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Confessions of a Catholic priest (general)

posted by bibleprobe(R) Homepage, Mass., 11.16.2014

Confessions of a Catholic priest
By James Martin

Being a priest is not a perfect life -- obviously. What life is? Celibacy is not the easiest path. Overall, it works for me. As I see it, it means loving many people deeply and freely. (Not that others can't love freely and deeply, but this is the way I do it.)

People are longing for a word of comfort, and I'm grateful to remind them of the hope of eternal life.
Father James Martin

But living without physical intimacy can be difficult. And being a priest in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis was profoundly demoralizing. But no life is perfect -- married, or single or divorced. There are joys and hopes, and griefs and struggles, in each life.

Being a Jesuit priest works for me. As the Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote about his own ordination, it feels like the "one great secret for which I was born."

I've not even mentioned the other joys of priesthood -- celebrating Mass, preaching about the Gospel, and yes, even anointing the sick. Each of these moments brings me into a relationship not only with God, but with my fellow human beings in a deeper way.

In these moments I often think of what Mary's cousin Elizabeth says in the Gospel of Luke. Mary has just learned that she is pregnant with Jesus, and she rushes to tell her cousin.

"And why has this happened to me," Elizabeth says, "that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"

In other words, "Who am I that this should happen to me?"

I think about that often as a priest. Who am I that I should be invited into people's lives like this? All I know is this: it is a blessing I cannot fully comprehend or explain.



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