Priesthood Community and Fruit
Last week the diocese gave each priest the book ‘Forming Intentional Disciples.’ One of the themes in the book is the relationship between Faith and the Sacraments.” The author says, “the reception of a valid sacrament and the fruitful reception of sacramental grace are two different but related issues.”(99)
She quotes Pope Benedict XVI “When I was Perfect of the congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I invited various Bishop’s Conferences and experts to study this problem: a sacrament celebrated without faith. Whether, in fact, a moment of invalidity could be discovered here because the Sacrament was found to be lacking a fundamental dimension, I do not dare to say. I personally thought so, but from the discussion we had I realized that it is a highly complex problem and ought to be studied further.”(104)
A priest is ordained for the universal church. He is part of the fraternity of all priests.
Is there a connection between a priests desire to live in community and his fruitfulness as a priest? Can a priest who desires to live alone be fully fruitful?
I would argue that there is a connection between priest living as a community and the fruitfulness among the priests. A priest who lives in community is more fully living his priesthood.
It is possible for a priest to live alone and be very fruitful but he must have a desire and seek the brotherhood of priests. He must carry his brother priests in his heart. This is the mystery of a contemplative monk or nun.
There is much work to be done. Jesus says, “The harvest is great but laborers are few.” We need to reach the lost and be salt for the earth.
Again I would argue that there is a direct connection between a priest’s desire to live in community and his fruitfulness as a priest.