(cyprian) Apologies for the lack of posts these past days. We have been experiencing some major technological difficulties with everything tied into contemplation.com. Things are slowly coming back online. I have been surprised a number of times at people who tell me that they are perplexed by the feast of the Ascension. Our late Fr. Bruno, for instance, told me several times, “I don’t really get the Ascension.” (Maybe he was just toying with me.) And the other day a very learned woman who is an author and a spiritual director wrote me and said, “Greetings on this odd little feast of the Ascension.” I did not launch into a theological spat with her, but again I thought, “I love this feast.” One of my mentors, the great liturgist Fr. Deiss called this feast, “the triumph of the flesh.” How could you not love that? I’ve preached on this feast at least twice now in the past three years, and I don’t really have anything much new to say, so I’m gonna say the same thing again but with a new ardor, new conviction… and a new introduction. When I was a kid we had a close friend who was a priest, and he had this wooden plaque that I somehow inherited and that, even as a young man, I found disproportionately deeply moving. It said simply, “A priest is someone who brings God to people and people to God through Jesus Christ.” Obviously traditions outside of Christianity raise up priests as well; I’m thinking mainly of the cultic and sacrificial priests, for example the Brahmin priests of Hinduism that perform the sacrifices and pujas in the temple, or the shaman priests who lead ceremonies. So anthropologically speaking, you could also say that without mentioning Jesus: “A priest is someone who brings the Holy or the Divine to people and people to the Holy…” The priest is someone who is understood to be somehow in touch with both realms, the divine and the created. I’m tempted to say “one foot in both worlds,” or a “head in the clouds and the feet on the ground,” or, as our Eucharistic Prayer says about Jesus, the priest is someone “stretches out his hands between heaven and earth,” in touch with the divine as well as in touch with the human. And from that vantage point the priest serves as the bridge, the conduit. There was also book written once which made a lot of sense to me as a musician called “The Performer as Priest” because in the best of art there is that sense as well, making the numinous tangible...

Read More