Just as there are many ways to live out the Christian Vocation, so there are many ways to live out the Priestly Vocation. Not all priests ‘fit the same mould.’ But there are characteristics that we should expect to find in priestly life and for those who are thinking about priesthood it is good to reflect on them.
- Service. Jesus described His mission as to serve, not to be served. The priest must have a real desire to serve both God and the People of God. His concern for others will very often extend beyond the boundaries of his official responsibility. There are many ways of serving, but in all of them we serve Christ.
- The Sacraments. This is the most visible part of a priest’s life - saying Mass and celebrating the other Sacraments. It is also work which is very clearly at the very heart of the priest’s life since it is only the priest who can celebrate Mass, hear confessions and anoint the sick. This is why priests are essential not only for the health of the Church, but for its very life. Without the Mass, there would be no Church.
- Prayer. The Priest must have time for prayer in his life. This might seem obvious, but having many things to do can often leave little enough time for prayer, and priests have often experienced this difficulty. But our lives as Priests depend on our relationship with Christ and that relationship is kept alive above all through our time of prayer, and the time we can spend reading the Scripture. As in any profession it is good for a priest to read to keep up with new developments in thinking and teaching - but to read prayerfully.
- Priestly Life A newly ordained priest will serve as Assistant Priest in a Parish as he learns how to live out his calling, but most priests at the present time live on their own, which means the Priest should be a man who is happy with his own company. He also needs to develop his friendship with priests nearby for he will find great support there. He also needs to keep up friendships that he has made before seminary. The priestly life is not a sudden cut-off point beginning a new life separate from all that has gone before.
- Recreation A priest is still a human being. St Benedict knew that for a healthy life style it was necessary to have prayer, work and leisure. So it is good for a priest to have interests in addition to his work and ministry as priest, in order to help him relax.