One of the great joys and privileges of being a priest is hearing confessions, to listen to a fellow sinner sincerely seeking to follow Christ more faithfully. To offer a few words of counsel (I rarely say very much, preferring instead to stay out of the Lord's way), to give a penance, to speak the words of absolution is more fulfilling than can be put into words.
This morning I heard confessions for a retreat with high school students from the St. Louis area. One of the priests who was to help had a funeral this morning so I spent more time hearing confessions than I expected but was profoundly touched by the honesty of the penitents and of their desire for greater union with Christ.
There are those who are concerned for the future because of the youth of today; I am not one of them.
The life of a priest is truly a blessed, rewarding and fulfilling life. Priestly ministry - given my weak constitution resulting from my arthritis - often leaves me nearly exhausted, but always happy even if I do not always look it.
We priests sometimes refer to it generically as the great Sunday slump, a state in which physically a priest is fine, but spiritually, emotionally and pyschologically there is little left and he ambles along in a zombie-like state. I'm about in that state now so if I'm rambling along, I trust you'll forgive me.