The Effects a Priest Can Have

March 3, 2012

Recently, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was awarded an honorary degree, a Doctor of Laws, from the College of the Holy Cross in Worchester, MA.  In his address after receiving the honorary degree, Justice Thomas spoke of how his lost faith was restored during his time at Holy Cross, especially due to the work of president emeritus, Fr. John Brooks, SJ.  Justice Thomas stated:

“Father, I thank you, I thank God you were born, I thank God you became a priest and that you came to Holy Cross. I know I speak for many, when I say that had there been no Father Brooks we would not be where we are. I certainly wouldn’t. You are a sine qua non in my life. I know that I am the better for you having lived. You were paternal but never paternalistic. You saw each of us as a person not a project. You wanted the fullness of humanity for all of us, our thoughts, our mistakes, our triumphs, our redemption. You loved us. God bless you, Father, for your wonderful, wonderful life.”
It was through this example as well as the outreach Holy Cross gave him that Justice Thomas began to turn his life around and return to the practice of the faith (he had previously even been in seminary before he began to struggle with his faith).  Justice Thomas commented on this stating, “And it was here, directly in front of the chapel on the morning of April 16, 1970, that I promised Almighty God that if he took hate out of my heart I would never hate again. He did, and I have not.”
Priests and religious truly can have an effect on the salvation of souls.  What a joy it is to be a worker in the harvest of the Lord (cf. Lk. 10:2).

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