Gift and Mystery by Pope John Paul II

(New York: Doubleday Books, 1997), 114

Sometimes I would wake up during the night and find my father on his knees, just as I would always see him kneeling in the parish church. We never spoke about a vocation to the priesthood, but his example was in a way my first seminary, a kind of domestic seminary.

I found this in Witness to Hope and was struck by the line above about a domestic seminary. John Paul II is many things, but perhaps most of all a shining example of how despite the great evil in our world, God can lift up great saints.

  • "Every vocation to the priesthood is a great mystery; it is a gift which infinitely transcends the individual." (3)
  • He recounts how studying language itself leads to God's word: "the mystery of language brings us back to the inscrutable mystery of God himself." (7)
  • His studies included St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John of the Cross under Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP (17), John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila under Jan Tyranowski (24), True Devotion to Mary (29), The Curé D'Ars (57) bib
  • "My preparation for the priesthood in the seminary was in a certain sense preceded by the preparation I received in my family, thanks to the life and example of my parents. Above all I am grateful to my father, who became a widower at an early age. I had not yet made my First Holy Communion when I lost my mother: I was barely nine years old. So I do not have a clear awareness of her contribution, which must have been great, to my religious training. After her death and, later, the death of my older brother, I was left alone with my father, a deeply religious man. Day after day I was able to observe the austere way in which he lived. By profession he was a soldier and, after my mother's death, his life became one of constant prayer. Sometimes I would wake up during the night and find my father on his knees, just as I would always see him kneeling in the parish church. We never spoke about a vocation to the priesthood, but his example was in a way my first seminary, a kind of domestic seminary." (19-20)
  • Jan Tyranowski: working as a tailor made it easier for him to develop his interior life. (23)
  • The Angelus: "Such powerful words! They express the deepest reality of the greatest even ever to take place in human history." (29)
  • "I was spared much of the immense and horrible drama of the Second World War. I could have been arrested any day, at home, in the stone quarry, in the plant, and taken away to a concentration camp. Sometimes I would ask myself: so many young people of my own age are losing their lives, why not me? Today I know that it was not mere chance. Amid the overwhelming evil of the war, everything in my own personal life was tending towards the good of my vocation. I cannot forget the kindnesses shown to me in that difficult period by people whom the Lord placed on my path, both the members of my family and my colleagues and friends." (36)
  • Fr. Karl Leisner was able to celebrate mass only once after his ordination (38)
  • "The dark period of the war and the occupation was brightened by the light of the beauty which radiate from music and poetry." (40)
  • Advice while studying in Rome: "It was more important to learn Rome itself than simply to study." (52)
  • "A priest fulfills an essential part of his mission through the confessional." (58)
  • "The two totalitarian systems which tragically marked our century—Nazism on the one hand, marked by the horrors of war and the concentration camps, and communism on the other, with its regime of oppression and terror—I came to know, so to speak, from within. And so it is easy to understand my deep concern for the dignity of every human person and the need to respect human rights, beginning with the right to life. This concern was shaped in the first years of my priesthood and has grown stronger with time. It is also easy to understand my concern for the family and for young people. These concerns are all interwoven; they developed precisely as a result of those tragic experiences." (67)
  • St. Paul: A priest is a steward of the mysteries of God (71, cf 1 Cor-04)
  • "The priesthood, in its deepest reality, is the priesthood of Christ. It is Christ who offers himself, his Body and Blood, in sacrifice to God the Father, and by this sacrifice makes righteous in the Father's eyes all mankind and, indirectly, all creation. The priest, in his daily celebration of the Eucharist, goes to the very heart of this mystery. For this reason the celebration of the Eucharist must be the most important moment of the priest's day, the center of his life." (75)
    • "There can be no Eucharist without the priesthood, just as there can be no priesthood without the Eucharist." (77-78)
  • "Christ is the measure of every age." (84)
  • "From the very first years of my priesthood, the celebration of the Eucharist has been not only my most sacred duty, but above all my soul's deepest need." (85-86)
  • "Prayer makes the priest and through prayer the priest becomes himself. Before all else, the priest must indeed be a man of prayer, convinced that time devoted to personal encounter with God is always spent in the best way possible." (88)
  • We need to both live by the word, and be intellectually prepared, a lifelong pursuit (92)
  • Litany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim

Topic: Priesthood



file:(2023-08-20-Gift and Mystery)

Created: 2023-08-13-Sun
Updated: 2024-02-10-Sat