The Rt. Rev. Daniel G.P. Gutierrez, Bishop of Pennsylvania, writes on his weblog, A Shepherd in the Field:
This past week a Priest kindly approached me. “Bishop, can I say something in love, truth, and respect?” I responded, “Yes, of course.” The Priest continued, “We love you. There are many of us who worried that you are working too hard. Significant work has been accomplished during your first six months, but we do not want you to be overwhelmed with work and kill yourself.”
I thanked the Priest, smiled, and we began the conversation. I described how God has a way of speaking to the heart, continually reaffirming through people and places what I experienced and learned in prayer. How two events over the last month led me to a healthy, transformative and holy place. This holy place is the urging to be “Daniel” and live into the question “What is God calling me to do as your Bishop?”
The first sacred event was my time in Albuquerque over Christmas with Suzanne and Jude. As many of you know, they are in Albuquerque while Jude completes his senior year in high school. When I boarded the flight, I was tired. There were numerous instances where I worked 18 days straight. No weekends or days off. Hours were from 6:30 am to 9:00 p.m. I lived in a small apartment in Center City. I was focused on our work.
I eagerly awaited the time with my family. Every moment spent with them is life giving. I miss them and count the days until we are together. While in New Mexico, I prayed, sat in silence and exercised. Many may not know that I am a contemplative and teach contemplative prayer. My priesthood and spiritual life have been formed by silence, prayer, monasticism and the sacred mystery. I need silence with the Lord. It centers my being and thought. So, I prayed and listened.
Over Christmas, Suzanne, Jude and I laughed, went fishing, dreamed and enjoyed being with one another. We checked in, talked about the time apart and how we were going to live into our time in Pennsylvania. There was also time with old friends, dinners and I allowed myself to breathe. As one Priest in our Diocese commented; “You can relax because everyone knows the real you.”