LOS ANGELES, OCT. 4, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Church's real battlefield is the "secret landscape of man's spirit," and there, priests are invited to enter, with tact and compunction, counting on the grace of state that comes with ordination.
This was one of the observations offered Monday by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, at a meeting with priests of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
That city's Archbishop José Gómez invited the cardinal to participate in an annual conference for Hispanic priests serving in the United States.
The cardinal's poetic address offered a profile of the priest of the 21st century.
"It is right that the priest insert himself in the ordinary life of men, but he must not yield to the conformisms and compromises of society," he said.
The priest "is not like 'others.' What people expect from him is, in fact, that he not be 'like others.'"
Cardinal Piacenza said a priest "will not hesitate to give his life, either in a brief but intense period of generous dedication without limits, or in a daily, long donation in the drop-by-drop progression of humble gestures of service to his people, tending always to the defense and formation of human greatness and of the Christian growth of each of the faithful and of the whole of his people."
"A priest must be simultaneously little and great, noble in spirit as a king, simple and natural as a peasant," the Vatican official continued. "A hero in overcoming himself, sovereign of his desires, a servant of the little ones and weak ones; who is not humbled in face of the powerful, but who bends down to the poor and the little ones, a disciple of his Lord and head of his flock."
He added, "No more precious gift can be given to a community than a priest according to the heart of Christ."
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