Photo: Felix Carroll
Pope Benedict XVI has declared the year that began June 19, 2009, as a Year for Priests. The faithful are asked to pray for vocations and for the spiritual renewal of priests. We asked several of our Marian seminarians what the priesthood means to them. The following is the response from Br. Richard Mary Dolan, MIC:
The Holy Priesthood to me is first and foremost a beautiful gift from God. Jesus in His merciful love brings the one He calls to Himself — to share in His high priesthood. To take an unworthy, incapable, and sinful man like me and raise him up to the gift of priesthood is an unfathomable act of God's merciful love.
To answer the call is a great grace by God to be able to receive His love and through that to respond to His love with "Yes, Lord, let it be done on to me according to Your Word."
If you think about the Scripture when Jesus said "Come follow Me," He must have had such a loving gaze that these men felt compelled to answer the call, as He opened their ears, gently enlightened their minds, and strengthened their hearts.
The priesthood is not something I volunteered for — it is not like the army where one can volunteer their own services or be forced into service if there is a draft — it is a call by Jesus, personally to an individual. He loved us first — one just responds.
I am a useless servant, for I did only what I was asked to do and say by Jesus and Mary when at the marriage feast of Cana, Mary said, "Do whatever He tells you." For me to be a good priest, I must decrease and Jesus must increase in me. People should be able to see and hear Jesus when they encounter me. And for myself also, by God's grace, I need to be empty so He can flow through me to others. Being a priest is being a humble servant of God — to be the donkey to carry Jesus to the people. Nobody looked at the donkey on Palm Sunday — they saw Jesus.
I am just trying by God's grace to get Jesus to the people and as long as I don't get in the way of Jesus and His will for me and His people, everything will be just fine. It is not a show and not something to go to my head — it is for the greater glory of God and the building up of His kingdom not mine.
Furthermore, I hope to live out God's gift of the priesthood by being "Totus Tuus" — Totally yours, Mary: To be completely consecrated and devoted to Mary because she is the true and surest way to Jesus. The saying "behind every good man is a good woman" is true for the priesthood as well. Inside the heart of every good priest is the Blessed Virgin Mary.
With Mary's help through the Rosary, Chaplet of The Divine Mercy, the Eucharist, Reconciliation, staying in union with the teaching of the Pope and Magisterium, I hope to live out God's fullest will in my life. Let my life be like a love song to the Lord. May my service to the Church always be brought to Jesus through the purifying heart of Mary. Jesus works through His Mother of Mercy. Mary has been so merciful in my life, and I hope to be a vessel of His mercy for others with the loving help of the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) and the prayers of the faithful.
I know I need the help of so many peoples' prayers as well. It can be pretty much summed up in this Scripture from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too."
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