Monday, April 18, 2005

A Priest’s Way to Happiness. Wow!

A Priest’s Way to Happiness. Wow!


Father Edward Warren S. J. was a Dean for 25 years at Santa Clara University. Since retiring in 1988, he helps out at parishes in the Bay Area. Everyone who meets him is struck be his joy and kindness. In the mid 1970’s, this reporter was hitchhiking in San Jose. He had lost his faith and was surprised to be picked up by a joyful man in a Roman collar. Father Warren’s kindness and charity for me bring to mind the person of Pope John Paul II. This reporter is sure that his encounter with Father is one of the factors in God’s mysterious providence and grace that helped bring him back to the faith. Please pray for Fr. Warren’s eyes, which are failing him.

Q. How and why did you decide to become a priest?

A. You have not chosen me. I have chosen you Our Lord said. I thank you Our Lord for choosing me for his love. He uses parents and friends for his mysterious choices. I had good religious parents. Also, I went to U. C. Berkley and belonged to the Newman club. There I got in contact with those who went to Mass everyday for Lent. They wanted me to go everyday with them for Lent. This was a new idea for me. I survived. I didn’t die. So, I kept going everyday after Lent.

This encounter got me going to daily Mass. That’s when I meet Monsignor Terrance Nugent who was from Ireland. He said the Jesuits were a good place to go for a retreat. At the time, I had a janitor job following in my father’s footsteps-God bless him for his daily work. So for my vacation, I went to the Jesuit retreat house in Los Altos. There I met Father William Boland. He was a perfect gentleman and scholar. He asked me if I ever thought of being a priest. He said he thought I would be a good priest. I thought I’d like to be like Fr. Boland. I thought exactly like that. My mother worked so I could go to school. God is faithful.

God made it clear that this was my life. It’s been a love affair-a successful marriage with Jesus. The more we know about Jesus, the more we love him. The heart of the matter is that the spiritual life is a love affair.

I entered the Jesuit Seminary at Los Altos in 1940. I was allowed go for a Doctorate at U. C. Berkley, but I didn’t get the Ph. D because I didn’t do my thesis. I couldn’t sleep, so they send me to Santa Clara University. It was an eternal humiliation. I was an instructor for four years and an assistant dean for 25 years where I helped in training teachers, counselors and school administrators. In 1988, I formally retired. Since then, I’ve been involved with priestly parish work. I help out at the Poor Clare's in the Los Altos Hills and other parishes.

Q. What is your most difficult experience as a priest?

A. Being fired from a job and being put in another job I liked better. God has a good sense of humor. I love it. I was fired from a director position. I was replaced by a person my superior thought would do a better job. I was moved to assistant dean of counseling, psychology and education. I liked it because of its influence. You were dealing with people who influenced people. It was like training generals and colonels instead of privates and sergeants. St. Ignatius thought it good to work with those who influence more people.

Q. What was your happiest time in the priesthood?

A. It isn’t over yet. So, there might still be happier times. It might be when you are allowed to die and be with God. But, it was the time when I realized this is my vocation. I’m happy in my work. We are dealing with Divine grace and eternal life. These are important things. We are not dealing in little things.

The more one realizes God is happiness, the more one is happy. Happiness is realizing one is in touch with reality. The more one know Our Lord, the more solid and happy one is. That is why we are called the Society of Jesus. We are focused on Him. My purpose in life is to get to heaven and to bring as many people as I can. Happiness is in worshiping God and loving my neighbor.

Q. What would you tell people who are worried about problems in the Church? What would you tell them so they can be at peace?

A. Don’t be surprised. Oh boy, evil in the Church. What else is new? There are going to be weeds. That is the human element in the Church. Eventually the weeds will be pulled, but the wheat will be preserved. All things work out for those who love God. Return good for evil. Call down God’s blessings on your enemy. Jesus on the cross called down God’s blessings on His enemies. It works. Jesus didn’t kill anyone. He healed and loved. It’s a strange thing that by His wounds we are healed. By His wounds we are healed.

The more we learn about Jesus, the more loveable He becomes. He is present in all seven sacraments. Be very grateful for the Holy Scripture. The more we expose ourselves to His Word, the more bold we get. Remember to do as He said. Ask and it shall be give to you. All things come through Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life. I am with you all days even on to the end of the world. That’s an extraordinary statement. He is talking to the Church.


Q. What advice can you give lay people for the times we are living in?

A. Pray everyday without fail to the almighty God; that’s the most important thing. Spend your life and possessions helping out of love of God. Time is short. We don’t have much time to be good, especially with the people we live with.


You know not the time or hour of death. So, when we go to work we might not come back. Our Lord wants us to be prepared for death every moment. That’s not scary superstitious religion. It’s just a fact of life. In this days with drive by shootings and car as well as airplane crashes. This is just being realistic. It’s not like doomsayers who say we have one year before the end of the world. We have to be prepared this day.

Q. What advice can you give priest for the times we are living in?

A. Say this prayer: “My Jesus transform us into incarnate love.” Our life’s work has to be to keep the two commandments. Love God above all things and love our neighbor above all things. He gives us the power to do it. Jesus is living in us. God is love. Jesus, God incarnate became love on two legs. Wow!

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