Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bl. John Paul II and Future Priests

I've been following the Twitter feeds of the likes of Anna Arco, writer for the Catholic Herald, and Rocco Palmo, the writer of the blog, Whispers in the Loggia as they tweet about the vigil before John Paul II's beatification.  I am supremely excited.  For many of my generation, John Paul II was the pope, just like for many in New Orleans, Archbishop Philip Hannan, is the Archbishop.  His writing has had great effect on my life from the Theology of the Body, to Fides et Ratio, to Pastores Dabo Vobis, to Veritatis Splendor, to Love and Responsibility, to Redemptoris Missio.  All of these have been of that earth-shattering, weltenschauung changing variety, providing insights into the human person, the Christian life, and the priesthood that helped shape who I am today.  I look up to him first as a holy man and a holy priest.  He certainly influenced my discernment as he has many others and some might call me in the future, a JP II priest.

I stand now hoping that through his intercession many more men follow the call that has been placed on their hearts.  He was a preeminent priest, whose Christocentrism shined forth.  I speak this on the brink of a whole new life for me, being only three weeks from ordination to the transitional diaconate.  John Paul II looks out to me as a shining example as I reach the homestretch of my formation.

In his early priesthood, he devoted much time to the youth, guiding them, directing them, giving them the concepts by which to live a Christian life.  He went out with them, wasting time with them.  He continued to foster his tremendous intellect all during a time a persecution from the secular athiests of the Communist regime that led his country.  He went on to be a compassionate pastor and lover of the poor, who devoted his life to his flock.  He never tired of going out though, and brought the papacy in an evangelistic direction it hadn't seen in a long time.  He certainly turned to Peter and Paul for guidance on that.  He loved the Blessed Virgin Mary, his mother since an early age.  His priesthood was dedicated to her Son through her.

That is what kind of priest I wish to be: passionate about the catechesis and evangelization of the youth, while willing to continue expanding my intellect to the great mysteries of the faith and of nature.  We are also under a more subtle persecution in this country from the practical athiests, who persecute Christian to justify their own apathy.  I wish to be a compassionate pastor and lover of the poor who is tireless in working for both truth and justice, going out to proclaim the good news to the ends of the earth, or to wherever the Lord calls me, all done under the banner of Virgine Maria, our Mother and Protector.

Blessed John Paul II, we pray that through your intercession many more men enter into the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

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