Ten years ago today, I was ordained a priest.
Currently there is not much in my day-to-day life that looks especially “priestly”. I may not have worn my alb and stole at all so far this year. I don’t think I’ve presided at the Eucharist. I may have worn a “clerical shirt”/dog collar once or twice.
It isn’t what I would have imagined being a priest would be like. For the first few years of being a priest I would have worn vestments and presided at the Eucharist most every week. Even when I began at the university four and a half years ago, I thought that there would be weekly Eucharist and other places where my “priestly ministry” would be expressed more formally. (And for a time there was).
My bishop probably gives the same talk to all ordinands. A priest, he tells you, is someone who has “time for you”. He talks about the importance of having time, of not being busy; of being on the side of the poor and marginalised, the broken-hearted, the widow and orphan (for); and of seeing people in their particularity, of seeing them as beloved of God (you). At least that’s how I remember the talk.
It’s easy to be sucked into busy-ness. To feel the need to be productive. Anyone who’s seen me in the last couple of weeks wouldn’t have got the sense that I was a person with “time for you”. Nor time for anything but crossing off lists and getting things done. I’ve all but forgotten my vocation.
For me, being a priest is about resisting the urge to be “useful” and “productive”. It is attempting to live as if I know that humans are of value by virtue of their being rather than their doing. And offering that recognition to everyone I come into contact with. Beloved of God. Human being.