What is a priest ?
On the occasion of an ordination at Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours(1) in february 1939, Daniel JOËSSEL writes in Our life, the magazine of all youth movements, his vision of the priest.
It begins with the usual remarks of those who belong to the world, then, all of a sudden, he takes a step back: the priest is someone who loves!
« On 2 February we will have the great joy of attending an ordination at Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours. This naturally makes us think about the priesthood.
What is a priest? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Doesn't this strange character dressed differently from everyone else, living alone, without a home, without children, surprise you? What idea can have sprung up in his mind to have had the folly one day to leave what makes other men happy: love and money?
He could have, like the others, made a name for himself in the world, become an engineer, an officer, a doctor, what do I know?
No, he preferred to live in obscurity, to be sometimes despised and often misunderstood.
What madness, isn't it my friends? And yet this judgment by the world is very superficial.
No doubt this young man, whom you will soon see ascending to the altar, has left everything behind, but he has done so for a splendid purpose, the most beautiful on earth.
He understood so much, from his youth, the love of CHRIST for men that he preferred his crucified JESUS for him to everything.
Then his heart, detached from all, attached only to God, will give itself entirely to souls; with what ease he will then be able to understand all the miseries, share the sufferings, love all those who come to him! Ah, we often hear it said that the priest does not love; what a mistake! He loves his God more than anything else and all the souls entrusted to him. His only suffering is to see that he is often misunderstood and that souls, by turning away from good and duty, reject God for whom he lives.
Pray, my friends, that this young priest and your priests may always be worthy of their magnificent mission. »
(1) This is the ordination of a White Father, Roger Bollinger, 1912-1993, a native of Asnières who spent a long time in Burkina Faso, Upper Volta.