Today is the feastday of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622), best known for encouraging people to find the form of spiritual practice that best suits their station in life. Married people are not well advised to act like monks, and those active in the world should not have to hammer their spiritual life into a mode designed for those who are withdrawn from outer concerns. We each have to find the way that matches “our character, our station, and our calling.”
The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged, and fresh, just as he found them. True devotion does still better. Not only does it not injure any sort of calling or occupation, it even embellishes and enhances it. (from The Introduction to the Devout Life, 1:3)
We might learn something from Francis de Sales, as his comments about devotion could easily be transferred to priesthood. Instead of trying to wedge our priesthood (lay or ordained) into some model inherited from larger churches with professionalized clergy, maybe we can take time to ponder how our priesthood is best expressed in accord with our character, our station, and our calling.
Everyone will not wear a funny outfit, or have a title or a public ministry. A priest might just as easily be a mother working at home, or a businesswoman in a corporate setting, whose ministry is largely invisible to those without eyes to see. We can also ponder how priesthood (perhaps in very hidden ways) can “embellish and enhance” all the rest of our life, even our Day Jobs!