Some Thoughts On Priests (And The Priesthood)
I once worked with a young woman who told me that she and her family would travel across the city to hear Mass, despite living less than 800 yards away from their local parish church.
The reason for this was that they liked to hear a particular preacher. While acknowledging that the greater good lies in attending Mass in the first place, one always had a nagging doubt that this sort of practice was in some way disrespectful to the local priests whose services they elected not to attend.
For all the oceans of ink which have been spilled in comment on the priesthood, this writer admits to being in awe of the commitment which its members make in order to fulfil their vocations, often at the tenderest ages. To be called to be a priest must be one of the greatest gifts that can be bestowed upon a man - and once he receives the sacrament of Holy Orders, then regardless of his other human qualities and failings and whether or not his sermons seem dull to the flighty, the host becomes the body of Christ in his hands; that's high cotton.
Maybe we should respect our priests a little more - that might be one route to helping men of all ages discern whether or not they may have vocations. Maybe we should respect their office more, and if we have a local parish perhaps we should make an effort to attend it, and not put our desire for one part of the experience of the Mass in front of the whole which is on offer on our doorsteps.