What do you even do as a priest?

That question is sometimes asked with the cynicism of someone afraid to know the answer. The question is not about Adoration and Confessions and Masses and whatever of other sacraments. The question isn’t about meetings, opening the mail, checking phone messages. All of that is dismissed as unimportant.

The question about what a priest does refers to “the rest of the time”, which is, in this logic, dismissed as even more surreally ridiculously unimportant than all the rest. Visiting the sick and shut-ins, those in the emergency rooms and ICUs and hospital rooms and nursing homes and rehabs just doesn’t count, you know, for the reason that all of that is not at all anything that they themselves would ever be caught dead doing. Not their scene.

The question is actually addressed to Jesus, to dismiss Him, using the priest as an excuse to vent. It’s a teaching moment, as is said. The teaching, however, is often in the form of just taking the rubbish in silence. The eloquence of that silence speaks through the years, and may be the one thing that will bring the cynic to call upon Jesus, even if only at the very moment of death.

It’s a good thing to be smashed to one’s knees in reverence before the irony of what’s happening. The very Word of our Heavenly Father is silent, and then silenced in death.

1 Comment

Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood

One response to “What do you even do as a priest?

  1. sanfelipe007

    “The question is actually addressed to Jesus, to dismiss Him, using the priest as an excuse to vent. ”
    What an insight! Countless are the times that I have been asked “what do priests even do?” Now I have a better idea from where the question comes and to whom it is really addressed.

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