Monday, June 13, 2011

Fr. Miljenko

I lived with Fr. Miljenko for three years. At times I found him difficult. A difficult person is one who does not agree with me. I think that Miljenko may be called to be a prophetic voice. Such a voice is never popular. It challenges us, at least that is the way it is in the bible. A prophet will never be a popular parish priest. As a pastor a prophet would be a disaster as we wee to measure pastors. That is, the congregations would be small and the collection would match it.
But we need prophetic voices, even if I don't care to listen to them. That is the nature of the prophetic voice. I am more of a comforter voice. I am liked by lots of people. I remind them that God loves them and forgives our messy lives. Oh, I encourage people to do better, but we are still loved no matter what. Maybe we can do better knowing we are loved. No fear of God here. No worry about having a bad judgment from the Divine Lover.
But the prophet is all challenge. That voice is a kick in the butt to those who might slip into a world of indifference and mediocrity, or lukewarmness, if they are not already there. I never like a kick in the butt. I have a running coach who gives a short or sometimes not so short homily on running before each workout. I enjoy listening to him when he coddles us and tells us we are doing OK and jus keep at it. But I will never get much better in my running. At times he challenges us, chides us. This is never popular with the group. But it might make us try harder and improve our performance.
The prophetic ordained priest will always be on the periphery of success. If they ever get beloved by many, draw huge crowds, then either they have lost their prophetic voice or the world has truly changed. We can be quick to point out the personal shortcomings of the prophet. It makes us feel better about ignoring the message. But we all have faults. I hope the Church is big enough for comforters life me and prophetic voices like Fr. Miljenko. It is all the same Spirit, no?


  1. The last time I heard Fr. Miljenko give a homily, the church was not very crowded. I swear he looked directly at me and said, "it is not enough to say I am a Christian, you must study the lives of the saints and dedicate yourself to becoming a saint". Talk about unsettling.

  2. I think to say that a prophet can't be a pastor is inaccurate. Indeed, St. John Vianney was both. Fr. Miljenko is both. As Fr. Bill stated in his letter, he has the extraordinary ability to comfort and console the sick and the poor. Like walking and chewing gum, one can preach conversion and comfort the afflicted at the same time. All Christians are called to do that -- even priests. Doing otherwise is taking the easy way out.