Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Yet another testimony of desire for God and His will

This is an excerpt of a document known as the Dear Paul Letter, written by someone who has become entangled in a particular friendship and is confessing his fault and withdrawing from the relationship, for he has to be free for God alone if he is to fulfill the commitments he has made.

.....During the last months I have come to know how strained I was, tense, pensive, without much joy. I couldn't pray at all. I just did not seem to be honest with God. I felt I was fleeing from Him, from facing Him. I know what the trouble was: I was letting your conscience take over for me and I couldn't live with it. I felt like the world's worst hypocrite. So gradually I came back to the importance of celibacy in my life -- not just a physical celibacy but the freedom the celibate commitment gives. I knew I would have to face up to it and take seriously that commitment I first made thirty-four years ago. I found my task as priest-archbishop almost unbearable these months and I came to realize that I was at a crossroads -- and I knew I had to get the courage to decide. There is no other way for me to live, Paul. Ridicule me if you must -- I am expecting it. .....There is no other way. I have to be free and unencumbered, if I want to give total service to His Church. There is no other way for me. I have neglected -- not just prayer -- these months but so many people as well because my life was so caught up in yours. The strain and tension in being bishop today, Paul, is greater than one would ever imagine -- at least for me. I cannot give to you for this reason the kind of friendship you seem to need.

I cry as I write this: they are personally the greatest renunciations the Lord has asked me to make for His Kingdom. I don't ask you to understand -- but I do ask you not to ridicule.

.....I will need time to get over this past week. I felt humiliated, manipulated -- a total complete failure on all counts. I failed you, I failed myself. I failed as a friend, I failed as priest. I just psychologically collapsed and froze. I did nothing but cry and try to pray in Boston. I only asked for some light of the Lord -- the cruel punishment you gave me I deserved. .....I begged for forgiveness for having failed you and for the grace of standing up again and trying to be -- not a bishop -- just a Christian.

Paul, God is good.
I love you.

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