What is it like being a priest these days?
It is sometimes sitting in a folding chair listening to your school kids singing Christmas songs.
It is sometimes standing by the bedside of person drawing their last breath in this life.
It is sometimes being amazed that you are holding the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ at Mass.
It is sometimes feeling totally unworthy to do so.
It is sometimes being in the pulpit wondering if anyone is listening.
It is sometimes being in the pulpit being very aware that people are listening.
It is sometimes being the strong one in a room full of grieving people.
It is sometimes resting your head on your steering wheel trying to collect yourself after such moments.
It is sometimes the joy of a baptism.
It is sometimes the sorrow of a funeral.
It is sometimes eating a great meal at a parishioner’s house.
It is sometimes getting to the end of the day trying to remember if you’ve eaten anything today.
It is sometimes the joy of helping the prodigal son come home.
It is sometimes the sorrow of watching a defiant prodigal son leave.
It is sometimes the hours of prayer which keep you afloat.
It is sometimes the pain of scandal which drags you down.
It is sometimes getting up and knowing you are stepping on to a battlefield.
It is sometimes moments of incredible grace.
It is sometimes moments walking in the valley of death.
It is sometimes being respected.
It is sometimes being scorned.
It is sometimes speaking words of comfort.
It is sometimes speaking unwelcome words calling people to conversion.
It is sometimes being praised for your service.
It is sometimes being called every name in the book for telling the truth.
Lived correctly, it is always about being a servant in Persona Christi.
It is difficult but rewarding.
It is a constant call to give witness.
It is willingly being the poster child for being countercultural.
It is about dying to self intentionally every day.
It is about making God’s grace available as much as possible.
It is not for the thin-skinned or faint of heart.
It is not for the worldly and ambitious.
It is not a job or career.
It is a way of life.
I would have it no other way.
Fr. Bill Peckman is a priest in the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri. He is the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Macon, St. Mary Parish in Shelbina, St. Patrick Parish in Clarence, Sacred Heart Parish in Bevier.
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