Monday, March 16, 2009

Diary of an urban priest

Looking through the archives of a priest blogger who goes by the "Exorcist" moniker "Father Damian Karras," I found a beautifully written slice-of-life essay that seems like a natural for one of those "Best Catholic Writing" anthologies.

I wish I could republish the entire story, "Smell the Coffee," here with Father Karras's permission, but his blog does not include any contact information. Below is a snippet; do go to his blog to read the rest. The language starts out harsh, but "saints can afford to be dirty," as Chesterton says.

Raul is a pain in the ass.

I imply no moral judgment here. It is a fact, pure and simple.

Raul likes to ring the rectory doorbell at 5:45am on Saturdays. Saturday is the one day of the week that I do not have to be up early for Mass at any of the three parishes I celebrate at on Sundays and during the week.

I doubt that Raul knows this. If he did I would have begun this post with, “Raul is a malicious pain in the ass.” That would most definitely have been a moral judgment.

Raul rings the bell adamantly and shouts, "Padrecito!! Padrecito!!" I can only assume, even in my sleep smeared semi-consciousness, that Raul is trying to get my attention.

Groggy and alarmed, I stumbled downstairs and opened the door the first five or six times that Raul roused me, half expecting to find someone bleeding profusely from gang inflicted shotgun wounds on the doorstep. I would not have minded getting up at 5:45 for that. Not as much, anyway.

But no, no comatose victim gasping for breath, no hugely pregnant woman on the verge of childbirth, no family of transient workers seeking refuge from immigration raids ... just Raul.

Raul wants coffee.
 [Read the rest of the story.]