It is not surprising that in this 21 st century and with all the corruption in the Church, that secular priests and seminarians are struggling to create and maintain a meaningful and supporting spirituality.
I believe I have the answer.
Let priests and seminarians adopt the spirituality lived by Charles de Foucauld.
Brother Charles was born into a wealthy and devout Catholic family in France in 1858.
By the age of 14 both his parents had died and Charles concluded that thete was either no God, or a cruel God.
For the next 14 years of his life Charles became an unbeliever and practiced every debauchery he could. During this time he joined the French army.
At 28 he was desolate and wrote: “I am a young man for whom it is all over”
One evening he was passing a church and saw the lights on and went in and sat at the back.
It was as if the sermon that night had been composed especially for him.
He returned to faith, joined the Cistercians and was ordained a priest.
He then felt called to return to the Sahara desert and minister to the Toureg tribe there.
He set up a hermitage at Tammanrasset which considyer of a living quarters and a chapel.
He spent his days worshipping Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist and receiving and welcoming callers to his desert hermitage.
Some days no one called. Other days many called
His callers stopped to rest, eat, drink, talk, sleep. Charles welcomed them as he would welcome Christ.
Charles focused his whole life on welcoming Chrost in the Eucharist and on welcoming Christ in others.
If he were worshipping Christ in the chapel and someone came to the door, he simply switched to worshipping Christ in the brother and sister at the door.
He had no surgery hours. He was a 25/7 priest.
On December 1st 1916 robbers raided his hermitage and shot Charles. Charles fell dead into the desert sands. The robbers scattered the consecrated hosts on top of him.
A PRIESTS SPIRITUALITY
The suitability of Charles spirituality is absolutely suitable to diocesan prirsts.
The worship and service of Christ in the Eucharist and in the Brother and Sister.
No complicated formulas. No long rule books. No surgery hours.
Just simple service.
There are also Jesus Caritas groups for priests where the spirituality of Brother Charles is studied and practised – meeting once a month for prayer, support, a day in the desert etc.
More than ever before priests and seminarians need a simple, supportive and edifying spirituality.
Bishops should make the spiritual development and nourishment of their priests the Number One priority.
“Nemo day quod non habet‘.
You cannot give what you have not got.
A priest can’t convey spirituality to his people if he does not have a spirituality himself.
This lack of spirituality is at the very root of all the Church and priesthood’s problems.