January 24, 2017

A Chance Encounter

This morning I had a chance encounter with an old priest—an 80-something-year-old man—whom I had known when I was in my twenties. At the time, he was a teacher at the Seminary of the Diocese of Treviso, but he also served as vice-parish priest in my then parish church in Treviso. I remember him as a very cultured, good-natured and amiable person. That’s also why I was really pleased to meet him after all this time. But the main reason why I was so happy about the chance encounter was that all these years I have always remembered something he told me once about how to read publicly the Word of God with effectiveness. Even then I was appalled by the sloppiness of so many lectors (and priests), so I asked him for some guidance on that matter. And he gave me what I asked for, and it was actually a great lesson. “The Word of God,” he told me, “is to be neither ‘recited,’ nor merely ‘read.’ It is to be ‘proclaimed.’” Proclaimed, with all that this implies (which is a lot of things, as you can easily figure out).

I told don Andrea (for such is his name) about this memory of mine, and he seemed to be pleased with that.

Sometimes it’s incredible how a simple sentence can become a sort of personal brand, to the extent that, in the mind of another person, a man perfectly coincides with a sentence he uttered decades ago. That’s also why we should be always very careful about what we say.. You never can tell what might become “your brand” in someone else’s imagination and memories!

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