Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Challenges and the Call

The importance of and challenges confronting ordained ministers are significant. As I prepare to be ordained, I am---to the extent that it is possible---mindful of both. Certainly there is both a Scriptural as well as a doctrinal framework which highlights the important role of clergy. Being vehicles through which the sacraments are realized surely lies at the core of the role. Yet, we know that preaching, counseling, and, yes, administering (dare I say meetings?) are also responsibilities which take up a great deal of time for priests.

At the same time, the challenges which confront not only Roman Catholic clergy but also ministers of all denominations are many. Prevailing social norms and attitudes (secularization, materialism, etc.) often means that priests, like their parishioners, stand as countercultural witnesses to contemporary ways of thinking and living. Scandal which has not only confronted Catholic clergy but again other ministers has created an environment in which respect can not be assumed but rather represents an element requiring continuous nurturing. And, yes, there are also the demands of time and energy which are placed upon clergy.

So, with these and so many other challenges, “why become a priest?” some might ask. For me, the answer is complex and not easily reducible to a blog entry. However, my own response is one which reflects a response to God’s call, truly a reality which has grown during my formation as a seminarian. My “yes” to priesthood also involves a prayerful reflection of the gifts (and limitations) which I bring to ordained ministry. At this point in my life (and I am a bit older than many new priests-to-be), I cannot imagine any other path which gives me a sense of greater excitement and potential fulfillment than priesthood.

There are many unknowns and intangibles which are associated with this whole process of persisting to and through ordination. Ultimately, I believe, it is a matter of trust: in the affirmations received from those around me and, most especially, in our God whose love surpasses all of our understanding. I hope to see many of you, faithful readers of this blog, at my ordination on February 2 (11am at Holy Trinity).

Deacon Steven
Our deepest thanks to Deacon Steven for his contributions to this blog and our prayers and best wishes on his upcoming Ordination. 

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