20 November 2010

Maybe it's a good thing...

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!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The following are the ramblings of a
baby boomer cradle Catholic so take
this with a large grain of salt.

As a convert, you had the experience
of how the grace of the Holy Spirit
can work on a soul and draw the soul
closer to God. The Lord preserved
you from so much of the misinter-
pretation of Vatican II that on the
parish level proved to be disastrous
in passing on the fullness of faith.
I know that you have to deal with
it now, but your roots are strong
now. You were able to see with more
clarity the truth, beauty and
wisdom of Holy Mother Church and
not just see the Church as an
authoritarian institution.
Both the priests, I think, and the
faithful of the last 45 years have
been wounded.

The parents of these young men may
have, like me, been robbed of the
knowledge and appreciation for
devotions and basic knowledge of the faith that managed to see their
parents through an economic
depression, a world war and the
most self-centered generation of
children that the world has ever
seen (I'm including myself). It
was done by priests, religious and
lay persons with the best of
intentions thinking that the changes
would bring the faithful closer to
Jesus but the outcome has been
awful.

As I look back on how hard I've
been on priests, I realize that
it is not what I would wish for
my son. 25 years ago I would have
criticized you for being too
orthodox. Now I criticize priests
for not being orthodox enough. In
both cases, the proper response
would have been to pray for you and
them and keep my mouth shut. That
wisdom comes from experience but
it has come rather late for me.

So, father, pray for the parents
so that they can pray for their
sons.

Also, you speak so passionately
about how loved you feel. And
indeed you are much loved. But
you have the capacity to recog-
nize the love shown to you. It
has been my experience that there
are some and maybe many priests
who are also much loved but can't
seem to recognize it. Pray for
your brother priests that they be
able to know that they are truly
loved.