Thursday, September 3, 2009

Defining Priesthood After China

This is part 4 of my Chinese posts. This is also the last one. :)

My 7 weeks in China have given me a greater sense of what it means to be a priest.

First, to be a priest, is to take what you have been given and put it to use as best as you can. Some of the priests in Maryknoll run huge organizations that involve large amounts of revenue, huge staffs, and administration that would make your head roll. Others do research, study documents, translate, and spread information. Each finds a place where he can flourish. I do not believe I have met one Maryknoll priest that reminds me of another. They are all just very unique. But I think ultimately when we look at who we want as a priest, we want someone who is unique. We do not want a cookie cutter type priest but one who is creatively his own.

Second, to be a priest is to be a shepherd. But I have gotten a new version of what it means to be shepherd by observing a priest who really gets down at the level of the people and works with them where they are at. He delves not simply into spiritual life and conversion but academics, family, and food. He is wherever he needs to be to be shepherd. He knows what is going on in the lives of his sheep and he shares every part of his life with them. He eats with them, studies with them, spends time with them, and lives his life directed towards them. He provides what is needed. Obviously how he shares his life with his people will be different depending on his ministry.


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