Pope Francis during his meeting with the seminarians from Barcelona Pope Francis during his meeting with the seminarians from Barcelona 

Pope to seminarians: Live a life of prayer and thanksgiving

In his prepared remarks to community members of the Barcelona Seminary, Pope Francis affirms the importance of a priest's life of prayer and making Christ present in the Eucharist, the sacraments, and the Word, inspiring the hearts of men and women.

By Vatican News staff reporters

Meeting with seminarians and community members of the Seminario Conciliar de Barcelona at the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Francis encouraged the seminarians to bring God's love to the world through their personal witness and ministry.

The Pope handed them his prepared address where he recalls some of the essentials of what it means to be a priest.

Life of prayer

During the time of formation, the Pope pointed out that there can be two temptations in particular that need to be faced.

The first is a tendency to focus only on negative situations or experiences, while the second is to try to propose an idea of the world that is "idyllic and unreal" for people to relate to or understand.

He recalled that the first obligation of a priest is to live a life of prayer that springs from thanksgiving for the love and attention God has shown the priest in calling him to His service. This is the first joyful mystery from which everything springs, he added.

A priest, the Pope observed, is not a "ruler of souls through silver and gold." Rather, his wealth "is only the virtue of the name of Jesus," which means "making Him present in the Eucharist, in the sacraments, in the Word, so that He is born in the hearts of men and women."

Accompaniment in life's journey

In his prepared text, the Pope also recalled that the Lord asks us for "the sacrifice of the heart" and renouncing our own will, as the Lord does in Gethsemane.

By looking at the cross, "we lift our eyes to heaven and see our destiny," he added, in serving those we accompany in their life journey through sacrifice and nearness, firmly rooted in the concrete and often difficult reality of daily life.

The Lord's priests

The gift of the Holy Spirit accompanies the priest in his journey and vocation of being priests of Christ, the Pope said. He encouraged the seminarians from Barcelona to always savour and remember this love the Lord has poured out on them by calling them to this vocation, a love He will pour abundantly into their hearts, in their ordination and in the rest of their days.

"Never extinguish that fire that will make you fearless preachers of the Gospel, dispensers of divine treasures. Be united with Jesus, like Mary, to surrender yourselves with Him in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and also in the glory of His triumph."

In conclusion, the Pope urged the seminarians to take up the rosary, to ask Mary, Queen and Mother of Mercy, to help them "discover the mysteries of the priesthood," and to contemplate the mysteries of her Son, "accepting that the joy of following Christ and perfect identification with the cross are the only path to glory."

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10 December 2022, 13:46