Pope Francis: A priest's primary obligation is to keep love alive

Speaking with members of the Pontifical Latin-American, Brazilian, and Mexican Colleges, Pope Francis reflects on love, calling it “a central theme in the life of priests.”

Apr 05, 2024

File photo of Pope Francis with a newly-ordained priest (Vatican Media)

By Christopher Wells
“Love, the first love, is what has called us all here, and keeping it alive is our principal obligation,” Pope Francis said Thursday to Latin American formators and seminarians.

In prepared remarks consigned to members of the Latin-American, Brazilian, and Mexican Pontifical Colleges, Pope Francis said, “Every vocation is born of a love of predilection,” while reminding priests that God “has given us a special task which draws us closer to Him: to give ourselves for others.”

Acting in persona Christi
To act, as priests do, in persona Christi, “in the person of Christ,” is to be “a true icon of Jesus,” he continued, through prayer, the generous offering of one’s very self, and humility. 

Pope Francis explained that prayer means presenting “each concrete situation to the presence of God."

Self-giving, Eucharistic, offering of one’s whole being, the Pope said, involves not just a “theoretical readiness for martyrdom, but a radical acceptance that we are here to do His will and renounce our own.”

Finally, humility means “knowing that I myself am on the journey, in need of prayer, even more than those I have been called to serve.”

The Holy Father invited priests and seminarians not “to underestimate the power of the intercession of those whom God has placed in your path.” In a word, he said, “rely on the prayers of all the members of the faithful people of God; and do not forget to pray for your pastors and for me.”

Pope Francis concluded by invoking upon them Jesus’ blessing and the watchful care of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Empress of the Americas.--Vatican News

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