By FATHER JIM
Talking about vocations, we must consider a call to the Holy Priesthood within the Catholic community.
To me, the priest should be, by nature, a happy person because the task is to announce the “Good News” of the gospel, church and faith.
To try to be optimistic, happy and hospitable rather than always serious, somber or just judgmental is sometimes difficult but always brings good and truly blessed results in the life of a parish and in the personal life of the ordained priest.
The vocation is to reach out and refresh people who have grown weary, frustrated or indifferent to what the Good Lord is calling them to, their own vocation as Christian and Catholic and lively member of the faith community — spelled parish.
I submit that a priest is a person who chooses to seek and use the gifts of leadership, understanding, compassion, wisdom and a bit of humor in order to serve and to build up the people of God. Today, the respect must be earned; it’s not automatically given anymore. We’ve seen clearly that the feet of the priest are made of clay just like everyone else.
One insight I would share is what St. Paul said, the priest is called to be “like” a fool for the sake of Christ. The world would consider as “foolish” some of the things the modern-day priest must do to attract people to the sacraments and the things of heaven.
To be flexible and creative are necessary tools of the trade, as the questions on the clown application for the Ringling Brothers clown college state: “How do you face a new day? How do you adapt to strangers? How do you deal with unusual situations?”
Our good and Catholic people these days are afraid to talk about being a priest to younger persons. It is a shame. A life of satisfaction, joy and many blessings is found in this vocation, though it is challenging in a very non-sacred society.
In the poetic words of an old priest: “To live in the midst of the world without wishing to be ruled by its pleasures, to be a member of each family yet belonging to none, to share sufferings and secrets, to heal and bring pardon and peace to God’s people, to have a heart of fire for charity, to bless always. Oh, what a glorious life.”