Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The first instigators of an authentic renewal

The first promoters of discipleship and mission are those who have been called “to be with Jesus and to be sent out to preach” (cf. Mk 3:14), that is, the priests. They must receive preferential attention and paternal care from their Bishops, because they are the first instigators of an authentic renewal of Christian life among the People of God. I would like to address them a word of paternal affection, hoping that “the Lord will be their portion and cup” (cf. Ps 16:5). If the priest has God as the foundation and centre of his life, he will experience the joy and the fruitfulness of his vocation. The priest must be above all a “man of God” (1 Tim 6:11) who knows God directly, who has a deep personal friendship with Jesus, who shares with others the same feelings that Christ has (cf. Phil 2:5). Only in this way will the priest be capable of leading men to God, incarnate in Jesus Christ, and of being the representative of his love. In order to accomplish his noble task, the priest must have a solid spiritual structure, and live all his life driven by faith, hope and charity. He must be like Jesus, a man who seeks through prayer, the face and the will of God, and he must be attentive to his cultural and intellectual preparation.

(Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI during the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, No 5, May 13, 2007.)