July 2, 2016
St. John Paul II, in his apostolic exhortation on the formation of priests, emphatically states, “the time has come to speak courageously about priestly life as a priceless gift and a splendid and privileged form of Christian living” (Pastores Dabo Vobis, #39). We cringe at such a description, perhaps uneasy about the charge of clericalism, or in embarrassment due to the failings of a few that have marred the image of the priesthood in contemporary culture. But to acknowledge the sacred priesthood as a “priceless gift,” is to ascribe glory and honor to the Giver; to see the priesthood as “splendid” is to simply recognize the splendor of the truth and this treasure of God kept, albeit, in clay vessels. This is the context of St. John Paul II’s encouragement for priests and educators, in particular, to present the possibility of a priestly vocation “explicitly and forcefully” to our young people today.