All a Priest Does, All a Priest Is
Have you ever stopped to consider all that a priest does?
I think we slip into the mentality that they are just "always there"...that what they provide is just "always there"...almost this attitude of we expect nothing less. Where is our profound gratitude? Think about it. Who brought you into the sacramental life of the Church through baptism? Who is there at the end of your life to prepare you for eternity through the last rites? Who tirelessly hears your confessions, offers Holy Mass, gives you a word of encouragement in the spiritual life, seeks your eternal welfare by preaching holy sermons?
Above all, our very life...the Blessed Sacrament...would never exist without the priest.
Do we think about what that costs them? What they gave up to become a priest? The sacrifices they make of their time and energy on a daily basis? The trials and temptations they go through in seeing the suffering Church go through her passion in these times. A priest's life is never his own...he spends himself for souls. He became a priest for you . . . for individual souls in the Mystical Body of Christ...to become a saint himself and to bring as many souls to Heaven with him. In short, the priest opens the doors to grace for us . . . and intercedes for us.
We should pray not simply generally for priests....but specifically. Consider praying for dying priests that they may receive the last rites. Pray for priests in Purgatory. Pray for confessors who spend long hours in dark confessional boxes. Pray for spiritual directors who have the responsibility of guiding souls. Pray for parish priests who are weighed down by many obligations due to priest shortages. Pray for religious priests that they be faithful to their vows. Pray for priests in mortal sin, who are human like we all are and may have betrayed their calling somewhere along the line. Pray for priests who are lonely or elderly and infirm. Pray for priests who are striving for holiness that they may persevere.
A priest is an "alter Christus" and therefore he is going to Calvary. Let us be like Our Lady and meet him on the way of the cross and express our gratitude for all the sacrifices he makes. Where would we be without our priests? For all that a priest is, there is no better image than the Crucified Christ.