Monday, August 29, 2011

Artist and Priest

These two vocations, while complementary in many ways, are also very different from each other. One of the ways they are most different is in terms of relating to others.

Being a priest is being "other" centered. He is by definition an intercessor on behalf of someone else. This requires a great deal of self-sacrifice in the form of serving others and ministering to them in the name of Jesus Christ. This is especially true for parochial priests who have a regular cure of souls, and even more especially true for married clergy (such as in the Anglican tradition) who in addition to church responsibilities have family responsibilities as well.

Being an artist on the other hand is in many ways being "self" centered. To achieve excellence in his craft he must spend a great deal of time alone, producing and perfecting his art. Interruptions by others are very taxing and disruptive to the creative process. Artists have to be stingy with their time if they ever hope to achieve excellence and success.

In short, both vocations require self-sacrifice, but in very different ways. This tension is one that the artist-priest simply has to live with and try to hold in balance. That is what I try to do, and believe me it is very hard to do!

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