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.

The Good Samaritan, painting by Aime Morot Le Bon

The Good Samaritan, painting by Aime Morot Le Bon

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.