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Prayer is the key to fulfilling the mission of Christ and his Church as a priest, and every priest makes a commitment to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, which is an ancient prayer of the Church that is prayed five times throughout the day—at morning, at midday, at evening, and at night, along with an office devoted to lengthier readings of scripture and writings of the saints.

Prayer, is of course the Spiritual Pillar, but outside of prayer, there is a need to labor in the vineyard of the Lord, that is to do ministry. This ministry would be known as the Pastoral Pillar. After I begin my day with prayer, I then walk over to the office to greet the secretaries and the money counters and anyone else that is present.

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Sometimes I have to immediately run to an anointing of the sick, other times I celebrate Mass in the nursing home around the corner. Some days I might spend a bit of time working on my homily preparation for the weekend, other days I might have meeting after meeting with people who are looking for some spiritual guidance and help. In the evenings, after having celebrated daily Mass in the parish and having attended to all the aspects of ministry to which a priest must attend, I take some time for personal recreation and physical maintenance, otherwise known as the Human Pillar.

Sometimes this takes the form of visiting with friends and catching up, other times this takes the form of physical exercise or sports.

Whatever the case may be, I try to fit in some time for personal growth and development. I try to have a book, whether on a theological topic or a spiritual topic or a world event, that I work through at my own pace. Discernment is about getting beneath the surface, to become aware of our deepest heart wishes.


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If I am genuinely open to what God wants, then my deepest heart wishes will be in keeping with his plan. There is a basic principle which lies at the heart of Christian living, no matter what our particular vocation is. It is clearly stated by St. Ignatius Loyola at the beginning of his Spiritual Exercises. He says:.

Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.

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And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created. From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it. When we see this written down, it may seem fairly obvious, but it is amazing how easily, without even being aware of it, we can lose the focus on praising, serving, and reverencing God, as our first priority. Although they may not always seem to be clearly defined in practice, there are six steps in the process of discernment.

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What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So if I am genuinely open to the guidance of the Spirit, and if this particular option gives rise to feelings of joy, peace, etc. Make a similar decision in the heart, this time against the particular option e. It is always worth working through step no. Prayer for light; to recognise what has emerged. Knowledge is not of itself a decision.

The next stage is prayer for the grace to actually choose, taking account only of what God wills. Seek confirmation.

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Often this confirmation comes over time, in the decisions made by others, and in the way things actually work out. As I have mentioned, discernment is a process; it is on-going. Throughout the process, there are three elements which must be present:.

Faith: The Working Life of a Priest

At some stage or other you will have to make a decision. Some people put this off time and again due to fear, uncertainty, busyness or whatever.

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If you are being called to the priesthood know that the Church needs YOU! God needs YOU! He has chosen YOU for a specific purpose and task.

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The Life and Work of a Priest

One which only you can achieve. Make a decision! Make a difference! It helps to talk. Talking with someone about what is going on for you will help you to make sense of what is happening. The Vocations Director , a friend, a local priest, someone you trust can definitely help.