Pope Francis penned a Letter to Priests to thank and encourage them. It was dated August 4 last, the liturgical memorial of the Curé d’Ars. Finding ourselves among the addressees, we believe that this letter, addressed to a particular group – all the priests of the world – deserves a response more than a comment, to share the echoes of these words in our hearts.
First of all, reading this letter arouses in us priests gratitude to the pope for his concern. With this letter Francis came to look for us where we are, battered and on the side of the road. He has seen how much we are aggrieved and afflicted, and he approached us with the “powerful weapon” of gratitude, urging us to renew our priestly courage and place ourselves, without delay, in the heart of the Church – in Mary – with that spirit of “praise capable of lifting our gaze to the future and restoring hope to the present.”
Francis’ addressees are not priests in the abstract. Rather, each one of us is a priest in the concrete, noticed and called by him in a very personal way.