Friday, November 27, 2009

Priest Should Be Humble as Christ was Humble

The lay faithful together with the clergy and women and men religious, make up the one People of God and the Body of Christ.
Being "members" of the Church takes nothing away from the fact that each Christian as an individual is "unique and irrepeatable". On the contrary, this belonging guarantees and fosters the profound sense of that uniqueness and irrepeatability, in so far as these very qualities are the source of variety and richness for the whole Church. Therefore, God calls the individual in Jesus Christ, each one personally by name. In this sense, the Lord's words "You go into my vineyard too", directed to the Church as a whole, come specially addressed to each member individually.

Because of each member's unique and irrepeatable character, that is, one's identity and actions as a person, each individual is placed at the service of the growth of the ecclesial community while, at the same time, singularly receiving and sharing in the common richness of all the Church. This is the "Communion of Saints" which we profess in the Creed. The good of all becomes the good of each one and the good of each one becomes the good of all. "In the Holy Church", writes Saint Gregory the Great, "all are nourished by each one and each ones is nourished by all"( CHRISTIFIDELES LAICI)

As a member of the laity I would like to make some observations here. I want to preface my remarks by saying that I know many good priests. I have the utmost respect for the clergy, so what I am saying is and should be received in a true sense of charitable criticism. A priest is more than just a mediator between the universal truth of God and man in his fallen state. A priest is in "persona Christi," certainly while celebrating Mass, but also in everything he does. I do not always witness that humility, in fact there have been occasions where it has been missing altogether. Humility is a very difficult thing to master, and the secular world has no place for it, so perhaps the only way to develop it is through contemplation and prayer. A priest should be willing to do whatever it takes to model Christ's humility as much as we all should. In this the "Year of the Priest," it is my prayer that priests ask themselves, "Am I humble as Christ was humble?" "Do I view my priesthood as something beyond being a member of the body of Christ.?" We as Catholics, must respect, love and hold witness to the truth of the priesthood, but we must also guard against clericalism. I have recently witnessed this sort of institutionalized behavior and it is not what Christ preached.

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