Priests must be men of joy: Pope Francis

ROME, Jan 31 : A priest must be able to see the people around him as his children, as brothers and sisters, and must be willing to risk everything for them out of love, Pope Francis said in his morning homily.

In fact, the best example of this kind of priest is St. John Bosco, the founder of the Salesian order, he said Jan. 31, the saint’s feast day.

The 19th-century Italian saint, who saw so much poverty and so many children living on the street, was able to see the world around him with the eyes of “a man who is a brother and also a father and said, ‘No, things cannot go on this way!’” so sought to make things better, the pope said in his homily during morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

But, the pope said, this priest also had “the courage to see with the eyes of God and go to God and say, ‘Let me see here. This is an injustice. … You created these people for (a life of) fullness and they are in the midst of a real tragedy.’”

A priest needs to have both ways of seeing things – being moved by tragedy on a purely human level, yet inspired by the divine “to have the courage to go there and fight,” the pope said. “A priest is someone who fights with God.”

St. John Bosco did not approach the poor and troubled kids “just with the catechism and the crucifix,” he said. If he had started with doctrine, telling the kids, “‘Do this…’ the young people would have said, ‘Yeah, right. See you later.’”

Instead, St. John Bosco approached them with youthful vitality, letting them play, bringing them together as a group, like brothers, listening to them, crying with them, leading them forward and always being down-to-earth, he said.

But there is always the risk a priest may only see things from a human point of view and “nothing divine” or, the alternative “too divine and nothing human,” he said.

“But if we don’t take a risk we will do nothing in life,” he added. Those risks include being persecuted, gossiped about, criticized, for example, that “this priest is there on the street” with ill-mannered kids who “break the glass of my window” with their soccer ball.

St. John Bosco received from God the great heart “of a father and a teacher,” said Pope Francis, who briefly attended a Salesian school in Argentina.

The sign of a good priest, who knows how to see things with the eyes of God and a human being, is joy, and St. John Bosco was a great “master of joy,” he said.




source: Crux

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4 thoughts on “Priests must be men of joy: Pope Francis

  1. There is a difference between JOY and ENJOY.

    1) Real JOY comes from “within” when we live the basic human values (the Kingdom values that Jesus preached) and rise above the religiosity and reach the stage of spirituality. It is only those persons who can really experience the JOY. The sages and saints were persons of JOY.

    2) The second one – ENJOY – comes from outside. I mean that we enjoy the use of materials – e.g. eating tasty food, wearing costly clothes, watching movies, smoking, drinking alcohol, using modern/latest vehicles, living in luxury homes etc. All these are connected to “physical pleasure”.

    To which category the priests belong to? Obviously, most of them (there are some exceptions) fall into the second category. In the name of priesthood and under the coverage of priestly life, they ENJOY everything under the sun. Is there anything they are deprived of? Not at all! They take the following VOWS:
    a) Poverty
    b) Chastity
    c) Obedience

    In reality they VIOLATE all these three Vows.

    a) 99% of the priests today are NOT materially poor. They are wealthy. A vast majority of the simple and ordinary lay Catholics live in “square feet spaces”, whereas the priests live in “acres spaces”. Priests acquire more materials than the lay Catholics.

    b) The innumerable cases (earthed and unearthed) of sexual misconduct by priests are the evidences that Celibacy is taken for granted. “Hit and run or hide” is the motto. The ultimate victims are the simple lay Catholics. Surprisingly, the Pope himself says that it is a human problem and it will continue. Lay Catholics, BEWARE OF PRIESTS!

    c) In this modern era, how many priests are obedient? It is a million-dollar question. There are thousands of cases of conflicts and tensions between the priests and their authorities mainly due to obedience factor. The internal WAR will continue forever.

    Hence, the Pope, knowing the exact situation, is trying to advocate that the priests must be men of Joy. Well, God alone knows how many priests will take his advice seriously, introspect and make sincere efforts for PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION.

  2. Yes the priesthood must promote the best qualities that are both human and divine. As for the Salesians, reaching out to the poor is important. But like many other congregations that started for the poor they have ended up being centres of excellence that by their very nature exclude the very same poor that they profess to serve. There is much need for introspection and re-orientation

  3. If the canonists in the dioceses are practising bureaucracy (favouritism, nepotism etc) naturally priests of the diocese will not be happy. Happiness comes from human dignity. Most of the priests are marginalised because of confessional secret, following civil law at the same time canon law, misbehaving of the laity of the parish, the after effect of jeolosy of the religious priests and nuns and the gossip of the diocesan priests.
    In state and in church, primary requirement for contentment is through human dignity through human rights.
    Most of the discontent priests are victims of denial of human rights by church hierarchy ( the church bureaucracy).

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