“What a waste! What a shame! You’d make such a good husband and father!”
These can often be the words that greet the man who expresses a desire to become a priest. But waste it is not, nor shame, and yes, those who would make good husbands and fathers will also make wonderful priests! It is awesome to think that Jesus, the Risen Lord, calls us, his priests, to lead his holy people in love, to nourish them with his word, to give them spiritual strength, support and guidance through preaching, and to strengthen them through the Sacraments. How is this possible? Could it be that you are also being called? Being in love with God is how it is possible. And if you experience a deep hunger for God, and a real love for his people, then you too may be called to live your life as a priest.
The Diocesan Priesthood is an incredible way to live our Christian life. In the midst of people’s lives we gather the community together to celebrate Christ’s presence. From baptisms to requiems, from heart attack to celebration, there with people, the priest gives and receives love, and grows ever closer to the Lord. It is a life filled with challenges, it is a life filled with graces. There are disappointments and the most unexpected surprises. You are trusted in a way that humbles your very being, and through joy and trial you come to trust in the Lord who never falters. It was Pope John Paul II who said that we are stewards of a treasure that is not our own, a treasure intended by God to be shared by all. Have you ever considered that this may be your call?
Father Patrick Bridgman is Parish Priest of Te Awa Kairangi Parish. He is also Liturgy Advisor for the Archdiocese of Wellington.