THE PRIESTHOOD: AWESOME AND HUMBLING by Father Angelus Shaughnessy...remember him from EWTN?
Where would we be, or what would we have without the Catholic Priesthood?
It was the priest who received us into the Church at our Baptism - - made us members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ - - channeled faith, hope and love right into our souls.
It was from the hand of the priest that we received our First Holy Communion; and God willing, it will be from the hand of the priest that some day we will receive Holy Viaticum, our last Holy Communion, our food for our trip into eternity.
It is the hand of the priest that raises itself in absolution over us in the confessional. With just a few words ("I absolve you") he is able to wipe away the crusted filth of decades.
For a priest to restore the life of God to a soul is a greater achievement than the creation of the world at the beginning of time. (St. Augustine).
Near the end of our life it will be the right thumb of the priest that dips itself in the oil of the sick to anoint our foreheads and the palms of our hands with our last anointing, Extreme Unction.
It is only the hand of the priest that raises itself officially in blessing over us in the name of Mother Church.
He it was who blessed your marriage sacramentally with the grace of Jesus Christ.
He it is who receives and holds sacred your most guarded secrets.
As St. John Mary Vianney (Patron saint of parish priests) would say: "Leave a parish without a priest for twenty years and idolatry will reign there. They will worship beasts."
When the wicked want to destroy religion they begin by attacking the priest because they know that where there is no priest, there is no sacrifice; and where there is no sacrifice, there is no true religion. A Church without an altar, a Church without a priest is a Church that is spiritually bankrupt.
If the priest offered only one Holy Mass, his 20-21 years of schooling would have been recompensed and paid back a million times because at the Consecration of that one Mass the all powerful Son of God becomes obedient to the words and command of his priest to take up residence under the form of bread and wine.
At the moment of Consecration the priest assumes the personality of Jesus Christ Himself, so much so that if the priest would ever dare to say over the bread: "this is the body of Jesus Christ" instead of "this is my body", the Consecration would never take place.
If you ever want to know what makes the vow of chastity and/or this promise of celibacy possible for a very normal, male, Catholic priesthood - - what makes it possible, bearable, fruitful, and I daresay even joyful, it is the power we have with just a few words to bring the Son of God right down into the cradle of our hands, to feed our own souls with Him and literally to put God right into your mouth.
With such power over the presence of the Risen Lord, we might be tempted to think we are some sort of super human beings. So the Church with the wisdom of centuries intervenes and says: "Priest, you make a promise of celibacy for a lifetime; that will keep you humble, because of and by yourself you could not begin to keep such a commitment for even an hour."
Invited early on from tender years to make such a sacrifice authentically, the priest is disposed to approach the altar with confidence. No one dare approach the altar of sacrifice without first having made the sacrifice the Lord requests.
SIGN UP FOR HIS NEWSLETTER! Father Angelus Shaughnessy, Order of Friars Minor Capuchin Saint Clare of Assisi Friary, 622 Delaware Ave. Clairton, Pa 15025 web site: www.fatherangelus.com e-mail: mailto:email@example.com