I am privileged to know many priests and can certainly testify that there is no cookie-cutter from which they are formed. And yet, priests hold some experiences in common, not all of them edifying.
The public life of priests, for example, is not a walk in the park.
Priests were once honoured, as if by obedience to the fourth commandment. Not so much now.
Speaking to one priest recently, he pointed to his roman collar and said to me that it may as well be a target painted on his back. He still bravely wears priestly garb in public, but it’s getting harder.
A bishop I know has been spat upon while walking down the street and is regularly verbally abused in public.
It is a punishment meted out to the many for the crimes of the few.
Ironically, priests have always taken on the temporal punishment for the sins of others, and not simply absolved them.
Have you ever wondered whether the three Hail Mary prayers you are asked to say as penance during Confession doesn’t seem like it’s quite enough?
It often isn’t.
But it is commonplace for priests to do penance for penitents who come to them for forgiveness and peace. Not many people know that because priests don’t generally mention it.
The Priest’s Job
Recently, I heard a priest addressing a large audience composed almost entirely of priests on the topic of the sacrament of Penance.
He began his presentation, saying, “Sin is our (priests’) business.”
“Our job,” to lightly paraphrase, “is to reconcile sinners to God.”
It fills me with the greatest pride to have been in a room of priests who understood their vocation so precisely and correctly.
I hope you are praying the novena to St John Vianney for the intentions of priests in which so many faithful Catholics are presently doing with the Parousia team, right now, these 9 days!
Sunday 4th August is Support Your Priest Sunday.
It is around this time that priests gather, often around their bishop, to celebrate their priestly vocation and commemorate jubilees of ordination.
Let us not miss this opportunity to demonstrate our love and support for those who, at considerable sacrifice, are there for us when life throws a curve ball.
The credibility of the Church may be at a low-point, but it will be courageous and holy priests who will rebuild her.
Let us stand with, and support, our priests.
Watch this video with today’s author, Ian Smith, discussing this important prayer campaign for our priests.