Pope Francis to priests: Christ is our strength in ministry
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated the Chrism Mass on Thursday morning in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Chrism Mass is the liturgy in which the oils – of the infirm, of the catechumens, and the sacred chrism – are blessed for use in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and Annointing of the Sick, throughout the year. It is also an occasion on which bishops traditionally reflect on the nature of priestly ministry, with the priests of their diocese.
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In his homily, Pope Francis focused on three particular forms of weariness that can affect priests, especially, in their lives: the weariness of the crowd, which the Holy Father described as, “[A] good and healthy tiredness,” which is “the exhaustion of the priest who wears the smell of the sheep… but also smiles the smile of a father rejoicing in his children or grandchildren.” ; the weariness of enemies – a particular danger, since, “The evil one is far more astute than we are, and he is able to demolish in a moment what it took us years of patience to build up, so that priests must take heart in the words of the Lord, “Have courage! I have overcome the world! (Jn. 16:33)”; and, weariness of oneself, which arises when the priest loses sight of the truth that his work is – first and last – a labour of love, for which Pope Francis counsels, “Only love gives true rest,” adding, “what is not loved becomes tiresome, and in time, brings about a harmful weariness.”
The Holy Father concluded his reflection with a reminder that priests, too, are disciples of Christ with a special vocation within the Church, saying that, when priests remember that Christ loved all of us first, and loved us to the end, “Our discipleship itself is cleansed by Jesus, so that we can rightly feel ‘joyful’, ‘fulfilled’, ‘free of fear and guilt’, and impelled to go out ‘even to the ends of the earth, to every periphery.’ In this way we can bring the good news to the most abandoned, knowing that ‘he is with us always, even to the end of the world.’”