Friday, September 3, 2010

A Priest Forever: Nine Signs of Renewal and Hope

Though A Priest Forever: Nine Signs of Renewal and Hope is written by a priest to other priests, I found it to be an interesting read filled with a number of stories, excerpts from homilies, and official church documents that prove there are many more than just a few good men who have dedicated their lives to Christ and His people. Though I ultimately decided to read and review this book because I plan to give it to a brother in Christ who is discerning the priesthood, I also felt it would be wonderful to read some more of the positive aspects of the vocation since so often the media only brings out the worst when writing or talking about men of the cloth.
In this short, easy-to-read book, Alfred McBride, O. PRAEM., describes what he refers to as “the nine pathways to the resurrection of the priesthood.” He devotes an entire chapter to each of the following suggested pillars of the priesthood: 1.) stay close to Christ 2.) the Eucharist 3.) the Church’s social teachings 4.) prayer 5.) priestly identity 6.) faith-filled and faithful preaching 7.) forgiveness 8.) devotion to Mary 9.) chaste living. At the end of each chapter there are five reflection questions to help the reader, whom the author expects is a priest, meditate and evaluate his own relationship with Christ and His people. However, many of the questions are ones that would be good for any and all Catholics to ask themselves. Reflecting on certain ones of them would be a very good way of evaluating possible strengths and weaknesses when it comes to an individual’s spiritual growth.      The only drawbacks of this book are the number of typos and copy editing faux-pas. Because this book is so clearly written specifically for priests and is probably marketed as such, it’s likely to slip through the notice of many laypersons that would really enjoy it.
Because A Priest Forever: Nine Signs of Renewal and Hope underlines the aspects of the priesthood which make a servant of Christ strong in his vocation, this book deserves a wider audience than ordained Roman Catholic priests. Besides the more obvious people who could benefit from having this on their reading list, such as seminarians and deacons, laypersons in the church and clergy from other faiths could certainly glean some wisdom from these pages and would be inspired by the stories therein.
I would recommend reading this book. In exchange for an honest review, I received a free copy of A Priest Forever: Nine Signs of Renewal and Hope which you can purchase here from The Catholic Company.  Be sure to check out their great selection of Mary statues.
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