Priesthood is not a profession. A priest isn’t a priest from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday, but every day, 100% of the time, without a day off, weekend or retirement.
As St. Paul says in 1 Cor 7:35, those who consecrate themselves to religious life choose “complete dedication to the Lord.” The priest gives his life to God, without dividing it with anything else.
This being so, if the cassock is his “work uniform,” the ancient custom of always being clad in their priestly armor makes sense.
After all, the priest never stops exercising his office.
Yesterday, my friend @pematheusaquino was surprised at the cinema door by the request of a stranger who approached him wanting to go to confession right there. What a beautiful scene.
He doesn’t even know that I took this picture and surely he’ll see it for the first time now, together with you. But I couldn’t resist and captured the moment, because this scene immediately reminded me of the words of Bishop Justino, who said, “The cassock is the liturgy of the street. The person who sees it is forced to think about God.”
How many people passed by in that brief moment and were impacted by this unusual scene?
How many internal reflections, how much silent admiration and hidden interest did this moment inspire, apart from the very sacrament ministered there?
None of this would have happened if he had been wearing jeans and a polo shirt.
In fact, with every public appearance of a priest in cassock, wherever he goes, souls may be influenced to turn to God without the priest even being aware of it!
Literally, by the force of “habit.”
I think I can speak for the laity when I say that we are thirsty for the Tradition of the Church. And a big reason why people are losing faith today is that many religious leaders have decided to be more “normal” and “modern” than the laity themselves.
We need a moral reserve in society that will always lead us back to the beauty of Tradition. And if not the clergy, who will fulfill that role?
Priests and seminarians on my Instagram, reflect on this and don’t look down upon the great GIFT to which you have been called.
Thank you, @pematheusaquino, for your example of TOTAL surrender to God.