Friday, June 19, 2009

Year "for" Priests, so what about us?

During my prayer this morning, I read the full text of Pope Benedict's letter to priests for the special year that opens today. That reading convinced me even more that this year "for" priests involves all of us, and I don't mean in the sense of the "priesthood of the laity" (although that is certainly valid). What I mean is that those of us on the other side of the altar (pace the TLM/ad orientem crowd) need to have a clearer sense of the vocation of those who serve God and us in the specifically ministerial priesthood. And the Pope's letter really does offer a beautiful, very rich lens for that. Not that most of what he says can't also be applied (mutatis mutandae) to the rest of us. (As a matter of fact, I intend to draw on this Letter for a retreat talk I am preparing.)
I am also going to accept the challenge of this Year for Priests by taking on its call for interior and ministerial renewal on behalf of the priests who are dismissing the Pope's invitation, for whatever reason, and for priests who are excluded from the priestly ministry for whatever reason. They still share the priesthood of Christ in an extraordinary way (nothing can take that away; no free choice of their own, no action even of the Church), and so this year should also help them in some way toward their fulness of life.
What about you?

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