Yesterday when I was meeting my spiritual director he had the idea that I ought to write a book on priestly fraternity. And reflect on some of things that I have learned in 16 years as a priest. These are just some random thoughts that I will develop later on.
What was the primary community of Jesus? You might be tempted as say the apostles. But Jesus primary community was the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus said about the Father, “The Father is always with me.” Jesus was a man always in touch with the Holy Spirit. St Irneanus described the Holy Spirit, “As the constant companion and friend of Jesus.”
Jesus relationship with the apostles flowed out of his primary community with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus also had many good friends with woman such as Martha and Mary.
How does this relate to the life of a priest? Like everyone else a priest ought to draw his life from his relationship with the Father Son and Holy Spirit. A priest primary community than is his fellow priests. Even if a priest lives alone his primary community is with other priests.
I think of Saint Damien of Molokai. One of his greatest crosses is that he had to live alone. I am sure that he had many close friends among the people he served he still longed for a community of priests.
Why does a priest need a community of other priests? One reason is that a layperson will never fully understand the life of a priest. A priest will never fully understand the life a layperson.
A married couple life in most cases resolves around their children. As it should be. Married people gravitate towards others married couples. Just think that when someone is single and all their friends start to get married doesn’t the single person often feel like they don’t fit in with their old friends.
The single person is a part of the lives of their married friends but it is harder for the married couple to be a part of the single person life. As yourself this question if you are married, “when was the last time that you and your spouse visited the home of a single person?”
I think the same dynamic exists with priests, they become part of other people lives but it is harder for other people to become part of their life. Because this is true a priest primary community is meant to be other priests.
Just some thoughts, random at that but will put it together
Blessing Fr Stefan