My prayer is my work. I’m out there running three parishes, keeping the food pantry stocked, visiting people in three hospitals and going to a ton of meetings. And who do you think would do that if I sat fingering my beads all day? I’m a parish priest, and a parish priest gets it in gear and goes out there and gets it done, unlike Seminary rectors or USCCB bureaucrats!
And another thing, this obsession with sin is just not good for a resurrected people. If you liturgists would just bring back General Absolution, so many more people would come. Plus, we wouldn’t have to sit in that that little box all day listening to the neuroses of… And as far as me going to confession…I don’t have the time. And I’m too busy to commit mortal sin!
“There are some who think,” the saintly Pope wrote in his own hand, “and even declare openly, that the true measure of the merits of a priest is his dedication to the service of others; consequently, with an almost complete disregard for the cultivation of the virtues which lead to the personal sanctification of the priest, they assert that all his energies and fervor should be directed to the development and practice of what they call the active virtues. One can only be astonished by this gravely erroneous and pernicious teaching…
There is, indeed, only one thing that unites man to God, one thing that makes him pleasing to God and a not unworthy dispenser of his mercy; and that one thing is holiness of life and conduct. If this holiness, which is the true supereminent knowledge of Jesus Christ, is wanting in the priest, then everything is wanting. Without this, even the resources of profound learning, or exceptional competence in practical affairs, though they may bring some benefit to the Church or to individuals, are not infrequently the cause of deplorable damage to them.
...Prayer for the needs of the Church and the individual faithful is so important that serious thought should be given to reorganizing priestly and parish life to ensure that priests have time to devote to this essential task, individually and in common. Liturgical and personal prayer, not the tasks of management, must define the rhythms of a priests life, even in the busiest of parishes.
“As a searching investigator of the integrity of your own conduct, submit your life to a daily examination. Consider carefully what progress you have made or what ground you have lost . . . Strive to know yourself. . . Place all your faults before your eyes. Come face to face with yourself, as though you were another person, and then weep for your faults.”
It cannot be denied, and it is bitterly to be deplored, that not infrequently one finds priests who use the thunders of their eloquence to frighten others from sin, but seem to have no such fear for themselves and become hardened in their faults; a priest who exhorts and arouses others to wash away without delay the stains from their souls by due religious acts, is himself so sluggish in doing this that he delays even for months; he who knows how to pour the health-giving oil and wine into the wounds of others is himself content to lie wounded by the wayside, and lacks the prudence to call for the saving hand of a brother which is almost within his grasp. In the past and even today, in different places, what great evils have resulted from this, bringing dishonor to God and the Church, injuring the Christian flock and disgracing the priesthood!
Corruptio optimi pessima. "Sublime is the dignity of the priest, but great is his fall, if he is guilty of sin; let us rejoice for the high honor, but let us fear for them lest they fall; great is the joy that they have scaled the heights, but it is insignificant compared with the sorrow of their fall from on high."
Woe then to the priest who so far forgets himself that he abandons the practice of prayer, rejects the nourishment of spiritual reading and never turns his attention inwards upon himself to hear the accusing voice of conscience.
By good example was his business.
He had no thirst for pomp or ceremony,
Nor spiced his conscience and morality,
But Christ's own law, and His apostles' twelve
He taught, but first he followed it himself.
Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri Omnipotente, omnis honor et gloria, per saecula saeculorum. Amen.