I came across an interesting article of Fr. Stanislaw Herba, pastor of Saint Mary of the Assumption in Park City, Utah. The article talks about Fr. Herba’s life from Communist Poland to the United States. However, what was most interesting is his discussion of personal evolution and transformation (complete with Teilhard de Chardin reference) that comes from age and experience and how the Catholic Church, following Christ, thrives as a Church of Mercy:
“From Communist Poland to Brazil to the United States, Father Stanislaw Herba has celebrated Mass in many cultures during his 50 years as a priest. Over that time, too, his understanding of the Catholic faith has changed.
As a child, “of course they taught us that God is love but the attitude wasn’t so loving,” he said, recalling that the pastor who taught the sacraments at his parish in Maziarnia, Poland, had a big stick in the classroom. “You grew up in that love, but you didn’t feel that love.”
The letter of the law was important to him as a new priest, he said. He read the Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and was struck by the theologian’s writings about a person’s evolution. “When I was younger I thought that as I got older I would become almost perfect,” he said with a laugh, “but I was wrong. … We’re saved by God’s mercy. It’s a grace. I think it takes time to [realize that]. When you’re younger you don’t see these things.”
Now, he says, he still respects the law, but he is more concerned with the people it affects.”