Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Love of Priesthood is Love for Church

In the comments thread of this post, there was a highlight of a post by Diogenes. Well, go read it first, then come back.

Diogenes critiques a priest who 'loves being a priest' but is unwilling to accept some Church teaching.

To me, this is a great source of schizophrenia, and I want to explain further what I mean when I say: "I love being a priest."

I love being a priest because I first love the Church, and I want to give my life in service to her, as the bride of Christ. My love for what I do as a priest is because it is a way that I am able to give my life for my bride, the Church; it is the way that I show my love for the Church; by dieing to self to live for her.

My love of being a priest is not narcissism, at least I hope not. It is not a love for power, prestige, honor. You can keep all that, it is fleeting and if you start to desire it, you will eventually sell your soul to keep it. I want to save my soul, not sell it.

I think a marriage analogy is never more fitting here. Ask a married man if he loves being a husband and father. If yes, why?

If it is for the 'privileges' of marriage: the act of marriage, a wife who will pick up after him, make him dinner, care for the children, wash and iron his clothes; how long will that marriage last? six months, maybe?

However, if he loves being a husband because it is the way that he expresses his love for his wife, it nourishes and enriches the relationship that he has with her, a relationship that is so strong and complete, that life erupts in many forms: children, alms giving, joy, friendships, etc. the husband's love of being a husband is sustained and nurtured because of his love for his wife, to whom he will give his very self because he knows that his path to salvation necessarily involves her path to salvation first and foremost; not to mention any children that come from their union.

I hope this makes sense, as I've been thinking on this the last few days since the article was published and there were comments that appeared on the Enquirer site about "It is impossible for an 18 year old man to forgo sex his entire life." On the surface, that comment is absolutely true. However, if he willingly forsakes sex becuase of his love for the Church and his willingness to give his life for the Church, then it is extremely possible; and not just possible, his life will flourish because of it.


Adoro said...

People who judge things in terms of whether there is sex involved or not is looking at it from the basest extreme. If we don't seek what is highest, we will automatically measure to the lowest.

Anonymous said...

Fr Kyle:

great post and beautiful way to explain the priesthood as marriage to the Bride of the Church
hence why only males should be married the bride (Church)

Gail F said...

there were comments that appeared on the Enquirer site about "It is impossible for an 18 year old man to forgo sex his entire life."

I don't understand that kind of thinking at all. It is NOT impossible. Where do people get the idea that everyone HAS to have sex? If you look back at the history of the Western world, it was normal for large numbers of people -- not just priests and religious -- to never marry, and for even more people to marry once and never remarry after the death of a spouse. Granted, not all of these people NEVER had sex, but the vast majority didn't have it often or many times. Yet they were normal human beings.


I'm not saying sex is bad (far from it), only that it's not necessary for human health, physical, mental, or emotional.