Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Dating God can be a nightmare!

A couple of days ago, the incident of a group of priests being asked to leave the pub because the doorman assumed them to be members of a stag party, wearing clerical habit, hit the news and has since become quite a sensation.  However, what surprised me more than the event itself was the news article published in the Daily Mail a few days ago.  Now the Daily Mail is anything but serious news is known to everyone.  Most often it is sleaze and gossip.  But for it to run an article stating why these men chose to be priests was quite amazing and really stood out for me.  I only happened to by chance come upon the article for I rarely pick up this particular newspaper, except for the daily sudoku, crossword and scrabble.

Here are a few points that stood out for me, most significantly about the recruitment and formation of priests:
  • The expense of training a young man to be a priest is enormous and lengthy.  Is the person we have after ordination, really worth the expense and time and energy spent all along?  For the time, money and energy invested, what sort of person should this be?  What quality and mettle would this person be made of by the time of his ordination?  
  • These men are different but not totally ignorant of the world in which they live and work.  They are people totally immersed in its everyday life.  Now that includes movies, TV shows, popular celebrities, trending talks and videos, ... they may not be huge fans of any but they certainly know it all.  They are not ignorant 'saints' who live in some fantasy world.  They've seen the world - they continue to know the world.  
  • The influence of inspirational models ... (in the case of most of these priests, the life and death of John Paul II) it is enormous.  They may not be perpetual models of inspiration, but the trigger they offer in knowing more of Christ and the Church is sufficient enough to 'seduce' them for life. 
  • When scandal and mistakes of past haunt the present it is easy to become depressed or even totally avoid or even label the whole church as 'bad'.  The alternative, choose to become 'good'. 
  • All of these young men had great opportunities for a career in the world.  They did have high-paying jobs.  Yet they gave it up for they truly felt called for something other than career and money.  Now as priests earning a pittance compared to what they earlier earned, they have no regrets about the money.  The contentment is evident in what you have at hand.  
  • What we give up as priests and religious are essential elements of human nature.  But everyone makes sacrifices - even married people.  And are happy to do so.  So it is not what we give up that matters most, but with what attitude we give up what we sacrifice that counts. 
  • Liked the comment of one of the priests: We are dating God, building a relationship.  And God can be a nightmare! 

Read the whole article here.

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