embrace your priesthood
Through baptism, each one of us has a share in the priesthood of Christ--that is, the sacrifice of self in ways that make real and visible God's dream of justice and peace and love for all creation. This "common priesthood" is lived out by lay people in ways that both nourish and are nourished by the ordained priests who take vows to serve, form and lead us in our faith.
One of the unique ways that lay people can exercise our priesthood is by praying the Liturgy of the Word. The Liturgy of the Word is typically overlooked as a valuable tradition of prayer in the Catholic Church. We are profoundly blessed with the sacred Mass--the font of our faith lives. But because the Mass is so essential, it has been esteemed to the exclusion of the Liturgy of the Word.
Yet, the Liturgy of the Word offers its own life-giving encounter with God. Through scripture and ritual, the Liturgy of the Word helps us create space in our cluttered hearts to consciously receive that which is given by the One who gives. God desires authentic companionship with us--a real relationship where we do not simply offer adoration, but rather one where we share frankly with God about all we are experiencing, and openly ask for that which we need to fully participate in the life that has been given us.
While the Liturgy of the Eucharist is reserved to ordained priests, the Liturgy of the Word can be led by any baptized Catholic. Our baptism empowers us to exercise our priestly ministry by gathering those around us for meaningful prayer about things that matter. And, as lay people, we have the freedom to pray the Liturgy of the Word anywhere and at any time. We do not need to wait for the priest to lead us.
If you find yourself struggling to navigate life's circumstances, pray the Liturgy of the Word. Gather friends and family and join with the Spirit in offering yourself to God. Share with God all that you grieve and fear, all that you hope and dream. God desires to hear you, to comfort you, and to offer the salvation God has repeatedly promised and faithfully delivered throughout the ages.