Let us join the Holy Father in praying for these intentions during the month of June:
General Intention: That believers may recognize in the Eucharist the living presence of the Risen One who accompanies them in daily life.
Missionary Intention: That Christians in Europe may rediscover their true identity and participate with greater enthusiasm in the proclamation of the Gospel.
Father Brrent Maher is a good friend and amazing priest. His blog is http://philomenarocks.blogspot.com/. I had requested him to write a guest post on the vocation of the priesthood. He did an EXCELLENT job. Enjoy :)
For seven years I actively pursued the vocation of priesthood, spending six years in seminary and one year off in the middle discerning a possibly monastic vocation. I read endless about the priesthood and spoke with priests and brother seminarians about the future toward which I was moving. And yet, when ordination day came, I found myself lying on the floor of our cathedral crying uncontrollably, due in large part to my realizing that I was entering into something that was still infinitely more beautiful than I had been able to comprehend.
In the course of the past eleven months since my ordination, I have come to discover time and again the beauty of my vocation as a priest of Jesus Christ. After weeks of sitting in my holy hour staring at my now-consecrated hands and trying to grasp the reality that my words confect the Eucharist and forgive sins, I finally began to assimilate some of the mystery that had been affected within me. I think one of the beautiful things about the priestly vocation is that I am quickly drawn into the intimacy of the lives of others not because I’m Brent Maher but because I stand and act in the person of Jesus Christ. To be able to stand at the bed of one who is drawing nearer to that transition from earthly to heavenly life and open the gate of Heaven to them via the sacraments is incredible. To hold the Flesh of God in my hands and feed the people of God, my spiritual children, with that same Flesh is something that I think I will never fully comprehend. To hear the sins and have opened to me the wounds and pain of so many years within the Sacrament of Reconciliation and then to apply the healing salve of forgiveness and grace to the soul is something that brings a smile to my face more often than not. After hearing confessions for one, two or three hours, I am tired, but I come out more alive than before. These are the things that priestly ministry is about – glorifying God by the salvation of souls. In addition to these sacramental experiences I could easily add a large number of encounters with souls – Catholic and non-Catholic – where the movement of God is a tangible reality in the moment. All of these encounters show me over and over again the beauty of the priestly vocation: that it is precisely because it is not Brent Maher who is there for them, but Jesus Christ Himself, that these encounters take place. And as I walk away from them, I cannot help but cry out with joy in my soul that something miraculous has just taken place and I, unworthy though I am, was blessed to be the instrument.
It is in light of my own unworthiness to receive these incredible gifts that have been bestowed upon me at my ordination that I also realize the great need that I have of the prayers of others. I have often asked for the prayers of friends, brother priests, parishioners, and random people who ask me to pray for them. I never ask this lightly or simply as a nice spiritual ‘comeback’ when someone asks me to pray for them. It is a genuine plea. As St. Paul spoke of carrying this great treasure in clay vessels (2 Cor 4:7), I realize that it is truly by the prayers of others that I am held up in my ministry. I have been particularly edified by the presence of certain ‘spiritual mothers’ who throughout my priestly formation and now into my priestly ministry have so generously poured out prayers to heaven on my behalf. These souls are of such great benefit because they bring great consolation and love from God the Father with a kind word, a written note or a simple text message. In these things and in the gift of their prayers they indeed become spiritual mothers because it is by their prayer and selfless love that they participate in, and even become the means of, the fruitfulness of my ministry of the salvation of souls. As I continue in my ministry and look forward to the surge in vocations to priestly service in the Church, may we also see a surge in those holy women who will sustain us in that service by their prayer, love and example.