I once heard a Bishop say that he (this Bishop was a guy) had a friend who had told him that he had been ordained for the salvation of his soul.  I did not understand that comment then.  I still could not explain it.  But I now know why someone would say that.

I am ordained because I feel called to the work of a priest.  I am ordained because I was willing and able to persevere through The Process.  But most of all I am ordained because this is who I am.  I am a priest.   While I could live a happy life outside of Holy Orders, I would not be living my life to the best of my ability.

I began to better understand this deeply ephemeral truth while I was visiting some newly married friends of mine.  I have known both parts of this couple for years and years.  I have known them separately and together.  And I knew that they deeply loved each other and would flourish together.  But even still, even knowing all of that, having seen them together for years, they were somehow more together and more individually complete now that they were married.

I looked at them and I saw this truth and thought, “That’s how I feel about ordination.”    And then I spent several weeks trying to find the words.  I think these are the words:

I am secure and strengthened in the knowledge that the truth of who I know myself to be is recognized, affirmed, and declared by my community at large.