The Attraction of a Priestly Life Well Lived

Zbigniew Kotyłły, John Paul II (2012)

This year, Holy Thursday falls on the tenth anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II. Each year on Holy Thursday, the saintly pope would write a letter to his priests, in honor of Christ’s institution of the priesthood at the Last Supper. The last of these letters, written just before his death, has this to say:

Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, the remembrance of Christ in his Paschal Mystery leads to the desire for a full and definitive encounter with Him. We live in expectation of his coming! In priestly spirituality, this expectation must be lived out through pastoral charity, which impels us to live in the midst of God’s People, so as to direct their path and to nourish their hope. This task requires from the priest an interior attitude similar to that of the Apostle Paul: “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal” (Phil 3:13-14). The priest is someone who, despite the passing of years, continues to radiate youthfulness, spreading it almost “contagiously” among those he meets along the way. His secret lies in his “passion” for Christ. As Saint Paul said: “For me, to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21).

Particularly in the context of the new evangelization, the people have a right to turn to priests in the hope of “seeing” Christ in them (cf. Jn 12:21). The young feel the need for this especially; Christ continues to call them, to make them his friends and to challenge some to give themselves completely for the sake of the Kingdom. Vocations will certainly not be lacking if our manner of life is truly priestly, if we become more holy, more joyful, more impassioned in the exercise of our ministry. A priest “won” by Christ (cf. Phil 3:12) more easily “wins” others, so that they too decide to set out on the same adventure.

My own life is a testament to what St. John Paul II says here: his death was a spiritual wake-up call that eventually helped to lead me to seminary. As we celebrate his death, and even more importantly, the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood, let us pray for our priests: both for new and godly vocations, and for those men who have already dedicated their lives to the priesthood.


  1. Sorry Joe, but I dont believe JP 2 is the great Catholic you think he is.
    He kissed the Koran just as the ISIS and Boko Haram do.
    He supervised the desecration (by satanic animists etc) of the churches and holy places in Assisi in 1986.
    He collaborated and gave succor to Maciel Marcal while children were being sexually abused.
    He is not a saint to me; niether is he a saint to many Catholics despite all attempts at church propanganda.

    1. Declarations of sainthood are infallible. You should reconsider what you know about those events, pray to the Holy Spirit, and trust in the Church. We must always submit our personal reason and pride to the deliberations of the Church.

  2. CP Sho,

    As Maxwell mentioned, papal declarations of canonizations are infallible. Rome has spoken, the matter is settled.

    So the only remaining question is, whose judgment do you defer to? The Church’s infallible judgment, or your own private judgment?

    1. In otherwords it is laudable for a Catholic to kiss the book of heresies called the Koran?
      No sir! No Catholic can do that. How will that Catholic defend himself before the Lord Jesus on that Day

      1. well said cp sho,

        for JP11 to submit himself to a pagan text raises many serious questions about his saintliness.If submitting to one text that justifies slaughter, brutality and hate in the name of a pagan deity, why not submit to any other text that proclaims the same?

    2. No. It means that he’s a Saint in Heaven. If you picked over the life of any Saint, excluding the Mother of God, you’d be able to find sins and mistakes. That doesn’t justify your condemnation.

    3. Islam says Jesus of Nazareth is not the Son of God.
      Islam says Jesus of Nazareth did not die on the cross at Golgotha
      Islam says Jesus of Nazareth did not die for anybody’s sins
      Islam says Jesus of Nazareth did not resurrect on the 3rd day
      Islam says Jesus is not the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world
      Therefore why would any Catholic pray that the Catholic saint who says Jesus of Nazareth is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world [St. John the Baptist] should protect a false religion called Islam?
      Why would JP 2 say such a thing? Really? Kissing the Koran just like the ISIS and Al-Shabab! Really?

    4. A Catholic saint? Not in a million years.
      And the canonization process watered-down by JP 2 himself in his own life time. How can a man canonize himself? Is that in accordance with canon law? Is such a canonization valid in law? Is it not challengeable on pure legal grounds?
      Can a man be judge in his own case? Can a Christian keep money aside for the process of his own canonization (like a fictitious character in Denis Diderot writings does)? Can a Christian legislate a law for the purpose of his own benefit Can a Christian streamline and amend canon law in order to facilitate his own canonization?
      It would be wonderful to see the Lord Jesus judge this case on the great Day of Last Judgement.

    5. CP Sho,

      Canonizations are infallible by virtue of the Holy Spirit’s extraordinary protection of the Petrine Office, not by virtue of the procedures leading up to the declaration of infallibility.If the reliability of canonizations were based on the investigation, there wouldn’t be any infallible canonizations (since no merely-human investigation could rise to that level of certainty). If you understand how papal infallibility works, that argument doesn’t make sense,

      You also again bring up this bizarre comparison between JPII and ISIS. I had first thought you just got rhetorically overheated and weren’t thinking when you wrote that. Am I mistaken? Are you serious?

