Category Archives: Expiation



                                    Victimae paschali laudes immolent Christiani.

So do we cry out in the ancient Paschal Hymn glorifying and giving thanks for the Risen Lord Jesus.

Even in the full fire and light of His Holy Resurrection we refer to Him as ‘victim’, for He is indeed the victim-oblation to the Father for us.

We also each Easter renew our Baptismal Promises, the active remembering of our having been plunged through the holy waters into the depths of the mystery of His oblation-death and brought forth in the fire-light of His Holy Resurrection.

The extending months into years at times between writing on the mystery of not merely by virtue of ordination in persona Christi, but actively heart to heart seeking union with Christ as victim-soul, as oblation with Him, is because I am in all this a mere beginner.

Hence the whole mysterious process and struggle to hand myself fully over to Him is part of the reason for the gaps in writing – for I will often flee this union more than surrender to and cooperate with it.

This because when all is said and done this is all more about Jesus the Beloved than about any one of us and kenosis, real death to self, is never easy!

The older I get the more profoundly aware I am in my personal life that time is short.

However given the persistent thickening of the darkness of the culture of death, the seeming constant increase of civil wars and revolutions, of extreme weather, hunger, the intense pressure to de-Christianize the whole world, through assault on Holy Marriage, the constant murderous evil of abortion, I sense historically, salvation history-wise, time is short, very short indeed.

None of the baptized, most especially and urgently we priests, can afford any longer to be neo-Ladoceans and wallow in lukewarmness. [cf. Rev. 3:14-22]

How urgently we must beg the grace to, and cooperate with the grace to, rediscover our first love.

Along with the above pain in the world of nations, the human family, the lives of real persons, there is also these days immense suffering within the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, of which we are members and as the Apostle reminds us when one member suffers, the whole body suffers. [cf. 1 Cor. 12:26]

From the so-called Vati-leaks wherein the Holy Father himself has been betrayed, to the immense suffering caused by clerical sin against the innocents, compounded by the defensive stance of the Church resulting in thousands of priests denied due process, many being falsely accused yet tossed under the bus, the persistent tragedy of priests committing suicide, the impact of all this on the faith and sense of place in the Church of many of the laity: we enter the Year of Faith called for by the Holy Father as a Church battered, bruised, sinful, of dwindling adherents, desperately in need collectively and individually of profound metanoia and kenosis.

Like Rachel weeping for her children the Church is – or should be and so should all priests be – weeping for Her children.

Christ too weeps, in the Garden and on the Cross and He asks anew in the Garden if anyone will keep vigil with Him.

I speak now of every priest – yes all of us: guilty priests in prison, falsely accused priests suspended, active priests, priests struggling, elderly, infirm, isolated, hidden, hermit priests, monastic priests, yes all of us, need truly to become victim-oblations, victim-souls, in union with Christ Victim for the Church, for the Priesthood, for the entire human family.


                                       PRIESTLY MISSION: EMBRACING OBLATION PART 1


In our day the word ‘victim’ has an almost exclusive echo referring to one who has been abused as a child, or for some it connotes those who perished on 9/11, for others it refers to women who suffer domestic violence.





Thus to connect the word victim and soul, as in victim-soul for many, at first hearing, suggests a soul victimized, rather than the classic true meaning, namely, a soul chosen by God, such as St. Faustina or St. Gemma Galgani, who accepts to suffer more than most people in this life, doing so of course in union with Jesus, following the Pauline concept of fulfilling within ourselves a sharing in the Passion of Jesus.

Some, most notably the ranks of the Martyrs, known and unknown, have this thrust upon them so suddenly their fiat, their yes, occurs simultaneously with being victim of an act of violence against Christ which unfolds within their own being.

Others, by Baptism for all, for some additionally and profoundly by Ordination, being immersed in the first instance in the death and resurrection of Christ,  and again some being configured to Christ Priest, lead lives of clear faith and fidelity, in what I most respectfully refer to as ordinary lives.

It is not necessary to have some extraordinary experience such as a vision or a locution to know deep in one’s heart the call of Christ, within the ordinary of our lives, to open ourselves to being, with Him, victim-soul, sacrificial-soul, or, the term I have, after for many years using the former two, sense is best for priests: OBLATION.

We know from her life that St. Gemma Galgani was told directly by Jesus of His need of victims, souls who would atone for others.

At the moment of our ordination, in persona Christi, we men who are ordained in point of fact are saying YES to this cry of Jesus across the millennia.

