As 2018 came to an end, and we begin 2019, it was not a glamorous year for the priesthood. In fact, it was one of the most devastating, humiliating, and repulsive years for priests. Through the heinous and unconscionable actions of some clerics, simply wearing a Roman collar in public often gets stares as if I were an accomplice to a network of monstrous criminals.

And in spite of it all – no, because of it all – I still want to be a priest.

At its core, my vocation is singly centered on one thing – a friendship with Christ. Despite my weakness, sinfulness, and unworthiness, Christ reached down and chose me for His own in the waters of baptism. He has nourished me daily in the Eucharist, strengthened me with His Spirit in Confirmation, healed me with His anointing, and continues to bind up my wounds in the sacrament of penance.

Friendship, at its deepest roots, changes everything. The experience of friendship is one of the most marvelous experiences of life. I would argue that it often goes beyond human expression. Just take a second and try to explain your best friendship to someone else. It’s pretty difficult, isn’t it? Yet – I do think we can say a few things about friendship.

First, friendship is a real experience borne out of an encounter. When we meet someone who becomes a friend, there is something remarkably different about that encounter. In the highest forms of friendship, the friend sees the other as more important than himself. A perfect example of this is the sacrificial nature of a husband and wife. At some point, both bride and groom recognize that the other was worth laying down their entire life. So, too, did the divine Bridegroom do for me. In spite of my infidelity and sinfulness, Christ still chose to befriend me at the cost of His own life.

Secondly, friendship is built upon trust and belief in the other. Once I knew the friendship of Christ, I started to take seriously His promises. While I could do anything with my life, it is hard for me not to be moved by Christ’s words in John 6:53: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” If this is true, and because of my friendship with Christ I believe it is, it seems that the fullness of life is inseparable from Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist. In other words, without a priest, there is no Eucharist. And without the Eucharist, there is no life.

This brings me to the final point of friendship – it is life-giving and inviting. Friends, rather than becoming isolated from others, have the joy that is full of life and inviting. So, too, with Christ. His friendship has called me out of the darkness of my sin, filled me with the warmth of His love, and given me a desire to share that divine joy with others.

In short, I cannot deny my own lived experience and encounter with Christ. I am a sinner. I am unworthy. Whether in spite of it, or precisely in order to draw me out of it – Christ chose to befriend me. He has given me a new life, brought me abiding joy, and promises me eternal life – and I trust him. Thus, it only seems reasonable to continue to live in this friendship and to invite others to it. For it is only in the friendship that one person becomes like the other. For the priest, this means becoming like the Great High Priest and Savior – Jesus Christ. And only by abiding in this friendship will the face of the priesthood be properly restored.

So, why do I still want to be a priest?

Honestly, I’m doing it for a Friend.

  • Poterion

    As a priest I encourage you. But also warn you once a priest you become part of the community of the Church in a unique way. People will stare at you in a collar, they will say viscous things, some will feel like they can’t trust you around their children. All of this is justified.
    Bishops and priests brought this on and faithful priests are left to deal with it. We suffer both from average Catholics and from hierarchical malfeasance of the kind that often throws us under the bus. Beware of bishops who prattle on about accountability and sorrow for the sin of priests. They are the most dangerous to priests concerning unjust accusations and responses. Surround yourself with good, faithful priest friends, pray much and serve with true charity. The rest is up to duplicitous bishops and a just, living God. But always remember bishops are not God and can frustrate the Holy Spirit.

  • Marke Duvivier

    Because you’re a fool.

  • CSweeney

    Thank you for your vocation

  • Larry Tuchscherer

    Amen! Thank you for your vocation. We are all sinners and the only thing that matters is our relationship with God. Continue to praise the Lord as we all need to!!!!!!

  • Phil Alcoceli

    Wow! This article is beyond amazing, vital, annointed and powerful. Thank you SO much!!! It needs to be published and read by all Catholic parishes around the world (translated of course). I’ll do my little part, copy it, share it as best as I can and I invite everybody else here to share it in any way possible (I don’t have social media but many of you do). Brian, I am a spiritual gnat compared to you, old and partially disabled (genetic problems plus an accident), but I’ll still recommend you a couple things (God uses gnats like me quite well- we can fly and sting Satan in the eyes). First, as part of all you will do as a seminarian and Priest, encourage Confession (Reconciliation) as much and in as many diffrent ways as you can and encourage other Priests to do the same. Difficult? Oh, yeah! But the Armies of Confession will also powerfully turn the tide coming against God’s Church and will heal it inside.

    Thanks God, you don’t suffer from the Catholic False Shame And Guilt By Infiltration Syndrome. Second, stay away from popular terms and words that are untrue and toxic, like God’s “unconditional love” (we wouldn’t need any Commandments or faithfulness or holiness if that was even partly true), and any other Political Correctness terms that come from the poisonous “therapeutic” approach of most of Protestantism and “Catholic” Liberalism. Don’t speak the Truth in anger, don’t speak the Truth in love, speak the Truth in Truth without an overwhelming preoccupation with feelings (Satan’s beloved weapon), as Jesus did all over the Gospel, never afraid of looking rude, callous or crass (Matthew 15:26-28). He was the sweet Lamb of God for the seeking, confused and repentant and the fierce Lion of Judah for the self-worshipping, self-lusting and craftily unrepentant, or even His hard-headed disciples (He wasn’t a one sided hyper-spiritual guru cartoon). This will keep that amazing intimacy with Christ that you have as pure and as holy as He wants it to be for you and for all of us. God bless you, brother!!

  • Aaron Halberg

    Thank you for your dedication to a dear mutual Friend of ours, Brian! What an excellent testimony. I am encouraged by many things I see in the young, active generation in the Church today. I don’t see potential victims or future deserters, I see Saints being formed, being formed amidst a world that needs Saints to introduce them to a good Friend, and a world that is being prepared (opened up) for the Friendship. God bless you on your journey and thanks for the article.