      Do you really think that JPII once kissing a Qu’ran makes him morally equivalent to ISIS? Or are you just muddying the waters by smearing the late pope with this odious comparison?

      Let’s consider this line of “logic,” such as it is:
      P1. JPII once did X.
      P2. ISIS also does X.
      C. Therefore… JPII isn’t in Heaven?

      If you think that’s a coherent argument, then I hope you didn’t have dinner last night, because you know who else ate dinner once? JUDAS.

    6. The CDF has clarified that canonizations are infallible, and cannot be denied without severing one’s relationship with the Catholic Church:

      “6. The second proposition of the Professio fidei states: “I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals”. The object taught by this formula includes all those teachings belonging to the dogmatic or moral area,13 which are necessary for faithfully keeping and expounding the deposit of faith, even if they have not been proposed by the Magisterium of the Church as formally revealed.

      Such doctrines can be defined solemnly by the Roman Pontiff when he speaks ‘ex cathedra’ or by the College of Bishops gathered in council, or they can be taught infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church as a ‘sententia definitive tenenda’.14 Every believer, therefore, is required to give firm and definitive assent to these truths, based on faith in the Holy Spirit’s assistance to the Church’s Magisterium, and on the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Magisterium in these matters.Whoever denies these truths would be in a position of rejecting a truth of Catholic doctrine and would therefore no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church.


      With regard to those truths connected to revelation by historical necessity and which are to be held definitively, but are not able to be declared as divinely revealed, the following examples can be given: the legitimacy of the election of the Supreme Pontiff or of the celebration of an ecumenical council, the canonizations of saints (dogmatic facts), the declaration of Pope Leo XIII in the Apostolic Letter Apostolicae Curae on the invalidity of Anglican ordinations.”

      So here’s where we are. The Church teaches something infallibly, and you doubt it. For purposes of our discussion, it doesn’t matter whether it’s sola fide or the Marian doctrines or John Paul II’s salvation, your choices are the same.

      You can either (a) submit to the Church, knowing that she’s right, even if you don’t know why she’s right, (b) take the Church’s conclusion as true, and then seek to understand why she’s right, or (c) rebel from the Church. But only the first two of these may be pursued without peril to your soul.



    7. Joe is right. As a recent revert to Catholicism, there are many things which I still do not fully believe, especially about Mary. However, I trust that the Church is correct, because by every measure of reason she is the True Church proclaimed and protected by God, the restoration of Israel, if I may, and I submit myself to her judgements despite my human intellect. Therefore, although I may not fully believe certain things or regard certain practices around Mary, I trust that the Holy Spirit will bring me in line with the Church and not the Church in line with me.
      This was difficult, especially for a rabid libertarian ex-atheist, and non-denominational protestant, all three of which are some of the most selfish and prideful of philosophies. Libertarians believe themselves to each be the only true rulers, the atheists believe themselves the embodiment of reason and wisdom, and the Protestants the ultimate scriptural authority (though they are very hypocritical in practice).
      For me to become what I am today, I had to learn to put away what I think is right, and trust in God and His Church to teach me what is right. Obedience and humility and the hardest yet most pious expressions of love, one which many Catholics forget.

  3. Joe and Maxwell you know what? Here is a sign for the both of you. It wont take too long now.
    “Within a dozen years the city – i.e. Krakrow, from where this devotion [i.e devotion revealed to Sr Faustina and promoted by JP 2] has spread to other places – will lay in the ruins of her falsehood and poison. A habitation for vultures and other scavengers.”

    1. CP Sho,

      Fortunately, we don’t have to wait that long. You’re denying an infallible teaching. I’ve already presented this above, but to summarize:

      P1: When a pope canonizes a person as a Saint, such a declaration is infallible.
      P2: Pope Francis canonized St. John Paul II.
      C: This declaration is infallible.

      You can’t grant both premises and then object to the conclusion just because you don’t like it. At this point, you might as well argue against the Immaculate Conception: it doesn’t matter how good you think your arguments are, you’re arguing against an infallible teaching. You literally can’t be right.

  4. CP SHO 52 of the fist 54 Popes are Saints. Which of those do you reject seeing as how they were declared Saints without the process you find crucial; all of them?

    Look, one can (Raider Fan does) wish the process was as it was prior to it being reformed but it is the word of the Church not any particular process that is determinative.

    If you won’t hear the Church, you are a…….

  5. Raider Fan: “If you won’t hear the Church, you are a……”
    What will you say to Paul of Tarsus who challenged Peter to his face at Antioch?
    What would you say to Prophet Nathan who challenged King David to his face?

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