Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Vatican
 Origins
 Africa
 Headlines
 Also Featuring
 Movie Reviews
 Sunday Scripture
 CNS Blog
 Links to Clients
 Major Events
 2008 papal visit
 World Youth Day
 John Paul II
 For Clients
 Client Login
 CNS Insider
 We're also on ...
 Facebook
 Twitter
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Vatican
 Movie Reviews
 CNS Blog
.
 For More Info

 If you would like
 more information
 about Catholic
 News Service,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 cns@
 catholicnews.com
 or
 (202) 541-3250

.
 Copyright

 This material
 may not
 be published,
 broadcast,
 rewritten or
 otherwise
 distributed,
 except by
 linking to
 a page on
 this site.

.
 CNS Story:

POPE-PRIESTS Feb-18-2010 (430 words) xxxi

Priesthood is a life marked by compassion, pope tells Rome clergy

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Priesthood isn't a job that one fulfills a few hours a day, but it is a way of life focused on serving as a bridge between God and suffering humanity, Pope Benedict XVI told priests of the Diocese of Rome.


Priests are called to live not just "in blessed contemplation," but "to enter like Christ into human misery and take it up, going to the people who are suffering" and sharing their pain, the pope said Feb. 18 as he led the clergy in "lectio divina," a prayerful reading and meditation on selections from the Letter to the Hebrews on the mystery of priesthood.

Priests are called to be "real mediators between humanity and God," he said, and in order to do so they must be totally dedicated to God, yet fully human and deeply compassionate in the face of the concerns, anxieties, joys and sorrows of others.

The pope, speaking without a prepared text, reflected at length on the New Testament letter. He explained the possible meanings of some of the words in their original Greek and referred to other Scripture passages, liturgical texts, the ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates, the seventh-century St. Maximus of Constantinople, St. John of God, the German Scripture scholar Adolf von Harnack and Cardinal Albert Vanhoye, a specialist on the Letter to the Hebrews.

The pope said the letter's description of Christ as the high priest makes it clear that Christ offered God the perfect sacrifice by willingly giving his life for the sins of humanity, but he also offered God his tears for the sorrows of the world.

As humanity cried out, "God, help us, hear us," Jesus carried the cry of humanity to God and "in this way realized his priesthood, the function of mediator, transporting and taking on the suffering of the world," he said.

"Our priesthood, too, is not limited to the act of worship of the holy Mass in which everything is consigned into the hands of Christ; offering all of our compassion, the sufferings of this world so far from God, is a priestly act," the pope said.

"Priesthood is not something that involves a few hours, but is realized through our whole pastoral life with its sufferings, weaknesses, sadness and also joy, naturally," he said.

The pope ended his meditation by praying that God would help him and all priests continually deepen their understanding of the mystery of priesthood, "to live this mystery better and better and, in that way, help the world open up to God so the world would be redeemed."

END


Copyright (c) 2010 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250