26 June 2007

On becoming a priest

For several years now, I've shared with many Episcopalians in the common life and mission outlined in the Baptismal Covenant. For some of us, this common life and mission leads to ordained ministy; for some of us, we minister as lay persons, heeding God's call in baptism and being commissioned by the bishop to do so in Confirmation. As for me, I must admit, I'm often unsure, hesistant and confused about what do to next, or even what God is calling me to do.

It's tiring when you are constantly asked, "Do you want to be a priest?" or told, "Josh, I really think you should be a priest". The fact is, yes, I have considered the priesthood. However, the gosh-darn honest truth is that I'm truly frightened of being a priest.

Seeing the troubles, but also the rewards of being a priest, I realized that not only does it take a good, gentle soul to be a priest, but guts, courage, and solemn determination. I have seen many people whom I've loved fall flat on their faces. To be a priest is not just reaching out to the lost, the weak, and the needy with compassion, but it also means taking up armour and valiantly battling for their cause. For those who cannot do that, you will either end up having your bum burned on the altar or even worse, placed in the stocks by the vestry.

My simple, earnest request is this: Let me wait. I have too much respect for the office and work of a priest to rush in. If I am to become one, I want to approach the dignity of this office not only with skill, but maturity and soberness, with dedication and resolve. Give me time: I want to hear God's call truly and distinctly. Allow me time pray and study about this even before I approach the discernment process or even truly consider it. If I should go in with without considering the cost- the cross you must bear - I may end up harming myself spiritually, and put others' souls at risk. To have the cure of souls to a special responsibility that God lays on your shoulders; indeed, it is a sacred trust.

Even if I were to be ordained or remain a layperson, my heart, mission, and resolve will always be one: to seek and serve Christ in all persons, "whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whatever they bring". To God and to them, I pledge my life and liberty.

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