Monday, February 14, 2011

Why I Love Being Facebook Friends With Priests

. . . because just when I start slipping into a pity party mood that my special 3 day Valentine's Weekend got marred by a super ugly head cold that has wiped out the entire Benjamin family, this surprising comment appears on my facebook screen.

"Father Dan G. is back from Mount 2000! Surprisingly tired; with his right hand not yet working properly (pinched nerve from sleeping on the gym floor? can't type right!); and having heard a good chunk of the almost 900 total confessions! Praised be Jesus Christ! Zzz..."

When concerned parishioners inquired further, Father updated us on the details of his
Youth Retreat Palsy


"Not all the way to full function, but continuing to improve. . . .
I was just reading about arm and hand muscles, arteries, and nerves, and I am pretty sure I know what happened. From an arm position while sleeping, I must have compressed the radial nerve in my arm and cut off blood supply to it (perhaps to some muscles as well?). This is indeed what happens when you make your arm "go to sleep"-- but I must have done it for more than 40 minutes, though less than several hours, based upon the length of time it is taking to recover. A page that describes all of this well is at http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/1996-12/850996021.Ns.r.html. I did not lose sensation in the arm and hand, just the ability to move some of the muscles.

This is common enough that they say there are nicknames for it based on different causes: "Saturday Night Palsy," when due to drinking, and "Lover's Palsy," from someone else sleeping against the arm. Shall we call this one "Chaperone Palsy"? "Youth Retreat Palsy"? :)

Seriously, God! Seriously?

To serve you, a priest hears almost 900 confessions during one youth retreat and spends an uncomfortable night sleeping on a gym floor. His reward for this great deed--a nice case of "youth retreat palsy". Because what priest needs a working right hand to celebrate the Mass each day??

This is why it's great to be a Carmelite, folks. (And Father Dan G. is a member of my Carmelite community). We totally get how God hands out "extra credit" sufferings as a special thank you for a job well done. Seeing it in action sends us into ironic giggles. *

God bless you Father D! We're praying that your sore arm heals soon. St. John Vianney, remind us to pray daily for our beloved priests.


*If you are still thrown by the concept of "suffering because of doing the right thing", I'll write a post on St. John of the Cross soon.

2 comments:

Amy said...

oh yes please, do write more about this. God has been doing this with me so much lately and I didn't (and don't) understand it. Honestly, I've just been very angry. But hearing that it happens, and not just to me? Priceless!

Mrs. Clara C said...

Abigail,

I too would love to hear/read more about the concept of "suffering because of doing the right thing".

Thanks!
Clara