priest and, at the end, The Death of the Priest. It sounds so focused on the person of
the ordained, but that's what a retreat is: a turning aside and a turning inward. In real life, none of these things are solitary: the dream, the desert, the dance -- even the death is, at least in part, for others.
A flurry of chasubles and prayerbooks this Saturday, a great weight of dozens of hands, a stern charge, then a wave of hugs and kisses afterwards. And then, as it has done thousands of times before, the Dream of the Priest will begin to come true.
You can read the Ordination rite at www.anglicansonline/resources/bcp.html. It will be under "Episcopal Services".