23 Jun Miracles Are God’s Job
by Fr. Pierre Champoux, associate priest of MH
Duc in altum. Go out into the deep (Lk 5:4). This was the motto inscribed on our class photo when I was ordained in 2001. Little did I know how prophetic these words would be, not only for my seminary class, but also for all North American Christians.
Back in 2001, the war against the family had already been underway for some time, but I had not yet acquainted myself with the root causes of this war and the breadth of the battle. I began to read books, pro-life magazines, and websites on the subject.
As a priest, I felt a continual sense of anger and powerlessness at the speed with which the enemy was changing the consciousness of our culture from a Judaeo-Christian one to a thoroughly secular one bent on its own destruction.
I looked at the attacks on the Church and traditional morality: at political correctness, sex outside of marriage, divorce, abortion, euthanasia, the homosexual and transgender agendas, etc. (And I have a deep conviction that many of these problems are offshoots of the contraceptive mentality.)
I felt the need to act, but how? I was only one priest, and I felt overwhelmed and discouraged.
Finally, it dawned on me that I didn’t have to “do it all.” I simply had to be the priest Jesus was calling me to be. This entailed two things: humble priestly service and the courage to speak and act with boldness.
In regard to the priestly service, I found my inspiration in Luke’s Gospel, chapter 9:10-17, the beautiful story about Our Lord multiplying the loaves and fishes.
If you recall, the apostles had no idea how a few loaves of bread could feed the 5,000. The answer Jesus gave them (Lk 9:13) astounded them: give them something to eat yourselves.
Jesus did not want his apostles worrying about performing miracles. Miracles were not their job; they were His job. What he asked them to do was obey him—to distribute the five loaves and two fishes they had—and trust him to do the rest.
Likewise, Jesus asks me to consecrate the hosts and distribute the Eucharist, to give Jesus to the people … and then get out of the way.
Jesus, not me, is the miracle-worker. He is fully present in the Eucharist and through the Eucharist (and all the sacraments); he has the power to soften and humanize the most hardened of hearts. He just wants me to make him more present to his people.
In 2005, I began exposing the Blessed Sacrament before all the weekday Masses, and once a week for a longer period after Mass. I also let people know that confessions would be available every day before Mass and that I would be available to them at other times as well.
Since this began, more and more people have been coming to weekday Mass and confession.
This is not my doing. It’s what happens when any priest gives God permission to do His thing. When we do, God acts.
As for the culture wars, they are spiritual in origin. So I make sure I pray the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after every weekday Mass. I think I’ve handed well over a thousand St. Michael prayer cards to my parishioners so far, and I’ll need to order another batch soon.
I also encourage them to use sacramentals regularly for protection and encouragement.
Finally, more and more I have felt it necessary to speak the Church’s teachings with courage, even when I feel butterflies inside. There was a time in my priesthood when I lacked the courage to do so, but reading Matthew 10:32-33 changed this for me.
If anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.
At this time, as I look at the challenges before us, I can truly say that I think this is a wonderful time to be a Catholic and a priest.
This article was written 2 ½ years ago (and sat in my files). Fr. Pierre is now in a different, much smaller parish, and so some of the specifics of his life as described in this article have changed.