Posted January 8, 2015
Book: A Life of Daring Simplicity: Daily Meditations on the Priesthood
Editor: Michael A. Becker
Liturgical Press. Collegeville, Minnesota. 2014. Pp. 384
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
If priests want the people entrusted to their care to develop a meaningful spiritual life, they must provide a living example of what that is.
In A Life of Daring Simplicity: Daily Meditations on the Priesthood Michael Becker helps priests provide that example. Monsignor Becker has gathered a powerful collection of reflections drawn from an impressively wide array of great spiritual guides. Pope Saint John Paul II is well represented here and so are Karl Rahner and Pope Francis. We also hear from Catherine de Hueck Doherty and Adrian Von Speyr, Pedro Arrupe and Columba Marmion, and many more. Each passage challenges priests to reflect on their own vocation. Every page is filled with holy wisdom that will nourish priestly ministry and invite readers to embrace "a life of daring simplicity" --- words used by Pope Saint John XXIII to describe his own life.
Each day includes a Scripture verse, an inspiring insight on the priestly life, and a closing prayer or question to prompt deeper reflection.
An Excerpt from the book:
Esteeming the Priesthood
Whoever listens to you listens to me. (Lk. 10-16)
There are . . . situations which can never be sufficiently deplored where the Church herself suffers as a consequence of infidelity on the part of some of her ministers. Then it is the world which finds grounds for scandal and rejection. What is most helpful to the Church in such cases is not only a frank and complete acknowledgement of the weaknesses of her ministers, but also a joyful and renewed realization of the greatness of God's gift, embodied in the splendid example of generous pastors, religious afire with love for God and for souls, and insightful, patient spiritual guides.
Here the teaching and example of St. John Mary Vianney can serve as a significant point of reference for us all. The Cure of Ars was quite humble, yet as a priest he was conscious of being an immense gift to his people: "A good shepherd, a pastor after God's heart, is the greatest treasure which the good Lord can grant to a parish, and one of the most precious gifts of divine mercy." He spoke of the priesthood as if incapable of fathoming the grandeur of the gift and task entrusted to a human creature. . .
Explaining to his parishioners the importance of the Sacraments, he would say, "Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put Him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if this soul should happen to die [as a result of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest."
Table of Contents:
Daily Reflections from January to December