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7 Reasons To Be a Priest
NCR ^ | January 13-17, 2008 | Editors

Posted on 01/11/2008 9:42:31 AM PST by NYer

It’s Vocations Awareness Week Jan 13-19, and there is a lot of news on the vocations front. But the best news is old news: The seven sacraments are the original, and best, seven reasons to be a priest. But here are seven that incorporate recent news headlines about the priesthood.

First: The World Needs Heroes

That’s the title of NYPriest.com’s new movie ad, and it makes the essential point. God has shown his love and respect for human beings by taking an incredible risk, putting the very future of his project of redemption into our hands. He has arranged things such that the graces he intends for mankind reach us primarily through the seven sacraments. If men will step up and accept the responsibility to be the channel of these graces, then the risk will pay off, with eternal rewards. If they don’t, it simply won’t.

Second: To Make Christ Present to More People.

Before he ascended into heaven, Christ said, “Behold, I am with you until the end of time.” He didn’t mean he would be with us “in spirit” or in our “thoughts and prayers.” He meant he would be with us for real, in his body, blood soul and divinity.

Christ fulfilled his promise in an astonishing way: by being present in the Eucharist. He will always be present in the sacrament somewhere in the world.

The Vatican’s clergy point-man, Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, asked in January for “dioceses, parishes, rectories, chapels, monasteries, convents and seminaries” to institute perpetual adoration. The more priests we have, the more people Christ can be present to. Christ’s presence increases exponentially with new priests.

Third: To Forgive Sins.

Confession has been in the news a lot recently, with mainstream news articles explaining it, wondering at its disappearance and pointing out where it is being renewed. It’s no wonder. Christ taught about the true value of human beings when he said, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” In confession, a priest gives the greatest gift possible, worth more than all the riches in the world: He restores penitents’ souls.

Christ instituted many sacraments throughout his life, but only one after his resurrection. That was the sacrament of confession, when he breathed on the Apostles and told them, “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven.”

Fourth: To Be a Living Icon of Christ.

The Vatican call for perpetual adoration is a call “to make amends before God for the evil that has been done and hail once more the dignity of the victims” who suffered from the “moral and sexual conduct of a very small part of the clergy.”

Perpetual adoration won’t just atone for the small percentage of guilty clergy — it will help the innocent majority become more holy.

That’s a necessity. Human beings respond to other human beings. Jesus Christ was not just a teacher, and he wasn’t just an instrument of salvation. He was a man with a face. People can experience Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and his forgiveness in confession, but the human heart still needs to see a man behaving in a Christlike way to fully understand Christ’s message. We need more priests to do this for the Church.

Fifth: To Be Like Mary.

There were 48 new Legionary priests ordained in Rome at Christmastime. Pope Benedict XVI said, “I wish to direct a special greeting to the community of the Legionaries of Christ who come from various countries, especially the new priests and the representatives of Regnum Christi. … Like Mary, may you know how to keep, ponder and follow the Word that became flesh in Bethlehem, and enthusiastically spread his message of salvation.”

It may seem odd, calling on an all-male priesthood to be like Mary, but Mary is the perfect model for any Christian — and especially a priest. She brought Christ into the world and, from the wedding feast at Cana to Pentecost, was at the center of efforts to introduce him to the world. Priests uniquely imitate her in the Mass.

Sixth: To Preach and Teach.

Priests have at the same time the easiest and most challenging teaching job in the world. What they have to teach is Christ — God himself who united himself with humanity in order to show us how to live. The Gospel contains unique, powerful answers to all our yearnings, problems and desires.

A preacher who immerses himself in Christ’s life will be a profound and wise teacher just by saying the simple and true things the Church teaches. But it’s a challenging task, also, precisely because of its simplicity.

Seventh: To Expand Your Family.

The Hartford Courant newspaper recently interviewed Father Joseph Looney about the Fraternity of Priests, an organization to address loneliness.

In Mark 10:29-30, Jesus gives the apostles a novel reason to follow him, leaving everything, and everyone: “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”

Christ doesn’t promise riches, and he doesn’t promise a “happily ever after” ending. But what he does promise, he delivers — priests have many homes, and many more family members than a layperson could hope to have. They also have a fraternal relationship with other priests, if they seek it out.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: priesthood
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1 posted on 01/11/2008 9:42:33 AM PST by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Continued prayers for vocations.


