The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Greetings from Chicago. I am home. I just discovered that my Friday flight leaves at 6:35am. That is going to be an early morning. With a conference to give on Thursday night it will be a full week.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 11:49 PM link
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The feast of St. Gaspar each year calls me to reflect upon the gift of the priesthood. I enjoy very much the memory of having read John Paul II's Gift and Mystery and those words do much to help me reflect on this gift. My 12th anniversary of ordination is this Sunday, October 26. Some of the books I have loaded into my carry-on for this trip are designed to facilitate a reflection on the priesthood.

The books are:

Presbyterorum Ordinis, Decree on the Ministry and Life of Preists, Vatican II
The Priestly Office, Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ
The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community, Congregation for the Clergy

The following are elements of a priestly life that I hold as values and for which I strive:

--Conformity to Christ
--Conformity to and stewardship of the Eucharist (1 Cor 4:1)
--A ministry of Reconciliation
--Proclamation of the New Covenant
--Intimacy with the Father
--Intercessory prayer for the sake of others

In theology the idea of representation is not juridical but organic. The priest is configured to Christ in order that Christ may act in him as an instrument. Dulles, pg. 14

The priest as witness [who] finds himself possessed by the Word of which he is the bearer. Dulles, pg 18

Religious priests who belong to missionary institutes have a special responsibility to look outward. Dulles, pg. 26

Priests who perform their duties sincerely and indefatigably in the Spirit of Christ arrive at holiness by this very fact. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 13

For me priesthood is not something I do. It is who I am and am becoming. I am priest even when I am doing nothing. The spirit of contemplation to which St. Gaspar continually calls me often calls me to do nothing, to stop, and to pay attention. Then, and only then am I called to share the fruits of this contemplation with the world.

One of the discomfiting things about the Priesthood Sunday celebration that is planned for this week is that much of what I see on their
website is based on what a priest does, not what he is. I noticed recently that one of the sponsors of Priesthood Sunday is an organization called Future Church. Theirs is a very different understanding of what a priest is.

This week's celebration is an invitation to celebrate the gift and mystery of priesthood. Think of this not in terms of function but of presence. Celebrate the gift and the mystery of Christ who loved us so much as to make sure that his real presence be known among us in the heart of the church. It is God's work. It is not something we do so much as a tremendous gift we have been given and have been impelled to share.

We were gentle among you as a nursing mother cares for her children. With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us. I Thess. 2:7-8

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 12:57 PM link
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