Priests and Prayer

I read “Catholic Seminarians Go Deeper in Prayer” (Oct. 13 issue) with great interest. Why would seminarians have to go to a special summer school to learn the tools for maintaining a vibrant life of prayer in the midst of their busy schedule? Why isn’t it taught in their seminary every day? What is more important in priests’ lives than their having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, his Father and the Holy Spirit, which can come only through prayer?

A pastor, coming back from a retreat he had given to priests gathered from around the country, remarked, “Oh, they are so angry with me because I told them every priest should spend an hour before the Blessed Sacrament,” and my jaw dropped. They don’t? You have had several articles on the beauty of celibacy. But celibacy is not just about sexual relationships. A personal relationship with Jesus through prayer is connected to their vow of celibacy because celibacy frees them from the cares and burdens of married couples so that they have the time to pray and develop this personal relationship with Jesus. In this way, they can become the good shepherds and leaders of the people burdened by family matters. A married man is devoted to his wife and his wife to him and both to their children. The priest, through the vow of celibacy, is free to devote himself to prayer and intimacy with the Lord. Perhaps this lack of prayer is the reason that so many priests betrayed their vocation.

Mary Best

Conneaut, Ohio