Monday, 30 November 2009

An Unexpected Model for Priests

Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, the secretary for the Congregation for Clergy, used Rambo as an analogy for the priestly life in an interview about the Year of the Priest. Zenit reports:
ROME, NOV. 29, 2009 - A priest's soul should have "interior muscle" comparable to the physical strength of Rambo, which is nourished with "prayer, the interior life and true motivation," says the secretary for the Congregation for Clergy.
But he is also quick to warn us that the priesthood is not about pelagian self-enhancement, becoming holy through impossible feats of daring. He points to the example of the Cure d'Ars, who did only what was needed in sanctifying his people:
"What extraordinary thing did he do? Nothing. He centered everything in his vocation: pastoral works, the Eucharist and Confession."
The 65-year-old prelate noted that St. John Mary Vianney did "not have very particular gifts of intelligence," but he "was an exceptional pastor."
The archbishop added that the saint didn't "get a degree in pastoral care," and that the work of a priest is learned "with the love of God."
I can't say I've ever watched the Rambo films, and am not inclined to, but I think the Archbishop's point is a good one, that we don't automatically become holy just by being in a seminary or a parish, but that we have to be open to the grace of God changing us, and we can only do that by living a life of regular prayer and reflection. To further the Rambo analogy, he only got as fit as he is by picking up the dumbell, rather than thinking about picking it up... we seminarians need to pick up our Bible and our breviary!

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