Any objective observer of the condition of the human family on this earth so ravaged by hunger, homelessness, violence, environmental anxieties, overshadowed by the culture of death with its relentless assault on the human person through abortion, obsessive materialism, the assault on Holy Marriage and Family life, etc., etc., or observing the state of the Church with the vast numbers of empty pews, or of the Priesthood where the sins of a few have wrecked the image of the many, surely can understand the urgent plea of Christ.

As Priests we find ourselves in the whole gambit of life conditions/situations from being on the threshold of death in a nursing home, perhaps no longer able even to concelebrate, to the newly ordained;  being part way through life and active priesthood, serving in parishes or the military or some institution of higher learning, or place of care for the sick or imprisoned; finally, but in no way least, many these days as priests live literally in prison or isolated, virtually invisible because, guilty or not,  we have been suspended from public ministry.

Irrespective of our situation or status we remain priest that is in, with Christ we are oblation.

Oblation: first for love of Jesus and thus for love of everyone, for their salvation.

Of course, no matter what my emotions may be doing on a given day, wherever and whatever my situation as priest is, we are talking here about fundamental faith and fiat, which means a constant willingness to trust Him and to surrender!

For myself all this is impossible without the help of Our Blessed Mother of Priests.

Every morning my first words to her are to ask her to share with me, and all my brother priests, her own heart, faith, love, fiat, trust and surrender.

If we imitate her that directly brings us into the depths of the imitation of Christ.

If we share in, and imitate, her own self-offering, her oblation, we will more fully be one with Christ-Priest, as priests, in His self-offering, oblation.

Since we become what we contemplate our gaze should always be fixed upon the face, the person of Jesus and there is no better place to begin this contemplation than, like the Shepherds, humbly approaching the cave where we find Jesus with His Mother.

She first presents Him to us.

To be there then is to be in the school of Mary, where we learn to be truly what we are, priest and to become fully what we are: priest- oblation in persona Christi.

Bethlehem leads to Calvary, the cave to the tomb, and the point of convergence, wherein all the reality of Christ, of our baptismal lives is both vivified and illuminated is within the depths of the Divine Liturgy, for Pope John Paul himself stressed we priests are “born from the Eucharist.”

In the depths of the Eucharistic mystery and reality we contemplate Jesus: sacrificial-self-gift; Jesus: victim; Jesus: oblation; Jesus: PRIEST.

Our Blessed Mother placed Jesus in the chalice of the manger for everyone to meet Him, gaze upon Him and from that chalice throughout His earthly life He poured Himself out, teaching, healing, proclaiming God IS Abba, Father!, until the time came for Him to place Himself on the paten of the Cross and pour Himself out to the last drop of His blood, for us.










The last time I completed an essay in this section was just shy of one year ago.

In the intervening time I have worked on the connected blog:

As well, as can be seen by the occasional posting of chapters, completed an autobiographical work.





However I admit each time I tried to write more about being a victim-soul, a holocaust of His Love, one with Him in the Garden, on the Cross, I’d have a recurrence of the PTSD from which I suffer, as do most accused priests, both those actually guilty of the accusation, and especially those of us who have been falsely accused.

This is NOT to elicit some form of pity by turning this into a ‘woe is me’ diatribe, simply to be forthright about my own struggle, which I know from letters received, emails, phone calls, countless priests share.

No, thanks to both intensive spiritual direction and therapy, and yes proper medication, I seem able to resume a normal priestly mission, that is, to be what I am by the gift and mystery of ordination, what all priests are be we serving in ‘public’ ministry, enduring the immense suffering of banishment, imprisonment, illness, isolation in old age, whatever the situation we may be living in, be living, we are in persona Christi.

Some priests because of the way bishops treat the accused have given into discouragement, many to the extreme of suicide.

Others have simply walked away from everything and live as if ordination is something left behind like an old coat.

A few try and fight the bishops in the canonical or civil courts, but as regards the former it is the very judges in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who make the initial judgements in secret who are themselves the court of last appeal, and as regards the latter success there often means an even harsher punishment from the church.

That is why last year in the first of what was promised {do forgive the delay} to be a series of essays I wrote:

                               Many years ago, in the first attempt at this site for hope in the lives of priests, we ran the start of a series urging all priests, in particular those enduring punishment for actual sins/crime as well as those falsely accused, but suffering the same fate nonetheless, to embrace a life of expiation, becoming living oblations, victim-souls, holocausts of love, of Love Himself.

Clearly for all my enthusiasm I had a lot to learn about being a victim-soul, an oblation with Jesus, and admittedly still have a lot to learn, so what is written here and in the essays that follow is written by a mere beginner and a continuous learner.

