Cleansing this Father
Jesus unflinchingly washes the feet of His friends. He cleans them up to send them out.
Jesus stoops to wash my filthy feet. He falls to wash the untidy parts of me. If I don’t allow Him to do so, I have no part in Him (Jn 13:8). He can’t send me out unless He cleanses me. His cleansing frees me to father.
When Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, He was prepping them to be sent to father the nations. Our cleansing is training. His mercy towards us is not just for us, but for the whole world. A lofty call requires thorough cleansing.
I’m a proud alumnus of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. The place is second to none. Best seminary in the country. I’m biased. I entered young with much to work out, and they helped me. They cleaned me up to send me out.
My plan was to be a spiritual father. Worthy desire. However, my hope for spiritual fatherhood was capped. I felt disqualified from man-woman relating. My ‘fatherhood’ lacked fundamental acceptance of my masculine goodness. I needed cleansing. I needed healing. I needed freedom to father. Jesus invited me to step foot into His basin. His cleansing broke the back of something strong, something the enemy intended to mute the essence of my gift.
Leaving the seminary challenged me in a subtle way. It humbled me to reckon that this honorable priestly vocation may not be mine. Was I now resigned to be a second-rate father in the world, forsaking the high call for a lesser one? Jesus, cleanse me. Cleanse me for your purposes. Humble me to be comfortable with this uncomfortable cleansing.
Jesus called me out of the seminary, and I acted quickly. I felt like the fishermen in Mark’s Gospel; dropping their nets as to follow Him “immediately” (Mk 1:18). I dropped my nets and moved to Kansas City. Merciful Jesus was trustworthy. I hoped that He would make something of my life. No longer did I grasp for a calling not my own. God pursued and I followed Him.
A lot has happened in two years. Just purchased my first home. Became Assistant Director of DSM. Co-leading Living Waters with Abbey Foard in an amazing Catholic parish and inviting others to the Cross. I need it. Finding fellow pilgrims keeps me on track. My spiritual director recently said, “You know Marco, you’ve become a father in this community.” This good priest doesn’t speak frivolously. I took it to heart.
Learning to father in a community is a privilege. But there’s something closer to home. I desire my own “house-church”. I desire a bride. I want to father some Casanova youngsters. Pursuing women hasn’t been the easiest thing. I thought I was a pleasing, capable man. It takes two to dance and I’ve discovered the injustice of romance. It is tough to pursue and not be chosen in turn. I need Divine Mercy to wash little wounds; I need to know I am a gift when that gift isn’t received. Entering the dance of Eden invites me back into the Lord’s cleansing basin!
Jesus is good to me. My Savior-Friend reminds me of the integrity of my masculine gift. He urges me to never tire of my need to be cleansed. His cleansing is a reminder that He goes before me to prepare a feast.