- April 19, 2013
Ronald Kuźnicki: „My road to priesthood”
On Saturday, April 20th at 11:00 AM in the Vilnius Cathedral the ceremony of administering holy orders took place. One of those who received the holy orders is then deacon, now priest, Ronald Kuźnicki. The day before the ceremony we talked to him about his road to the vocation to priesthood.
It is said that the roads through which God leads us are mysterious. Indeed, they are mysterious, sometimes we cannot understand them, we are shocked by them. Some people are being called to one or another mission (priesthood, being a doctor or a teacher and so on) step by step and in silence, to others, a vocation comes suddenly and unexpectedly.
The way through which priest Kuźnicki went was rather silent, but it was full of his constant effort and hard work towards reaching his goal.
—I have no idea why, when I was less than six years old, I told my mum that I would be a priest. Practically, I did not know anything precise about priesthood (despite comprehensive religious upbringing that I received in my family) and I did not understand it, but the thought was not letting me go. This is why I tried to get closer to the Church, fight my smaller and bigger imperfections – says priest Ronald.
The road was not an easy one since it required facing lack of understanding from even the closest people, friends (weird looks, sometimes mean comments, jealousy). Already then he was a bit different from the other people, he was a bit eccentric. But from the early childhood he has been sticking to his ideals, although it was not easy. As he keeps telling himself, in such moments sometimes he wanted to shout “God, where are you, do something with me.” Then he always proceeded to an honest, open conversation with God. And this was really helpful. The Lord was always coming and helping him.
Priest Mirosław Balcewicz had a great influence on priest Ronald’s choice. He first came to his family with a Christmas visit. Then there was priest Jerzy Dąbrowski, who prepared young Ronald to his First Communion. But the greatest merit in helping Ronald choose the way of priesthood probably belongs to priest Jan Czerniawski. It was him who encouraged the boy to play the guitar during masses, to sing liturgical songs and it was probably then that Ronald got the bug and he became even surer that he wanted to be a priest.
God was obviously engaged in the process, but there were also obstacles and, in a sense, temptations. And there came another promising event. Being a high school student, Roland participated in a Polish language contest a few times. And since he was good at it, he managed to get to Polish eliminations. He succeeded there as well, and he won the right to study in Poland.
That was a tempting proposal. He started considering all arguments “for” and “against”, at the same time praying intensively, speaking with God and asking Him what He wanted. After some time he understood that studying in Poland is not the way and eventually he chose the Vilnius Theological Seminary. Today, after seven years of studying and a yearlong deacon’s traineeship he is sure that he has made the right choice and he has also became aware that many difficult experiences wait for him in his life.
—Contrary to suppositions, many people think that the years one spends in a seminar are only full of studying, whereas it is a great adventure with God based on four ways of development: relations and contacts with people, the spiritual direction (deepening the relation with God, prayer and priesthood), then serving God and preaching and the last element – intellectual improvement, constant maturing in one’s faith and in further relations with God – the deacon explained.
My interlocutor is fully aware of the fact that this is only the beginning of hard work and difficult fights with many obstacles. What to do when carrying the Cross seems to be too difficult for us, sometimes? What to do if, despite many efforts, God went away, as if hiding somewhere?
Then, we often say, mistakenly, that God has left us, but the Church teaches that God never leaves a person, even if he or she has sinned a lot. It is us, people, who leave God because we often have the doors of our hearts shut and we do not want to let Him in because of doubt and fear. Precisely for such situations, priest Ronald has a well and long tested, reliable recipe: prayer, living with a true, active faith, love– endless love for God and people. He emphasises, though, that every love is like the one in a marriage – it requires a decision, a total sacrifice, dedication, understanding, constant mutual support, forgetting about one’s own ego and forgiving (not only seven times but seventy seven times, as Jesus Christ told Peter).
The priest also has his own recipe for a prayer, but, as he admits, it does not work every time. It stops working when we start it from presenting our conditions to God: give me this, give me that etc. And a prayer is not trading, but an honest, full of trust conversation with the Lord.
One can think, then, that the priest is an ideal one, everything is easy for him. But it is not so at all. Just as everyone else, he encounters difficulties, he has moments of joy, temptation and sadness, he has to face his own weaknesses and he knows well that he will have to keep doing this all his life. But he is sure about one thing – he will have to keep improving.
He is not afraid, though, because he feels strengthened and empowered by the words of one of the Psalms:
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
Maybe this is why he always is open for everything, ready to help everyone. For these characteristics his parishioners love him most, they love his sermons, which often force them to think deeply about something and they help them to straighten their own consciences.
Tłumaczenie by Emilia Zawieracz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Emilia Zawieracz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.