Melchizedek Project Discernment Groups
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A Priest is a man of Prayer
The priest is first and foremost a man of prayer. The priest lives ‘in persona Christi’ so his most important prayer is to re-present the sacrifice of Jesus during Holy Mass. His parish relies on him to offer a sacrifice “holy and acceptable to God.” Throughout the week, too, at parish meetings and community functions, he is often asked: “Father, will you lead us in prayer?” He is seen as a man who knows how to speak with God.
A priest spends each day in personal prayer through the Liturgy of the Hours and time in private meditation before the Blessed Sacrament. His private prayer is essential, for he must know Him of whom he speaks, teaches and preaches; he must come to have an intimate relationship with Christ. The priest becomes ‘another Christ’ for his people.
A Priest is a preacher of the Word
Since the beginning of Christianity, people have come to Jesus through the preaching of the Word. Today, this remains a primary ministry of a priest. Because the majority of Catholics encounter the faith and receive their inspiration to practice it from the preaching of their parish priest, men who can articulate their knowledge and excitement about their Faith are a great treasure to the Church. A priest’s duty, then, is to teach his people how Christ’s life is relevant to their own. He answers the question, “How can I live out my faith today?”
“The Church faces a particularly difficult task in her efforts to preach the word of God in all cultures in which the faithful are constantly challenged by consumerism and a pleasure-seeking mentality.” (Pope St. John Paul II)
A Priest is a Servant
A priest is not a priest for himself. The ordained priest shares in the mission of Jesus as Priest, Prophet and King. As priest, he prays and celebrates the Eucharist. As prophet, he preaches and teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and as king, he serves others.
At the Last Supper, Jesus gave the Eucharistic mandate to His apostles, “Do this in memory of me,” but not before the Lord had knelt down and washed their feet. Jesus said, “What I have done for you, you must do for one another.”
A priest must be a servant to God’s people. He brings the love and strength of Christ into the parish, the school, the hospital room, the prison, the ghetto…wherever God’s people are and especially wherever they suffer, the priest is there.
Who is called?
God has called men of just about every personality to be priests, from fiery spirits like St. Peter and St. Paul to quiet men like St. John and St. Francis of Assisi. He has called fishermen, scholars, farmers, writers, noblemen, commoners, doctors, lawyers, slaves, soldiers, and tax collectors. We have seminarians who joined our program right after high school and others who were in IT support and chemical engineering. You name the background; God has called priests from it to serve him.