What does it take to be a “good” priest?
Sometimes it seems a moving target for me. It has been 11 years, and when I think I have it, well, something happens, and it changes. Yet, I think the failure for me has been too much emphasis on the function and not the being.
The parable of the Good Samaritan is a great revelation of this.
It is too easy for me to fall into the trap of defining my “role” as priest. It is easy, because there is a degree of tangibility to roles. I can say “I did this.” or I did that.” and I can prove to others what I have accomplished. Yet in the end, there always has to be more.
This really requires for me a change of heart and thinking, and herein is why being Catholic is great and radical. This world seems to run on proof of self and proof for others. I feel I must prove myself to be secure in myself.
St. Paul writes of that trap. It becomes a matter of following the law and its precepts, but then where is God? In the end, we fall into the trap of excluding God altogether.
Rather, when I begin with God’s radical love for me and for all; then there is no proof needed. I don’t have to prove myself to nobody else, and nobody else ought to prove themselves to me. The Good that I do comes from a response to God’ s love. The Good that I do comes from the inner goodness that is present. That good can take on radical form, that is not reflected in a 9-5 job..but in a giving of self to and for others.
Scary for me. This radical giving of self…all those little voices within me keep on calling me back from that edge. So in a sense, I keep myself from Being the good priest, and I merely function as the good priest.
Again, the Good Samaritan Parable represents a radical call!
A radical call that I wrestle with.