Across the Pastor’s Desk: Joy comes from putting God first

Published 8:30 pm Friday, November 12, 2021

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Kurt Farrell

The other day I got thinking about the priests that I knew growing up. Probably had to do with Jesus’s criticism of the Jewish religious leaders of his day. He was not very happy with them. I hope he is happy with me. I do want to be a good example of the Christian life for others. There were a lot priests that I liked growing up, but my favorite priest was Father James Russell. He was the priest who gave me my first Communion and heard my first confession. He was the priest that I most remember as a child. The one thing that I remember most about him was how happy he was. He was always filled with joy. Just being around him made me feel joyful. I think it was his example of priesthood that first got me thinking about becoming a priest.

Kurt Farrell

What is so impressive for me about Father Jim is that he is the same joyful person today as he was when I knew him 40 years ago. I asked a good friend of his the other day what is Father Jim’s secret for always being so joyful. He replied back that besides being a gift of the Holy Spirit, it has to do with keeping the principle of joy, which is Jesus first, others second and yourself third. I truly believe that has been true in my life. When I put God and others before myself, I am happy. Getting out of my comfort zone and helping someone that really needs my friendship has always brought me joy. I hope that you have had good models of religious leadership in your life as I have in mine. Always remember that it is in giving of yourself that you discover the true meaning of who you are.

Kurt Farrell is a pastor at St. Theodore Catholic Church in Albert Lea.