It's hard! ... It's hard being a pastor these days!... Being a parish priest nowadays is like squaring the circle!
Some of us have the luck of living in a parish with a resident priest, ready to meet us when we ask for it - and according to his availability, of course!... But are we sure that we have never had (or said aloud) even one of these thoughts?
If he preaches for over ten minutes... He never ends!
If he speaks of the contemplation of God... He's delusional!
If he mentions social issues... He's turning to the left!
If he is doing some outside work... It's because he's got nothing to do!
If he remains in the parish... He is cut off from the world!
Forgive us, Lord, for our ingratitude, may You be praised for the priest You have given us, bless our priest and have mercy on our critical demeanor.
If he baptizes and marries everyone... He cheapens the Sacraments!
If he becomes more demanding... He wants a Church only for the "pure"!
If he remains in the rectory... He won't see anyone!
If he pays visits... He's never in the rectory!
Forgive us, Lord, for our "consumer spirit", may You be praised for the priest You have given us, may our priest be blessed, and have mercy on us for our selfishness regarding the one who gives up his life for You in order to open heaven for us.
If he's popular with kids... His religion is childish!
If he does construction work in the church... He's throwing money away!
If he does nothing... He's letting everything ruin!
If he collaborates with the laity... He's being led by the leash!
If he doesn't... He's too authoritarian!
Forgive us, Lord, for our malicious thoughts, may You be praised for the priest you have given us, bless our priest and have mercy on us for our lack of charity for the one who sanctifies our souls by giving us the Eucharist.
If he has an easy smile... He's too close!
If, distracted or concerned, he has not greeted someone... He's too distant!
If he's young... He's got no experience!
If he's aged... He should retire!
Forgive us, Lord, for our mediocre and narrow thoughts, may You be praised for the priest you have given us, bless our priest and have mercy on us for our lack of compassion, affection, support for the one who has need of these things, because he is a man like us, but so precious for all the Sacraments only he can provide.
Father and Master of the harvest, raise among us men who will choose to live for You and at the service of their brethren, by annoucing your Word, by celebrating the Mysteries of Salvation, and by uniting your people. We pray to you for all the priests and we thank you for those you have given us. Bless them, and make their work fruitful.
Our Lord, by the action of the Holy Spirit, make your appeal heard today in the Church. That each one of the baptized finds joy in serving You for the glory of the Father and the salvation of the world. Amen.
Guy de Kérimel, Bishop of Grenoble-Vienne.[Translated and adapted; tip: Le Forum Catholique]