“I remind you to kindle the gift of God that is within you.” (2 Tim. 1:6)
The quotation above is the title of Chapter six of “Pastores Dabo Vobis” about the ongoing formation of priests. However, it is as relevant to the seminarian and the person who may be considering a vocation to the Diocesan Priesthood. The gifts that we have all received are at the heartbeat of our life. They offer a pulse to our life of faith. The heartbeat for the life of any priest, Diocesan or religious is fundamental his relationship with God and his life of prayer. Priesthood is ongoing process. We must always have the capacity to have an openness to God. The Priest is a man of communion with as a basic orientation to be a man of God in order to be a man for others. No priest can ever see himself as the finished product. Priesthood is not something that is bought off the shelves of a high street supermarket. It is, however, a life lived in and through the presence of God. The Diocesan Priest lives his life in the realm of God. Those gifts may be academic, pastoral or spiritual but we must never allow ourselves to be convinced that we are self-sufficient, never in the need of additional support or encouragement. Those gifts, that we all have are for the good of the Church, and therefore to the People of God whom we are asked to serve. Service and sacrifice are part of the life of the Priest. The priest has to be a man of prayer centre on the Eucharist which should be at the heart of his ministry and his life of prayer. At the same time, he must be able to articulate his faith, preach in a credible and convincing fashion and be willing to engage in debate and study so he too shares in the ongoing mission and evangelisation of the world. Diocesan Priesthood is both gift and task and we should not underestimate the power of God to continually rekindle the flame of faith in our lives for the sake of the message of the Gospel which so urgently in our own land needs credible, competent and authentic men of faith to draw people into the mystery of Eucharist because with the Eucharist, the source and summit of our Christian life, we cannot live.
Rev. Paul Milarvie