Priests must be living extensions of Christ in a flawed world, bishop’s new book says

Bishop David Ricken
Bishop David Ricken

.- Bishop of Green Bay David Ricken has published a book for priests to help them build their bond with Christ and strengthen their priestly identity. In a fallen but redeemed world, he writes, priests must never lose sight of their role as “living extensions of Jesus Christ.”

His book, “Be Thou My Vision: Meditations on the Priesthood,” asks what it means to be a priest in “these times of illusions and false prophets.” A press release describes the work as a series of short meditations that will lead priests n a contemplative journey that will deepen and renew their love for their vocation.

Bishop Ricken notes world conflicts, a “pagan and secular society where almost anything goes,” broken families and Church scandals as some of the problems priests must deal with.

“Like it or not, this is the world redeemed by Jesus Christ,” he writes. “This is the world to which we are commissioned to bring hope and cheer — the promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Priests should be living examples of His hope, His cheerfulness, and His promise.”

Christ is “with us and beside us every step of the way,” the bishop continues. “We are living extensions of Jesus Christ, and once we lose sight of this truth we lose the most powerful tool in our spiritual arsenal: a living sense of that bond we have with Jesus Christ, with the God Who created us and led us into the priesthood.”

Bishop Ricken’s book comes in the Year for Priests, initiated by Pope Benedict XVI on June 19, 2009. Opening the year, the Pontiff noted the need for priests to have an “inner strength” and “spiritual firmness” to safeguard their priestly identity and to avoid the negative effects of “the worldly mentality.”

“Be Thou My Vision” is published by the Creighton University-based Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, Nebraska.

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