The last post got me reflecting on the way that the priesthood seems to be discerned these days. The varied need for priests makes me want to be like St. Francis Xavier and go running around the university shouting at the top of my lungs that there are souls that need you! Come on! I try not to think very much about young men discerning the priesthood because I get too emotionally involved, and I end up having a negative effect on them. A crazy man running around shouting has that effect on people. But sometimes I can't help myself! I want them to be loved as I am loved.
These days a devout young Catholic man can say that he is thinking about doing almost anything, and everyone says what a great idea it is: starting a micro lending organization in Upper Volta, for example. That's fine with me. But if one were to suggest the priesthood to him, a wary look comes into his eyes, and he acts as if you have picked your nose in public. This same young man will then send everyone he knows to confession, want Masses said in all kinds of extraordinary situations, etc. What I want to say is that there is an obvious solution to your needs. Or the parents of such a young man will put on sack cloth and ashes at the merest suggestion of the priesthood whereas if he were wanting to be on the first manned space flight to Pluto they would be thrilled.
What is so bad about the priesthood?
I am loved ridiculously. There is no way that I could be loved more than I am as a priest. Sometimes I feel that I am about to explode with the love of God being poured into my heart, just from saying one Mass. And the people! How can a man be so loved?
Well, at least nobody is becoming a priest for worldly gain or reputation!