The Pope ended up on my desk again this morning. This time he had something to say about priests:
"The priest must be a believer, one who converses with God. If this is not the case, then all his activities are futile. The most important thing a priest can do for people is first of all being what he is: a believer....When people sense that one is there who believes, who lives with God and from God, hope becomes a reality for them as well." ("Benedictus" p. 130)
This entry made me think about our current parish priest, or by his official title, our parochial administrator. What a blessing we have in our priest. He is young, energetic and he speaks the truth with clarity, humility and love. We all look forward to going to "Fr. A's house" as my youngest son calls it. Every homily is like a mini-retreat. How blessed we are to have priests like him. It underscores how important it is for the priest to have a prayer life so that they can speak the truth with love, and how important it is for us to pray for them so that they can keep it going.
I also got to thinking about how lucky my children are to be exposed to such a fun-loving, yet holy man. When I was growing up I was lucky I knew what our priest's name was, let alone talk to him after mass. I can never recall having even a casual conversational relationship with a priest while I was growing up. Since I went to a public school, I don't think I ever saw too many nuns, either. When it came time to think about adulthood, discerning my vocation were words I never knew. How about, "Where will I find a husband? Gee, college sounds like a good place to try!"
I feel very blessed that we have come far enough in our faith to realize the importance of our priests. How exciting it is to see my kids get excited that Fr. A is coming over for dinner, or to look forward to seeing other priests and sisters that they know. What an encouragement it is to hear them and other youth praying to discern their futures and not just leaving it all up to "chance", but up to God. I have to believe that this intimate exposure and friendship with priests and sisters will form their future in a way that I never knew. Let us pray that God will continue to send us many holy priests and religious so that our children can continue to grow up under their positive influence.