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Friday, 30 March 2018

"Saying 'Yes' to the Whole Task of the Priesthood"

In case there actually ever was  anyone foolish enough or agenda-driven enough to believe Father Benedict was "only a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete life of a Christian today," an ivory tower, airy-fairy academic, totally lacking in a pastoral heart, or even, as I have actually heard claimed, in pastoral experience, his own words remembering his days as a seminarian when he considered these very questions should disabuse them of that notion:
It became clearer and clearer to me that there is more to the priestly vocation than enjoying theology, indeed, that work in the parish can often lead very far away from that and makes completely different demands. . . The Yes to the priesthood meant that I had to say Yes to the whole task, even in its simplest forms.
Since I was rather diffident and downright unpractical, since I had no talent for sports or administration or organization, I had to ask myself whether I would be able to relate to people-whether, for example, as a chaplain I would be able to lead and inspire Catholic youth, whether I would be capable of giving religious instruction to the little ones, whether I could get along with the old and the sick, and so forth. I had to ask myself whether I would be ready to do that my whole life long and whether it was really my vocation.
Bound up with this was naturally the question of whether I would be able to remain celibate, unmarried, my whole life long. . . I often pondered these questions as I walked in the beautiful park of Furstenried and naturally in the chapel, until finally at my diaconal ordination in the fall of 1950 I was able to pronounce a convinced Yes.
(And not for the first time, God bless everyone who creates Magnificat )

Having read it only yesterday morning, it was fresh in my mind when my own pastor preached last night about his  joy in the idea of the priesthood, his ordination and his First Mass when the immense privilege of being called to "do this in memory" of the Great High Priest gave him such joy.
(Oh, and I am slightly, no, very ashamed. I arrived at church, saw no chairs and thought, not bothering with the mandatum, great.... and then when Mass began I realized he was sick, had obviously dragged himself out of bed to come say Mass and then hear confessions, and that he all but needed to altar to brace himself and remain upright.I should remember better than most how difficult is the life of the man who sacrifices his whole life to be Alter Christi.

Pray for priests!!!!!

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