Being a priest in the Catholic Church seems like a pretty easy job right? They only have to say Mass on Saturday and Sunday and say Confession for an hour before Mass. Doesn’t sound that hard and strenuous. Okay, if that’s the case then let me paint a picture for you. Say there are about 500 people in my parish. Let’s also say each person, including myself, asks our parish priest for something once a month. That means 15 people each day would ask a favor from Father. Fifteen people each day! And typically when someone asks Father for something it is not a quick question, usually it is a “can we meet and talk” or “can you hear my confession” or “can you come to the hospital and give me Anointing of the Sick“? However I typically ask Father for things more than just once a month and there are parishes with way more parishioners. So that could be on average 20-30 people each day. On top of this the priest says Mass every day, hears Confession, presides over weddings, funerals, and baptisms, meets people for spiritual direction, attends parish events and meetings, participates in diocesan meetings and events, and has to be ready at any time, day or night, to respond to the needs of his parishioners. All this while running a parish and sometimes even a school. WOW!! Just stop and think about this for a moment…
Doesn’t it put a whole new light on the effort and time your priest puts into his work? I think the thing we miss is that being a priest isn’t a job. He doesn’t just work from morning ’til evening and have the weekends off like the typical working class. Priesthood is a vocation. A 24/7 vocation. Just like motherhood is a vocation. A mother constantly cares for her children even in the middle of the night. However instead of 1-5 kids our priests has hundreds of children to care for and shepherd.
(Wait and what about the Pope? He has millions of children! I won’t even go there. 🙂 )
Now I’m not telling you this for you to never ask something of your priest again or to scare you from becoming a priest. Priesthood is a valiant vocation where God uses his servants to turn bread and wine into His Body and Blood, forgive your sins, bring people into the church, and shepherd countless men and women to Heaven. If God is calling you to become a priest He will give you strength, courage, and persistence to follow His call.
The reason I am telling you all this is because the other day I went to visit a fellow priest. After 8am Mass, he went out for breakfast with my family and me even though he was tired because he didn’t get to bed until 4am that morning after he finished answering emails that he couldn’t get to during the day! I was shocked! I would be half dead if I had only gotten two hours of sleep, but he never complained and he had a smile on the whole time. He was social with us, socialized with quite a few people he knew at the restaurant, and answered a phone call at one time. However, what amazes me the most is I would never have guessed he was tired because he didn’t complain and whomever he talked to felt as if they were the most important person in his world at that moment. I share this eye-opening experience with you to reveal to you the wonderful work our spiritual fathers do for us.
Now what can you do about all this? I encourage you to go to your priest and thank him for all he has done for you. Your priest sacrifices so much for you and every one else each day and the least you can do is show your appreciation. Also pray for him.
It is hard work and the biggest help you could do is to pray that God will bless him and give him strength. Lastly, I challenge you to, next time, instead of going and asking for something you want, ask Father if there is anything he wants that you could do for him. Whether it is make a meal, take him out for lunch, clean his bathroom, whatever! Just do a smalls things with great love (Mother Teresa).
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Picture taken from: https://pixabay.com/