Spiritual life and pastoral work of priests go hand in hand, says Argentinean Bishop

During a Mass of ordination to the priesthood for seminarians in his diocese, Bishop Agustín Radrizzani of Lomas de Zamora, told the newly ordained a priest should “convey the peace and joy that comes from faith” and he emphasized the importance of union of the spiritual life with pastoral work.

In his homily the Bishop said, “The priest, as messenger of the Good News, should be a man who has found true hope in Christ and is committed to sharing it with others in order to build a world based on solidarity and service to those most in need.”  “The apostolic ministry to which God has called us in the priesthood is a labor of love in service to Christ and our brothers and sisters…better yet, to Christ in our brothers and sisters.  This service begins with prayer,” he said.   

According to the Bishop, “our people do not want simple formulas about God; they want us to give them God Himself.  They want to see us as someone who points to the eternal and who is capable of showing them the One who is behind all of the words and rites that we carry out,” the Bishop added.

Bishop Radrizzani also clarified that “there is no place for duality between action and contemplation, the spiritual life and pastoral work.  One should neglect neither prayer, which is necessary, nor the value of the apostolate, which as an act of love has just as much value as prayer.  Moreover, prayer should manifest itself in concrete works of service.”

“On the other hand,” he added, “pastoral work should enrich our spiritual life, giving it concrete expression in time and space, as an act of love to our neighbor.  Rather than hindering contemplation, it facilitates it, because a heart open to one’s neighbor has greater room for God.”

Finally the Bishop exhorted the new priests to live “according to the example of the saints who were in total communion with the holiness of Christ” and “to immerse themselves in prayer, translating it into works of mercy for the littlest ones, just as our beloved Mother Teresa of Calcutta did.”

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