Priests today

Priests Today
Photo courtesy of msp.org.ph.

Our Church is not in particular danger from some dominating iniquity. It is not in particular danger from some infiltrating heresy. It is not in danger from some loss of resources, financially, or human. Everything you see on the surface looks to be good. And we would have every reason to think that we stand…. and still be on the brink of a fall.

Following that idea a little bit, we have to go to the real core of what it means to be Christ’s Priests. I, from my perspective, believe that the Church in our day has that tendency to lose this simple perspective. I think priestly life is essentially a simple thing to understand. And for that matter I think Christian Catholic life is essentially a simple thing to understand. It is a life of loving Jesus Christ. I know that sounds probably basic, and indeed it is basic, but just that simple statement tends to be lost in us. Priestly life is best defined as an on-going relationship of love between the believer and Christ. We don’t need to talk about Christ’s love for us. That is fixed. The issue is our love for Christ.

We tend to lose the perspective of priestly life. Most of us have the idea that our life in the priesthood and in the ministry is about how much God loves me and wants to fulfill my dreams and my desires and my ambitions and my goals and my objectives. And what God wants to do is make something wonderful out of me, and lift me up, and elevate me, and fulfill all the hopes of my heart. It is more about God loving me so much that He wants to do all of this, than it is about me, loving him.

But in reality, priestly life, and indeed in general, Christian life is about loving Christ. It is about loving God singularly. It is about loving him totally. It is about loving him sacrificially. It is about loving him obediently. It is about loving him, worshipfully. It is about loving God in terms of service. It really is about loving Jesus Christ. That’s what it means to be priests of Christ. That’s what it means to be a Christian. It is that we commit loving him. So the real question to ask priests where they are in terms of their life, is how much do you love Jesus Christ? Are we growing in our love for Christ?

Do we love him more now than we have in the past? Do we desire him more now than we did in the past? St. Paul was driven to serve the Lord, to exalt him, to proclaim him, because he loved the Lord. This is consistent with what it means to be a priest of Christ. It is to love Christ.

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