Through his whole being the priest must be Another Christ! For he is, by sacramental ordination, Christ prolonging his redemptive mission among men ‒ the eyes, hands, tongue and feet of Christ in every age, amid every generation.
The priest must seek to be, without compromising on principles, the pier where everybody’s boat can dock: “But we became gentle among you, like a nurse would cherish her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to give you a share not only of the Good News of God but also of our own souls, because you had become very dear to us.” (1 Thess 2:7-8). In the confessional and outside the confessional, in his every contact with souls must be sensed a motivation like that of Saint Paul: “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls” (2 Cor 12:15)
When the priest can say: “I have become all things to all”(1 Cor 9) due to a supernatural spirit (and not because of political correctness), he knows he is fulfilling his fatherhood. For he is alert to the fact that he is a father who is for his children:
“Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you; for children ought not to lay up for their parents, but parents for their children. I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls” – 2 Cor 12:14-15.
Dads who go sleepless in order to help their wives take care of the new-born child, who rise at barbaric hours to make enough money to ensure a good school for the children, who take on extra-hours of work in order to earn enough money for a child’s medical needs: such are the sacrifices dads make. And the priest makes similar sacrifices: rising in order to be at the death-bed of a Christian, spending long hours in the confessional to heal the wounded, on his knees for hours of prayer winning graces from Heaven for his spiritual children. He follows the divine counsel given through St. Paul’s urgings to Timothy: “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”( 2 Tim 2:1,3).
Priests in order to be steadfast in making sacrifices, have to remain on a war-footing during the days of peace: They fullfill Christ’s watchword: “Be vigilant and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Mt.26:41). Alertness is theirs’ through daily mental prayer, the Particular Examen, frequent confession, prayed Masses and Holy Communions, and regular fasting.