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A focus on vocations to the priesthood – The Church and Vocations – The Initiative

By Fr. Hien Nguyen

The Church and Vocations

1.2 Human Formation-continued from last week

Human formation also includes the knowing that a human person is “a reality divided within itself and attracted to progressive and regressive opposites, (virtues and sin, love and selfishness, awareness and indifference, freedom and slavery, etc.).” In recognizing his own weaknesses, the priest grows in choosing the positives. In doing so, he presents himself with an abundance of human virtues which render him worthy of esteem by those around him. He must instill the virtues of fortitude, justice, prudence, and temperance. “This demands that the priest not be arrogant, or quarrelsome, but affable, hospitable, sincere in his words and heart, prudent and discreet, generous and ready to serve, capable of opening himself to clear and brotherly relationships and of encouraging the same in others, and quick to understand, forgive and console.”

A man who has received good human formation can relate to others: people, things and God. He is a man of affective maturity and works well with others. He treats people fairly and is a good steward of the material blessings. He is joyful and knows when to laugh and when to cry. He acquires appropriate boundaries in his friendships and relationships with both men and women. This boundary of affective maturity requires him to understand, expand, and strengthen the true meaning of freedom. This freedom “requires the person to be truly master of oneself, determined to fight and overcome the different forms of selfishness and individualism which threaten the life of each one, ready to open out to others, generous in dedication and service to one’s neighbour.” He is called to live interpersonally towards the fulfilment of self and others, and when being mature of heart, mind and will, he will be capable of transcending the self to the point of opening out to the divine, by whom he is loved and whom he loves.


John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, 84, n. 43.
Cencini, A., Spiritual and Emotional Maturity, 67.
Congregation for the Clergy, Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priest, 75.