Posted by: Christine | May 19, 2010

Year of the Priest – JPII Style

A look at Pope John Paul II”s reflection on his vocation after 50 years as a Priest: “Gift & Mystery”
First, he recounts how his call to the Priesthood developed in spite of, and in response to, the oppression of Nazis and Communists in 20th century Poland.  He tells how all of his different jobs and avvocations, from manual laborer to playwright, all led him to the path that culminated in becoming the Bishop of Rome.
The Pope describes why he was drawn to studying language at university:
“The word, before it is ever spoken on the stage, is already present in human history as a fundamental dimension of man’s spiritual experience.  Ultimately, the mystery of language brings us back to the inscrutable mystery of God himself.  As I came to appreciate the power of the word in my literary and linguistic studies, I inevitably drew closer to the mystery of the Word” (Chapter I).
Additionally, he notes the importance of openness to other disciplines of study, in addition to theology and philosophy:
“these [other disciplines] are likewise capable of attaining the truth from different perspectives.  The splendor of the truth – Veritatis Splendor – constantly needs to accompany them, enabling people to meet, to exchange ideas, and to enrich one another” (Chapter IX).
Later in the book, the Pope goes on to explain some of the beauty, mystery, and eternal importance of the priesthood.  He reminds our priestly brothers that
“the real secret is always the priest’s holiness of life, which finds expression in prayer and meditation, in a spirit of sacrifice and in missionary zeal” (Chapter IX).
Sounds tough?  That’s why we NEED to pray for our priests; their answer to the call to holiness is essential to Spirit-filled pastoral life and community.
Pope John Paul II exhorts priests to “possess and pass on that ‘knowledge of God’ which is…a personal and living experience of the Mystery…spoken of by the Gospel of Saint John in the great priestly prayer: ‘This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’ (17:3)“. (Chapter IX)

Let us celebrate the Year of the Priest by developing a devotion to prayer for our fathers in Christ, and for all religious, with the help of our Blessed Mother.

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