We are all dependant upon one another in some way. The meaning of all life only makes sense in relation to others. A child is utterly dependant on it's mother for food. Food that makes life grow. As adults, in a spiritual sense, we are utterly dependant upon our Creator and Redeemer, who gives us life, both physically and spiritually. We cannot understand the nature of His giving unless we make space within ourselves for Him to enter. A quiet recollected mind receives that Divine giving. This giving is a movement from God who gives, to us who receive or put it another way, a movement from contemplation to action . St Thomas Aquinas states that the highest spiritual perfection consists in this movement. This is shown, for example in the Gospel account of Mary and Martha. Martha's activity was not wrong, rather Our Lord says that we must begin from a state of receptivity to purposeful activity.
The essence of all worship begins in this way. Above all, in the Holy Mass we are fed with that which is given, the Bread of Life, that has come into the world. We do not take to ourselves that which we can barely understand but we receive it in child-like trust.
The Mass is always a communal act, it is the action of Christ Himself as head of the body, that is mediated through the hands of the Priest. The prolongation in time of the incarnation. Therefore the attention of the Priest and people does not lie in each other but upon the altar.
What is it, to be a priest?
This is an important question. We might say that a faithful Catholic priest allows all the little children to come to Christ (are we not all children?), and strives to enable everyone he meets to live and die in the state of sanctifying grace. A priest who tries to consider everyone whom God's Providence puts into his life to be his own potential companion in the way of the Vita Aeterna - in Beatitude - if he and they also both faithfully persevere unto the end, in Grace. For he knows that the gift of final perseverance is itself a great gift. That gift of God is never to be presumed upon. Until the moment of our death, we retain the permanent possibility of voluntarily defection from Divine Grace and from God Himself: in what Dante called "the Great Refusal". Such is the terrible gift of our human freedom, for we can only love God freely. It cannot be forced.
He must be a witness. A man whose life and faith are so completely one that when the challenge comes to step out and testify for his faith, he does so, disregarding all risks, accepting all consequences. This view is rooted in the incarnation and the incarnation's continuation in the Seven Sacraments of Christ; especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where the Eternal Himself intersects with Time, where the Sacred Mystery and Concrete Intimacy are graciously joined. Such is the Sacred action of the Mass. The Universal is present in the Particular. It is also present to our senses, especially in the Mass's sacramental visibility which elevates and draws us into our contemplation of God, with love. That is to say, from the visible to the invisible beauty, the heart with love is raised in rapt attention to God.
The humble Cure of Ars does not, in his humility, realise that his own "spiritual childhood" would awaken the souls of his little village to a greater life of grace. But the cost is at times heavy. Faced with apathy, boredom and a lukewarm response to his pastoral care, he identifies with Our Lord's mental and moral agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is a man for others, a father and shepherd of his flock whose joys and sorrows he shares. Aware of his deflects and sins, he is an instrument by virtue of God's calling to teach, govern and sanctify his people, continuing in time the same work of Jesus Christ . Whatever his personality and human skills may be, he knows that they are dependent on Divine Grace.
We have to do all we can to preserve the inner silence that brings peace to our souls. If we really want to follow the Lord we will thirst for the water that Jesus wants to give us. Knowing and loving God is something that demands time and attention. Whatever is going on outwardly in our life, He wishes to pour into us the fullness of His peace. When we are still and at peace there comes the bliss of something that cannot be put into words. Life for many is stressful and busy. In that case, each evening before going to sleep, examine your conscience and see how much you can change by God's grace. Do not put things off , for the cycle of entanglements will continue. A calm and reflective self-examination will help us deal with attachments to the world, the flesh and the devil. When you are eating, eat. When you are going for a walk, walk. Don't say "I must be doing something else". What is important is not so much what we are doing but whether we give our calm and unhurried attention to it. For the eternity of God in this life is Now, in the present moment. That is all we have, For all is His gift.