Friday, April 14, 2023

Cattle Time

Every spring I seriously reevaluate whether running cows compliments the current demands of my priestly vocation or not. As far as I can see, it again does. With that in mind, it's time to gather some critters. 

These two blacks came from the Etchemendy Ranch north of Douglas. 

Mixing it up a bit, these Charolais crosses came off the HooDoo Ranch north of Cody. We picked them up at the barn in Worland. 

Happy campers. 

I'm hopeful for a good season of ranching. I'd like to pick up a total of 12 heiferettes. We'll see what the Lord provides. I know it seems counter productive to invest time in ranching when I could be sitting at the church office waiting for someone to knock on the door. But this is how I meet people. Jesus didn't wait for people to come to Him, He went out to them. Ranching gets me into people's lives where priests normally wouldn't go. But the main Man I meet when I play cowboy is God. God's grace builds on our personal nature. When I act in accord with my cowboy nature I meet God in a human way. This encounter in-turn fuels my priestly vocation. It refreshes me in my relationship with the Father that I may serve as a father. It tunes my heart in to the Holy Spirit that I may make effective shots in priestly ministry. And it grounds me in the humanity of Jesus Christ that I may be a bridge to God for the People of God. Let us ranch. 


  1. If I may be so bold as to comment on "Every spring I seriously reevaluate whether running cows compliments the current demands of my priestly vocation or not."

    I've known a few Priests over the years, and been friends with a very small numbers. I found that the one that I related to best, on a personal level, was one from a radically different foreign culture, which was in part due to his intellect, but which was in part also due to the fact that he came from a highly rural background, as do I.

    I've said from time to time that "I like men to have the bark on", by which I mean I like men to be men. When I was a kid, I recall my father being good friends with a Catholic Priest who would come to the house fairly often, and who shared a rural Nebraska background with my father. Their topics of conversation tended to be about bird hunting and fishing. Likewise, I recall my father stopping to pick up the Bishop and a priest traveling with him on the highway, as their car had died. The Bishop piled in our single cab truck and asked, "was the fishing any good?"

    In contrast, at least one Priest I tried to reach out and be friendly with was absolutely unapproachable, as he seemingly couldn't talk about anything other than the Faith in an immediate context.

    Don't get me wrong, but what I think is that Priests have to be relatable to be effective. Christ went out amongst the tax collectors and the publicans. Peter was a fisherman. Paul was a tentmaker. I don't know for sure, but I'd guess that if I'd run into Paul in context, I probably could have asked him "what's wrong with the seam on my tent" and have gotten an answer.

    All of which is a long roundabout way of saying that I suspect your work as a stockman enhances your calling as a Priest.

  2. As a second aside, this causes me to recall something, maybe related to my comment above, or not.

    Years ago, I was about to trail cattle up into the mountains. I had a lot on my mind, including the trail, my day jobs, and my large collection of anxieties I pack around with me constantly. At that time one of the Parishes had a noon daily Mass I used to frequently attend.

    As I sat there, the readings on that day were on leading sheep to greener pastures.



Father in Secret

Go contemplative.