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PORUTHUR Joseph, Chennai says,
Priestly Purity, Temperance and Peace.
By Stev, Pinto, Bernard, PT
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Chennai, Apr. 4. Each priest has a singular privilege of being chosen by God from birth. They might have grown up in different environment and circumstance. They might have had varied experiences.  But once they are priests they are faced with the big challenge and responsibility of being pure and balanced. They ask, ``Is it possible to be pure and balanced in this world? Is it possible to have peace in this changing and sophisticated world?`` These are the basic and genuine questions that taunt a priest as he goes about living his life in this world. They may think that to live a pure and balanced life are just some pious exhortations and may not be possible at all. But nothing is impossible with God. It is possible with the help of God. More than believing in this they need to experience this in their life. They will experience this after many struggles and temptations. But once they are victorious they will get peace.

Dear Fathers and Brothers,

We would like to share with you the message on Priestly Purity, Temperance and Peace.

Each priest has a singular privilege of being chosen by God from birth. They might have grown up in different environment and circumstance. They might have had varied experiences.  But once they are priests they are faced with the big challenge and responsibility of being pure and balanced. They ask, ``Is it possible to be pure and balanced in this world? Is it possible to have peace in this changing and sophisticated world?`` These are the basic and genuine questions that taunt a priest as he goes about living his life in this world. They may think that to live a pure and balanced life are just some pious exhortations and may not be possible at all. But nothing is impossible with God. It is possible with the help of God. More than believing in this they need to experience this in their life. They will experience this after many struggles and temptations. But once they are victorious they will get peace.

Purity
It is a struggle to be pure always. Being pure does not mean only keeping our body, mind and soul pure but keeping the whole life pure. Lay people think that Priests have no worry or difficulty. A priest`s external demeanor may give an indication that everything is peaceful and well. But they go through a struggle within to remain pure. Very often they do not speak about it openly with anyone. They keep it with themselves. They need not share it with anyone either. For it is God who chosen them and therefore they need to talk to Him alone.

Chapel
A Priest has ample opportunities in his house to talk freely with God. There is a chapel in each of their houses. They pass by it umpteen number of times. But they do not think to step in for a visit. They hesitate to greet God who is living but do it freely to greet people those whom they know any number of times with a smile, or with a `hello` or `hi`.

Initial Formation
God created human beings. God specially chose each priest from out of all the people in this world. They go through various stages of formation. Faith and fear of God are instilled in the various stages of formation. They pick up positive things as well as negative things in the seminary. They at times are negatively influenced in the seminary by the formators themselves. They undergo internal and external suffering.  They also have some bitter experiences in the seminary which in turn affects their life as a priest. Once they are priest they tend to take it out on others or live their life harboring all the ill feelings within themselves. All these happen because the formators as well as the formees are not prayerful, have no basic fear of God, impure and not balanced.

Anointed Hands
The Hands of a priest is anointed and Blessed. It is a symbol of purity. But do they use their hands to do good things? Do they keep those hands pure? Do they bless people aware that their hands are blessed? Do they think of God when they bless people? Many priests due to their own life style are not able to realize the sacredness of their hands and their vocation. They live just like common people. This seems to be the trend in many houses.

Community
In communities if ten people are pure and one is not pure, the life lived by the person who is impure will definitely affect the life of the persons who are pure. The community living will be besieged with problems such as tension, no peace, constant misunderstanding, open conflicts etc. Externally it may seem that everything is going on well with that community. But internally they are like white washed tombs.

Holy Eucharist
The priest celebrates the Holy Eucharist for the people in communion with God. It is a service. Inner sanctity and external purity is a requisite for this holy celebration. It is using their hands that they give the Body and Blood of Jesus to the people.

While celebrating the mass the hands of the priests need to be clean. Care should be taken not to fiddle with their nose, face, eyes, ears or other parts of the body. They indulge in these unhealthy gestures because they lack purity. Their thoughts are not on God. They do it as a duty and do not experience the presence of God in their hearts. If the priests are able to focus their thoughts on God, they will have inner peace.

Celebrating mass has become a competition and a profession. They are worried about the number of people who attend, how to impress and collect fund from them. Instead, they need to think of inner sanctity and how can they go close to God.

Confession
People come to priests for confession. The sins confessed by the people to the priests are also at times committed by the priests themselves. The priest gives them pious advices. But they do not change themselves for better. If they cannot practice what they preach how can they be pure and sincere?

Conclusion
The primary responsibility of the priest is to be pure whether they are in the Confessional or celebrating the Holy Eucharist, in their rooms or with friends. If they follow this they will be balanced. If they are pure and balanced, they get peace.  Basically if they are faithful to God they can be pure, balanced and experience peace within.

Affectionately in Don Bosco,
Fr. Stephen Joseph sdb
Fr. Sagaya Francis Pinto sdb
Fr. John Bernard sdb
Fr. P.T. Joseph sdb

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