Sep 17, 2011
You might wonder who it is that I might consider to be the priest I look up to the most, the one I would most like to emulate. The one whose shoes I can never fill, but I would love to try. I've known quite a number of priests, priestesses and others who might not have the title but fulfill the role. And in addition to those I've known, there are those I've known of because of their legacy from when they were here on this plane.
I would begin with Jerome Birnbaum, who gave me my most eye-opening training and ordination. There's Rev Harold Oda, a Jodo Shinshu (Buddhist) priest who first acquainted me with the idea that some spiritual paths admit to not having all of the answers. There's Thomas Aquinas, whose writings make Israel Regardie (another on the list) seem like light reading. And I could go on and on and on. But, at least at this point in my life, one in particular stands out. Today, someone I consider to be small in many ways has been trying to fill his shoes and like all of this particular priest's successors, he hasn't come close.
In a time where the distinction between "haves" and "have-nots" was especially plain, he was of the "have-nots" who appeared to many to become one of the "haves". He had gotten an education in one of the fashionable ways of the time and was well-known as what we now call a political apointee.
Priesthood was thrust upon him, almost as a surprise. And, unlike what many (including the man who appointed him) might have expected, he proved to be far greater in that role than anyone, perhaps including himself, could have imagined.
There's something in his story for all of us, regardless of our path. And if our path includes being any kind of priest or priestess, here's a very worthy role model.
And I want to share some things about him with you.