My photographer stopped by, to drop off a book of pictures from the ordination. It wasn't a chronological rendition of the ordination, nor was it a liturgical following of the ceremony, more of an impressionistic view of a holy and gnostic event.
Since ordination, I'd felt kind of unfocused. I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the experience at the time, and I'd had my friends and family in to visit, but since the event, it was like that was that, and they'd left, and it was done. Now what?
I thanked him for the book, because I was quite touched that he'd put this much work into it. However, I'm not that visually inclined. I started absentmindedly flipping through it, my mind filled with worldly concerns, figuring I'd take a look at it, then put it on a bookshelf with my other picture books, a curio to be brought out once in a while for visitors who couldn't be at the ceremony.
However, from the first page, worldly concerns fled my mind.
As I turned the pages, the enormity of the experience flooded back to me. I saw myself, and remembered the joy and wonder and awe with which the ceremony proceeded for me, and saw all the people as they took part in that ceremony.
And then, I saw myself on lying on the floor, with the words "and what rebirth truly is..." superimposed across the picture, and I started to cry.
By the end of the book, I was crying and exclaiming "Oh my God!" as the enormity of the day reverberated through me, and I remembered what had happened. And I felt awe, and joy, and sorrow, and had what could only be described as an ecstatic event.
I fled to the chapel. I knelt before the altar, crying and exclaiming "Oh my God!" as the enormity of what happened washed over me. I can never go back. I am now and forever a Priest after the order of Melchezidek. I will always bear the light, and bring it to the people, and this burden will be with me forever. I won't have to carry it alone, but I will have to carry it.
It scared the hell out of me. Literally. The lower parts of my being quailed at the thought of being constantly exposed to the Light. The sloth, the avarice, the sins that I carry in quantity all ran and hid from the realization that this Light, too, was now part of me. I am simply overwhelmed.
Lord, I am not worthy. But only say the word, and I shall be healed.
For the first time, I said the Eucharist by myself, alone, and took communion with the Divine Light, as I'm sure I will every day from now on. For I have been granted an understanding of what birth is, and of what rebirth truly is. And I can see myself as I am, filled with Everlasting Light, the unspotted mirror of Divine Love, the image of Goodness, One and Indivisible.
The Sacred Flame.
Thank you Photographer. You have given me a gift who's magnitude you cannot realize. If I can ever be of any to you or yours, you have simply to ask.