Pontiff Calls God Audacious; Says Priesthood Is Proof

Closes Year for Priests With 15,000 Concelebrants at Mass

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 11, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The sea of white-vested priests who filled St. Peter’s Square this morning heard from Benedict XVI about the «radiance of the priesthood,» as the Pope proposed to them that the «true grandeur» concealed in holy orders is God’s audacity as he «considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead.»

The historical papal Mass on today’s feast of the Sacred Heart thus concluded the Year for Priests.

«The priest is not a mere office-holder, like those which every society needs in order to carry out certain functions,» the Holy Father told the 15,000 priests participating in the Mass. «Instead, he does something which no human being can do of his own power: In Christ’s name he speaks the words which absolve us of our sins and in this way he changes, starting with God, our entire life.»

God uses «us poor men,» the Bishop of Rome said, in order «to be, through us, present to all men and women.»

«This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings — who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead — this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word ‘priesthood,'» he proposed. «That God thinks that we are capable of this; that in this way he calls men to his service and thus from within binds himself to them: this is what we wanted to reflect upon and appreciate anew over the course of the past year.»

Call to youth

Benedict XVI suggested the Year for Priests was to «reawaken our joy at how close God is to us, and our gratitude for the fact that he entrusts himself to our infirmities.»

Priests and the whole Church wanted to use this year, the Pope said, to «make clear once again that we have to ask God for this vocation. We have to beg for workers for God’s harvest.»

This petition, he proposed, is itself God’s «own way of knocking on the hearts of young people who consider themselves able to do what God considers them able to do.»


The Bishop of Rome then offered a line-by-line reflection on the Psalm from the liturgy, the well-known verses of «The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.»

«God personally looks after me, after us, after all mankind,» the Pope reflected. «I am not abandoned, adrift in the universe and in a society which leaves me ever more lost and bewildered. God looks after me. He is not a distant God, for whom my life is worthless.»

«God knows me, he is concerned about me,» he continued. «This thought should make us truly joyful. Let us allow it to penetrate the depths of our being. Then let us also realize what it means: God wants us, as priests, in one tiny moment of history, to share his concern about people.»

As a shepherd, the Pontiff said, the Lord «shows us the right way to be human. He teaches us the art of being a person. What must I do in order not to fall, not to squander my life in meaninglessness? […] Living with Christ, following him — this means finding the right way, so that our lives can be meaningful and so that one day we might say: ‘Yes, it was good to have lived.'»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-29576?l=english

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