Akiva the Rabbi



One time, long ago, I heard a preacher tell a story about Akiva the rabbi, who had been in the village to gather some supplies. Walking back to his cottage, Akiva absentmindedly took the wrong path. Suddenly a voice came through the darkness: “Who are you, and why are you here?”  Shocked to awareness, Akiva realized that he had wandered into the Roman garrison, and the voice had come from the young sentry keeping guard. But being a rabbi, Akiva answered the question with another question, “How much do they pay you to stand guard and ask that question of all who approach?” The sentry, now seeing that this was not an intruder but a rabbi, answered meekly, “Five drachmas a week, sir.”  At that point the rabbi offered, “Young man, I will double your pay if you come with me, stand in front of my cottage, and ask me that question each morning as I begin my day:

“Who are you, and why are you here?”

Don’t you love that story?  Who are you and why are you here?  I think Jesus knew exactly Who He was and why He was here. In church circles we call this a High Christology – that Jesus knew exactly what His mission here on earth was about – to save us and set us free through the blood of His cross. Jesus understood His mission and in short, He would rather sacrifice Himself for us than go on living without us. Christ’s mission was excruciatingly painful and exceedingly brave, loving and heroic.

So, who are we and why are we here?  I think I know … for me, that is – with every fiber of my being I believe that, first and foremost,  I am a child of God. With that knowledge comes the most powerful and life-giving relationship in my life, through Jesus Christ.  Then I believe that I am a member of a family. While it is true that I do not have a family of my own, I have come from a family and cherish and nurture these relationships as the second-most important priority in my life. Then I know that God called me to be a priest and to humbly love and serve others on this life’s journey. It’s been a thrill and privilege to do this for the past 23 years and I look forward to doing this for however long God gives me life. Lately, I’ve been feeling like a grounded pilot who’s been sitting behind a desk too long; it’s time to get back to flying!

What is your life’s purpose? Your mission? Your destiny? I pray it is crystal clear for you, and that whatever it is, that it brings as much joy, peace and contentment to your life as the priesthood brings to mine.

Peace friends,


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  • Colin says:


    This has made me think hard about “who I am and why I’m here”. I’m still not sure about why I’m here, but have some ideas!! In regard to the first part, I was listening ot the Casting Crowns song, “Who Am I” today, and the answer that makes the most sense is in their chorus at the end, “I am Yours”. I like that. The full chorus is below, but I definately recommend listening to the whole song.

    “I am a flower quickly fading
    Here today and gone tomorrow
    A wave tossed in the ocean
    A vapor in the wind
    Still You hear me when I’m calling
    Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
    And You’ve told me who I am
    I am Yours, I am Yours”

  • Jim Buisson says:


    You have a big, loyal and loving family in more places then you know.
    You have touched me and everyone in my family in more ways then I thought was possible. All of us (20) go to Mass and communion every Sunday–people think that is remarkable in today’s world- and I think you had a large influence on this.
    Thank you again for all you have done for all of us and I would hope one of my grandsons will follow in your path.
    I just hope and know that you will continue to lead all the people you come in contact with throughout the rest of your life.

  • Sean says:

    Thanks, this one’s a “keeper” !

    Peace, bro

  • Ann says:

    You have the largest extended family of anyone I know. We all want a part of you in our lives. You are such a gift and so loved Chuck. Never forget that.

  • GIBSON says:

    I agree with what Donovan wrote to youi!!!gibson

  • Rose says:

    could not phrase a reply any better than Donovan – but will add that we are praying constantly that you will soon be flying again in service to a community who will be so fortunate to have you as their pilot. God bless.

  • Donovan says:


    You’re right on target here until you say that you are without family.

    1) I’m pretty sure a stork didn’t drop you off in clerics … your biological family has shaped you (and us, by proxy) in many, many important ways.
    2) We are your family in all the wild, wonderful ways that pastoral life in the 21st century can bring. And I deeply certain and comforted by knowing that you are my brother.


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