Catholic World News

Pope encourages Rome’s priests to grow in faith

March 02, 2017

Speaking on March 2 to priests of the Rome diocese, Pope Francis offered a series of thoughts on “the progress of faith in the life of the priest.”

The Pope said that his guidelines—presented during a traditional Lenten meeting with priests of the diocese, in the basilica of St. John Lateran—could be useful to priests at any stage, from seminarians to bishops. “Fundamentally it is the ‘virtuous cycle’ referred to the Aparecida document, that led to the coining of the phrase ‘missionary disciple,’“ he said.

Outlining the means to continual growth in faith, the Pope suggested the need for memory, hope, and discernment. Memory, he said, is “rooted in the faith of our forefathers,” and locates believers in the whole history of salvation. Hope “brings freshness and vision to our faith.” And discernment makes faith concrete, guiding daily decisions. The challenge, the Holy Father said, is to conform one’s will to that of Christ. “With that dispossession of will, with that inner drama of ‘not as I will but as you will,’ that places me in the hands of the Father and ensures that it is He Who guides my life.”

Pope Francis went on to speak about St. Peter as a model for priests. “The faith of Simon Peter has a special nature: it is a faith that was subject to trials, and with it he had the mission of confirming and consolidating the faith of his brothers, our faith,” he said.

St. Peter denied Jesus, but recognized his sin and sought forgiveness, the Pope reminded his listeners. He insisted that priests must always recognize their own sinfulness and need for God’s mercy. “If we strengthen the faith of others, we do so as sinners,” he said.


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