The pope asks seminarians to be joyful, but realistic


VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As they prepare for the priesthood, seminarians must remember both the joy of being called by God and the real sacrifices they will be called upon to make, Pope Francis tells the young men who are preparing for the priesthood at the seminary in Barcelona, ​​Spain.

A particular way of praying the Rosary—with special meditations on the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries—could help avoid “two temptations: to focus on the bad, considering only negative experiences; or to try to present an idyllic and unreal world,” the pope wrote.

Welcoming the seminarians to the Vatican on December 10, Pope Francis handed them the address he had prepared for the occasion, although he did not read it to them.

In the text, the pope quoted the “priestly rosary” of Saint Manuel González García, a Spanish bishop who died in 1940.

The first joyful mystery “from which everything is born,” the pope said, is to realize that one’s vocation is a call from God to serve.

A priest, he says, is called to give himself for the redemption of the world, making Jesus “present in the Eucharist, in the sacraments, in the word, to be born in the hearts of people, to be his instrument in everything and always. ”

In meditating on the sorrowful mystery of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, seminarians should be honest about how “God asks us for sacrifice, sacrifice of heart, renunciation of our will,” the pope said.

Rather than seeking status, honors or praise, he says, “we should aspire to the crown of thorns that identifies us with the Lord,” by taking up his cross and following him.

“Does that seem difficult to you? This is not the case,” the pope wrote. “Simple things are enough: a hard bed, a small room, a sparse and poor table, nights at the bedside of the dying, getting up early in the morning to open the church before the cafes, and waiting”, praying alone with Jesus and to be available to accompany “sinners and the wounded on the journey of life”.

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