The feast of St Jean-Marie Vianney, patron of all priests. What a life! What a priest! In this holy man God has offered us priests a marvelous example of how to be a priest. St Jean-Marie helps us realise that priesthood is not a function, but rather a way of life.
Theology speaks of an ontological change in the soul of a man ordained to the priesthood - a change at the deepest level of his existence, by this we understand that priest is not a mere functionary, he is not ordained to do things, but rather to be someone - a priest. He is not the same as others, he is not a man like other men. Priesthood is not a job, but a vocation, but also a transformation and a conforming - conforming to Christ the High Priest.
When we speak of a priest being altus Christus, another Christ, we are not talking about his work, his being good or nice, its not about his following the example of Jesus, but it is deeper, it is a conforming to Christ at the deepest level of his soul, of his being. And that happens at this level regardless of the man's attitude, abilities or intentions. The living of priesthood is one in which priests must come to understand this change which has already taken place and orientating his life in accordance with it. This is what St Jean-Marie did. May he help us priests to do the same.
Please pray for us priests, that we will be made worthy of this astonishing vocation God has given us.