2 posted on 01/11/2008 9:44:00 AM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer
Good article! Christ instituted many sacraments throughout his life, but only one after his resurrection. That was the sacrament of confession, when he breathed on the Apostles and told them, “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven.”

I hadn't thought of this. I'll have to mention it when I cover the Sacraments with my Sunday School class.

3 posted on 01/11/2008 9:53:07 AM PST by Tax-chick ("Go ahead and water the lawn - my give-a-damn's busted.")
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To: NYer

Doesn’t God already know who’s going to join the clergy and who’s not?


4 posted on 01/11/2008 10:02:05 AM PST by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: NYer
AND .....

The Retirement Plan is out of this world!

5 posted on 01/11/2008 10:11:15 AM PST by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: stuartcr

Maybe He knows that the prayers of the faithful are among the tools He will use to call them into the clergy ...


6 posted on 01/11/2008 10:22:17 AM PST by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: stuartcr
Ein sof.

"If I knew God I'd be Him."

I suspect He knows, but we all, being mortal, must yet listen for that "still small voice".

7 posted on 01/11/2008 10:57:15 AM PST by onedoug
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To: NYer
Fifth: To Be Like Mary.

Mary was female and, thus, would never have been able to be a priest.

8 posted on 01/11/2008 10:57:53 AM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Mad Dawg

Who knows for sure? Maybe it’s just pre-destined for them to become clergy?


9 posted on 01/11/2008 11:12:27 AM PST by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: onedoug

If He knows, then it must be just a matter of time for it to happen.


10 posted on 01/11/2008 11:13:45 AM PST by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: stuartcr

God created time.


11 posted on 01/11/2008 11:26:15 AM PST by onedoug
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To: NYer

And dozens of reasons not to become a priest.


12 posted on 01/11/2008 11:29:34 AM PST by Kevmo (Duncan Hunter won't "let some arrogant corporate media executive decide whether this campaign's over)
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To: MEGoody
"Mary was female and, thus, would never have been able to be a priest."

This is true; yt all of us are called to be Mary-like: the listen with all humility and openness and availability to God; to "hear the Word and keep it," to carry Christrand bring Him forth for the salvation of the world.

It's part of the universalcall to holiness, becdause the really important and really interesting people in Catholicism are not the priests, nor the popes, but the Saints.

And look: if the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the Pope, which of the two would drop to their knees?

13 posted on 01/11/2008 11:38:28 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("Beauty demands as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness," Hans Urs von Balthasar)
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To: onedoug

Along with all else.


14 posted on 01/11/2008 12:37:59 PM PST by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: stuartcr; Mad Dawg
Maybe it’s just pre-destined for them to become clergy?

God imbued man with free will. If the invitation is served, it is up to the recipient to accept or refuse.

15 posted on 01/11/2008 4:19:03 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: stuartcr
Doesn’t God already know who’s going to join the clergy and who’s not?

As Catholics we believe that God gives us the gift of free will. From one moment to the next, we make choices that determine our destiny.

16 posted on 01/11/2008 6:23:40 PM PST by Barnacle ("We need to move away from the Kennedy wing of the Republican party. Duncan Hunter)
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To: NYer; stuartcr
I guess I was saying that even if we're wrong about that, and the predestination gang is right, prayers seem to be something God wants and even something He uses in working His will.

And besides, bottom line, prayer is a means which God seems to use to bring us into accord with His will.

17 posted on 01/11/2008 6:28:35 PM PST by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: stuartcr
Doesn’t God already know who’s going to join the clergy and who’s not?

Of course, since He's omniscient; He knows who is going to respond to His call and who is going to reject it. Out of His great love for us, He gives us free will to respond or not.

18 posted on 01/11/2008 6:38:37 PM PST by ducdriver ("Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance." GKC)
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To: Kevmo
And dozens of reasons not to become a priest.

I can give you a thousand earthly reasons.

19 posted on 01/11/2008 7:17:17 PM PST by Barnacle ("We need to move away from the Kennedy wing of the Republican party. Duncan Hunter)
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To: NYer

I believe that God knows what we are going to do.


20 posted on 01/11/2008 7:30:05 PM PST by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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