Monday, August 01, 2005

Prayer, Celibacy, and Obedience

A priest is a man of prayer. Describe your daily and weekly devotional prayer life.

All my life I have gone to weekly Mass, but for the past year I have been blessed to be able to go to daily Mass as well, as it is only a couple blocks from where I work. About every other day I pray morning prayer after daily Mass in the Eucharistic Chapel of Louisville’s Cathedral of the Assumption.
Every other Saturday I go to Confession at St. Louis Bertrand in Louisville, which has been an immense blessing because the parish also offers the Rosary and Adoration during this time, followed by Mass. I do a separate Holy Hour individually about once a month. In addition, I pray a Holy Hour for vocations once a month with Men in Black, the Archdiocesan vocation discernment group. Lastly, I stay one weekend a month with my spiritual director, serving 4 Masses over the weekend, and attending a Holy Hour and Confession as well.Personally, I have a devotion to St. Michael the Archangel, my Confirmation saint, who I turn to often in times of stress or temptation. I also wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel which has given me much comfort and is a constant reminder for me to generously accept God’s Will as our Blessed Mother did. Finally, I like to pray various short ejaculatory prayers throughout the day as the good and bad moments of each day require.

A priest commits himself to chaste celibacy for the Kingdom of God. The Church’s teachings on sexuality, chastity and celibacy are clearly stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. What are the implications of these teachings for you to chaste celibacy as a seminarian and priest?

I once read that celibacy is not something you just accept, it is something you choose. I believe it must be something you openly, freely, and joyfully choose for yourself or it is in danger of not being what it is meant to be: a liberating life of complete self-giving to the life of the Church for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. I fully accept celibacy as part of the identity of the priest and I accept the Church’s teaching on this special gift and calling from God. I am eager to learn more about celibacy, to be formed in its associated virtues of purity, chastity, humility, fidelity, generosity and temperance, and to take on this particular part of Christ’s identity as I strive to be more like Him in every way. I pray that after seminary formation and ultimately ordination, my heart will more closely resemble the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These are my inspirations now as I work toward a more perfect chastity and celibacy.

A priest commits himself to obedience to his bishop. What do religious authority and obedience mean to you?

I highly respect the authority in the Church present in the papacy, the Magisterium, the bishops, and the local pastors. These figures of authority were established by Christ himself to lead and guide us to all Truth. Rather than stifle our personal freedom, they actually liberate us completely by guiding us to live to our fullest potential and to realize the truest versions of ourselves. Through their guidance, we can gradually come to live as Christ intended, in complete harmony with him and in freedom from the tyranny of our passions and the evil of this world that tries to keep us in bondage to sin. I gladly accept the Will of the Father expressed through the direction of my local bishop, and I strive to more fully conform myself to the Truths of Christ in the Church.

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