These two items in his list of seven caught my eye:
4. Never, ever, under any circumstances, tell people in a homily that it might be spiritually enriching to pray for our enemies and then suggest a name. I did that once, mentioning Osama bin Laden, and the congregation actually gasped. I never heard the end of it.
7. But despite all that, no amount of preparation can prepare you for the miraculous. The first time I baptized a baby, I made a mental note to check out my eyeglass prescription, until I realized I was having trouble seeing because my eyes were blurred by my own tears. Ministerial life has been like that. I have been moved and inspired by the boundless joy of a couple on their wedding day, the giddiness of a mother and father dabbing the water from their baby’s brow on the day of his baptism and the heartfelt handshake of a man who was grateful for something I mentioned in the pulpit. I have dried tears at funerals (sometimes my own) and smiled at small children who trot around the aisles during my homilies. I have been reminded, week after week, at wakes and weddings, at fundraisers and first Communions, that I am a part of something that is, like the mysteries of the rosary, joyous, luminous, sorrowful and glorious.
I have had a front-row seat for the great milestones of life and have shared in the worries and wonders and hopes of the people in the pews. I do not know most of their names, but they know me, and they know my wife, and they wave at us in the supermarket or stop us on the subway and go out of their way to say hello or how are you or thank you. I have been doing this for only two years, but already I’ve witnessed more miracles than I can count.