I wanted to do a little reflection from the Gospel of today: Matthew 1:29-39:
And immediately he left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her.And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them. That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him pursued him, and they found him and said to him, “Every one is searching for you.”And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
In the Gospel we see Christ displaying what the life of a priest is like. Many don’t see this. They go and look at the priest on Sunday, but that is when they think that his work ends. Now granted, Sunday Masses can be the busiest and most tiring part of a priest’s schedule. But the priest’s life is busy 24/7. Each day during the week, they celebrate Masses, funerals, anointings, they go on sick calls, visit the elderly of the Parish, answer calls, meet with people for spiritual direction or to solve problems, counseling, hear confessions, run schools, plus much more. Priest’s are on call 24/7 and unless they manage their schedule well, they can have problems with the load. One point that Christ calls attention to to those who are called to share in his priesthood is that they need to take time to go away and pray. all throughout the bible there are instances where Christ: “rose and went out to a lonely place and there he prayed.” Before Christ had his passion and death on the Cross he went to the Garden and prayed. And he prayed in abundance. so much that his “sweat became as drops of blood.”
This is a very important part of the life of a priest, in fact you could probably say that it is the most important part. If a priest doesn’t pray, then how does he expect his spiritual children to pray? If a priest doesn’t pray how does he find strength to keep up with his hectic schedule? If a priest doesn’t pray, lots can happen. and lots can go wrong.
Christ, through going out and praying, through taking time out of his very busy schedule to receive strength, to receive the will of his Father, to develop his relationship with his father, was able to die on a Cross all while carrying the weight of the world’s sin on his shoulders.
If Christ didn’t pray what would have happened? If a Priest doesn’t pray what would happen? If the people don’t pray, what difference will it make in their life? If the people don’t pray for their priests to remain strong and carry-on, what happens?
Prayer is the most important part of our relationship with God it would seem to me. Because of prayer we are able to have that direct link and bond with Christ. Both communal prayer, and also private prayer is strongly encouraged in the Seminary. Without it, we would not be able to discern truthfully what our vocation in life is. Prayer is an integral part of Christ’s life, the priest’s life, the religious’ life, a seminarian’s life. Shouldn’t it be an integral part of yours too?
Pray for Vocations to the Religious Life and the Priesthood. Without them, who will encourage us to pray?