Posted May 22, 2006
The Priest as Shepherd, Not Careerist
Pope Benedict XVI
Origins, May 25, 2006. Vol. 36. Number 2
An Excerpt from Pope Benedict's Message
Priest must learn to give their lives, to serve. Thus, careerism is not the
correct path into the future, Pope Benedict XVI said May 7 when he ordained
15 priests in St. Peter's Basilica. Twelve of the new priests were from
Italy, with one each from Honduras, Israel and Poland. The priests will
serve in Rome. Pope Benedict described careerism as "the attempt to 'get
ahead,' to gain a position through the church: to make use of and not to
serve." "This is the image of a man who wants to make himself important, to
become a person of note through the priesthood; the image of someone who has
as his aim his own exaltation and not the humble service of Jesus Christ.
The Eucharist must become for us a school of life in which we learn to give
our lives. Daily 'I must learn to abandon myself, to keep myself available
for whatever he, the Lord, needs of me at ta given mment, even if other
things seem more appealing and more important to me: It means giving life,
not taking it. The priest is to be a shepherd. He gives his life for his
sheep, he knows them, and they know him, and he is at the service of unity.
The shepherd cannot be satisfied with knowing his sheep names and dates. His
way of knowing his sheep must always also be knowing with the heart.
Excerpts from the homily:
"This is the true way to rise; this is the true door. It is not the desire
to become 'someone' for oneself, but rather to exist for others, for Christ
and thus through him and with him to be there for the people he seeks, whom
he wants to lead on the path of life."
"However, it is only possible to do this properly if the Lord has opened our
hearts, if our knowing does not bind people to our own small, private self,
to our own small heart, but rather makes them aware of the heart of Jesus,
the heart of the Lord."