What is Priesthood to Me? A Reflection

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What is Priesthood to Me? A Reflection

Post  Insomnia on Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:44 pm

In the Vicariate of Baguio-Benguet, priesthood continues to enjoy its high regard with respect and dignity. Likewise, it is filled with various challenges and demands. It entails a lot of works and sacrifices. It is a vocation that is noble and sublime, which must be taken seriously. A priest, therefore, in the Vicariate of Baguio-Benguet must keep in mind the fundamental truths about priesthood so that he will have a meaningful and fulfilling priestly ministry and will not have great difficulties in his life and ministry. And in order to be effective in the priestly life, it is necessary to make some emphases on the following elements.

Priesthood is a special sharing in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. It is a total consecration of self to God in life and works of charity. It can not exist without him or apart from him. It is difficult to develop or bear fruit if it is not rooted and founded on Christ. "Apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5), Jesus asserts his being center of Christian life. Hence, it is imperative that a priest must keep his union with God. The relationship of a priest to God must be intimate. In this way, he knows of God and acts in the name of God. And because he shares in the priesthood of Christ, he must bear Christ's life and ministry. He acts in persona Christi. Acting in the person of Christ means not only coordination of various charisma for the unity of the body, but also the work of evangelization and sanctification of people. Therefore, his acts and works are God's. He is God's instrument in bringing his message. And as configured to Christ, as priest is designated as shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep.

PRAYER as INDISPENSABLE

I always believe that the spiritual life of the priest takes precedence over and above other aspects of priestly life. And even in the human existence, prayer life is essential. It is in his relationship with God where a priest draws his love, strength and inspiration to serve the people. Spiritual life is an indispensable dimension of the priestly life as it is the center and heart. He must nourish and sustain his relationship with God in and through prayer. Prayer plays a great role in the priestly life. It is the prayer that sustains pastoral life, personal life and social life of a priest. In this priestly life, prayer takes different forms: personal, communal and liturgical. Priestly prayer, particularly that of the Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharistic adoration will help the priest first of all to preserve the profound awareness that, as servants of Christ, he is in special and exceptional manner "steward of the mysteries of God" (1 Corinthians 4:1). He imitates the mystery he celebrates. He is to model his life in the mystery of the Lord's cross, to place oneself at the disposal of others and to bear witness to that supreme love, which God himself. Prayer is the root to our Christian existence. It is an expression of the awareness that we have been created by God and that God has revealed himself to man in Jesus Christ. Prayer is necessary in sustaining pastoral care for discerning and employing different charisma that lead to unity and are connected to the priestly service in the Church. It is the work of the priest to gather together the faithful to God. And this is fulfilled over and above as minister of the Eucharist. It is therefore necessary that a priest must maintain his prayer life going, for it is his relationship with God that sustains his whole existence as person and as priest. In this connection, a priest in the Vicariate of Baguio-Benguet must be a man of prayer, a man of God who inspires people in their daily lives. I believe that without prayer priestly life would be a messy life, miserable life. Every thing would be in trouble and chances are priestly life would be failure.

It is also important that people know their priest do pray, that they see him praying. And people must know that their priest really cares for them, consider himself as one of them.

PRIESTHOOD as a GIFT

While prayer is very essential in the priestly life, priesthood is first of all a gift of God. It is not a property of the Church, not bestowed by a community, not a delegation nor an empowerment, but a grace of God. However, priesthood is intended by God for the building up and life of the Church. And if it is a gift, it is essentially sharing in the priesthood of Christ. It is not a right that one can just demand to receive it. Neither does it come from the Church nor does it impose on the chosen individuals. However, it is for the service to the faithful and for God. And if priesthood is a gift, it could be given to anybody else whom God wants. Whether he is talented or not, whether he is good or not, whether he is intelligent or not, whether he is refined or not, whether he is rich or poor, whether he is handsome or not, whether he comes from the urban area or from the rural area, etc. What is essential is that the person accepts this gift with humility and openness. Therefore, good qualities are not a certain guarantee for a person to become a priest. Connected with this gift is the call. God calls whoever he wants to call. A call which, probably nobody deserves. On the other hand, it is up to the person to respond to this great call. The human person has all the freedom to respond of choose not to respond.
Hence, this calling to priesthood is an initiative coming from God. It is also God who calls first. A call to be set apart for a certain special and unique function. What is needed on the part of man in his respond to this call.

PRIESTHOOD as a SERVICE

If priesthood is a gift of God, it is therefore intended for the service of the people of God and to God himself. A lasting example of service is the Eucharistic which for the priest is a pastoral act par excellence, the act which proclaims that there is no greater love than that which leads to a man's giving his life for others. Eucharist is the supreme rite of priestly self-giving.

A priest is a pastor of flock that knows no distinction of persons, and so is led to accept a manner of life, which enables him to be wholly at the disposal of all. A priest should then be attentive to the needs, lives and destiny of his flock. He must know the real pastoral situation, the struggles, concerns, problems, dreams and aspirations of his flock. And this could only be possible in dealing, talking, relating, immersing and by being one with them. These are placed on the path of his pastoral care. They are children, adult and aged. They are the youth, married couples, families, and also those who are alone. They are the sick, the suffering and the dying, those who find themselves in difficulties of various kinds, those who are struggling against vices and sins and anybody else who needs any help. That he is one with them in their fight for their common cause. Reflect with them in their desire for transformation and development of their lives and their community. In other words, a priest must make himself available to anybody at anytime. he has to sacrifice his personal leisure and pleasure for the sake of his flock.

Another factor that must be considered for a priest to be effective in his pastoral care in knowing the culture of the people. In the Vicariate of Baguio-Benguet, culture has still strong influence on the lives of people. A priest then should know and understand the culture of the people so that he knows how to deal with it and make it as a good vehicle for evangelization. However, he must respect the culture practices of the people so that he could be accepted and loved by the people. Care should be taken in his dialogue with the culture of the people. And that they would consider him as one of them. Otherwise, they will reject and avoid him. They will not love him and consider him as enemy of their culture.

Hence, the priest is the shepherd animating, promoting, sustaining and deepening the community spirit among the people. He must be empowering, liberating and facilitating in the exercise of his pastoral charity. He has to handle people with much care. He is part of the community. He comes form the community, and set aside for the community.


SOURCE:

Author: Unknown
Ordination to the Priesthood of Rev. Elpidio Dicos Silug
St. Paul Parish
Sayangan, Paoay, Atok, Benguet
October 27, 1999
(Yearbook)

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