Perhaps this is time to place again a critical Scripture which sustains the struggle:

                                 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His footsteps. [cf.1Pt.2:21]

It took me a long time to connect those powerful words of St. Peter to the three times in the Stations of the Cross where Jesus falls.

“The brutal experience of our falls and weakness can fling us to the edge of despair. We are strongly tempted to cry out that it is an injustice that God expects too much from us, that our cross is heavier than that of others.”  – Paul Evdokimov

We all know that the first aspect of the Cross with which we have been sealed at Baptism is the implanting deep in our being a yearning to be absolutely one with Jesus the Divine Lover, to daily take up our cross, which includes our very selves and all that happens to us, and follow Him.

Part of the cross of following Him is to embrace the tension of not knowing exactly where He is leading us, though ultimately it is across the threshold of death into the glory of resurrection with Him.

St. John of Kronstadt urges that: “Our duty is to endure, to pray, to humble ourselves, and to love.”

For priests today the greatest, yet most urgent challenge to love, is to follow Christ’s example and truly love and forgive our enemies, known and unknown.

That is key if we are to be what we are, oblation in persona Christi.

While there is an intrinsic moral obligation to struggle for truth and justice, to not simply roll over and allow the system, bishops, anyone, to crush us, for we cannot cooperate with evil, once all that must be done is done and the truth perhaps has been buried, and we with it by some CDF imposed penalty, then the moment of holy abandonment, of absolute surrender, indeed to passionately embrace the cross, to seek to endure, pray, humbly love as one with Christ accused, Christ in agony, Christ abandoned, Christ crucified, is NOW!

Finally, about the image above of a priest celebrating Mass yearning to be in Christ’s embrace:

I find this a powerful image of the agony of longing for restoration of all things to Christ within the Church, the Priesthood, the world today.

It is I believe an image of indomitable hope, endurance, love.





Priestly Mission: Jesus Lover, Priest, Oblation

Here He is!


Our Divine Lover, Priest!


Vested as Priest, placed on the paten of the Cross as Victim-Oblation








Condemned by false testimony, abandoned by those religious leaders who should have protected Him, handed over to the state to execute Him .


His chosen friends, first Pope, first Bishop-priests, betrayed Him, denied Him, fled from Him.


Only She whose own heart had been pierced by the sword of misunderstanding, gossip, rejection, remained – His Mother, and with her, besides her own women friends, one newly ordained bishop-priest. The one portrayed in popular religious imagination to this day as the youngest, weakest of the bunch!


Not  then to the first Pope, nor to those other allegedly strong men, was the Mother confided, but to the one whose strength was not in muscle or age, not in hardness of ego boasting promises to be faithful, but one who truly loved!


Love is stronger!


Of course just as when we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass nothing else but the bread – wheat ground and baked by fire – appears to be upon the paten; nothing more than wine – from grapes crushed and squeezed until the last drop, and a wee drop of water co-mingled – water of life, of baptism, of slaked thirst, of tears – appears to be within the chalice, so too here: no-thing, no-one is upon the paten of the Cross, within the chalice of suffering but He Himself – yet in truth: ..CHRIST IS ALL AND IN ALL! [cf. Col. 3: 11]


Look at Him!


Contemplate Him!


We become the one we contemplate!


Look past the spittle of hatred and lies, past the scourging of sin of un-forgiveness of our enemies, beyond the apparent powerlessness to the true Beauty of His Face.


Look into those eyes which ever since He first opened them as He lay in the manger have gazed across the millennia upon you at this very moment – eyes which lavish upon one and all, upon you, absolute love, and compassion, pouring forth from His Heart and saying: For you! For you because I love you I am beaten down, rejected, abandoned, lied about, convicted, stripped, sentenced, killed – for You because I love you!


Love IS stronger!


It is a terrible thing to suffer rejection, abandonment, punishment – all without due process, all because liars go unchallenged and many bishops lack the courage { as did their original predecessors } to defend Christ crucified in His priests.


Yes, it is a terrible thing to be persecuted by the Church – but we must as suffering priests never forget we, like all the baptized, are invited to be one with Christ, even in the depths of His suffering, yes, but through Baptism we are also immersed into the wonder of His resurrection!


Love is stronger and like Christ Himself – if we ourselves are to have trusting hope in the strength of love and truth – we must ‘love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us.’


Look at Him!

Contemplate Him!

Love Him!

Trust Him!

Follow Him!


Yes, follow Him even unto the very aloneness of the altar of abandonment, the cross of rejection, the paten of unending waiting, waiting, waiting for Him to grab us by the hand, as He did sinking Peter, and to save us!


Jesus Himself is our hope!