Today is the day we celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper and the institution of the priesthood of the New Covenant. My pastor handed me a little quote from this month's Magnificat that I thought was worthy of being shared. . . not only because of its occasional significance but the way it sums up my own fears (and hopes) as well:
It became clearer and clearer to me that there is more to the priestly vocation than enjoying theology, indeed, that work in the parish can often lead very far away from that and makes completely different demands … The Yes to the priesthood meant that I had to say Yes to the whole task, oven in its simplest forms.
Since I was rather diffident and downright unpractical, since I had no talent for sports or administration or organization, I had to ask myself whether I would be able to relate to people—whether, for example, as a chaplain I would be able to lead and inspire Catholic youth, whether I would be capable of giving religious instruction to the little ones, whether I could get along with the old and sick, and so forth. I had to ask myself whether I would be ready to do that my whole life long and whether it was really my vocation.
Bound up with this was naturally the question of whether I would be able to remain celibate, unmarried, my whole life long… I often pondered these questions as I walked in the beautiful park of Furstenried and naturally in the chapel, until finally at my diaconal ordination in the fall of 1950 I was able to pronounce a convinced Yes.