Monday, January 19, 2009

Why be a priest?

Fr. V at Adam's Ale has returned from a week's retreat by the Long Island Sound, also known as Trinity Retreat House, a retreat house just for priests run by Fr. Benedict Groeschel.

His mission upon his departure was to arrive at an answer to the question: "Why be a priest?"  He said it better than I could:

All this being said, C. K. asked me just before I left on retreat to post all the reasons to became a priest. There are so many answers one can give from the sublime, to the practical, to the silly. But on this retreat I think I narrowed it down to only one: Is this the life to which you are called? Is God calling you into this particular relationship with Him and His people?

I have shared with you before the sadness of the stories I have heard over the years. Men especially who said they should have never married and how they wish they would have taken their call to the priesthood more seriously. (The converse is also true.) I cringe when I hear of a parent who tries discourage their son or daughter from the priestly or religious life. What if that is what they are called to? Despite the intention a parent might have to save their child from something that they do not value, they may be setting them up for a life of discontent. And a vocational discontentment effects not only the person, but all those who surround the person: those nearest and dearest.

So, the best reason to become a priest? Because you are called to it. I know I would not change it for the world. I wonder if I have grown to love it so or if my disposition and joy are geared toward it. That is hard to tell. But forced to start all over again, I have no doubt but that I would make the same decision if the Church would have me again, for anything else would always be second choice for me.