By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Preparing for the priesthood, seminarians must remember both the joy of being called by God and the real sacrifices they will be called to make, Pope Francis told young men preparing for the priesthood at the seminary of Barcelona, Spain.
A particular way of praying the rosary — with special meditations on the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries — could help avoid “two temptations: to focus on the bad, taking into account only negative experiences; or to try to present an idyllic and unreal world,” the pope wrote.
Welcoming the seminarians to the Vatican Dec. 10, Pope Francis handed them the speech he had prepared for the occasion, although he did not read it to them.
In the text, the pope cited the “priestly rosary” of St. Manuel González García, a Spanish bishop who died in 1940.
The first joyful mystery “from which everything is born,” the pope said, is realizing that one’s vocation is a call from God to serve.
A priest, he said, is called to give himself for the redemption of the world, making Jesus “present in the Eucharist, in the sacraments, in the word, to be born in people’s hearts, to be his instrument in everything and always.”
When meditating on the sorrowful mystery of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, seminarians should be honest about how “God asks us for sacrifice, sacrifice of the heart, renouncing our will,” the pope said.
Rather than seeking status, honors or praise, he said, “we must aspire to the crown of thorns that identify us with the Lord,” picking up one’s cross and following him.
“Does this sound difficult? It is not,” the pope wrote. “Simple things are enough: a hard bed, a small room, a sparse and poor table, nights at the bedside of the dying, getting up early in the morning to open the church before the coffee shops, and waiting,” praying alone with Jesus and being available to accompany “the sinners and the wounded on the journey of life.”