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 loving nature and God's dream of justice and peace 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 and wounded souls to consciously receive the gifts of the One who gives. God desires authentic companionship with us--a relationship where we do not simply offer adoration to God, but rather share frankly about all we are experiencing in our daily lives 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 bringing together those closest to us in prayer. As lay people, we have the freedom to pray this prayer anywhere and at any time.
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 and ask God to hear you, to comfort you, and to offer the salvation God has repeatedly promised and faithfully delivered throughout the ages.