On the Catholic Priesthood
Hymn of St. Francis Xavier
My God, I love Thee, not because
I hope for Heaven thereby;
Nor because they who love Thee not,
Must burn eternally.
Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me
Upon the Cross embrace;
For me didst bear the nails and spear,
And manifold disgrace;
And griefs and torments numberless,
And sweat of agony;
E'en death itself - and all for one
Who was Thine enemy.
Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ!
Should I not love Thee well?
Not for the sake of winning Heaven;
or of escaping Hell;
Not with the hope of gaining aught,
Nor seeking a reward;
But, as Thyself hast loved me,
O ever-loving Lord!
E'en so I love Thee, and will love,
And in Thy praise will sing;
Solely because Thou art my God,
And my eternal King.
Source: Beautiful Pearls of Catholic Truth, 1897
Prayer for the Church
O good Jesus! Our Master, deliver Thy servants from the persecutions of their enemies. Have pity on Thy people and turn their sorrow into joy. In the disordered state of society, there is no one to whom we can have recourse, unless to Thee, O God! Cast Thine eyes upon Thy Church; she mourns and Thou alone can come to her assistance. Lord, give not over Thy servants to those who hate us, and let them not triumph over us. Remember us, O Lord, and deliver us from our afflictions, Thou who livest and reignest for ever and Ever. Amen
Father Thomas Price
The diocesan phase for the Cause for Beatification and Canonization of Father Price was opened on March 9, 2012.
Please join us in prayer for
Heavenly Father, You so inspired Father Thomas Frederick Price with love for You and zeal for the Gospel that he dedicated his life to serve You and Your Church, first in North Carolina, his home state, and then in the foreign missions. Grant that by his example we may grow in holiness and into a deeper union with Our Lord Jesus Christ. Help us to be authentic witnesses of the Gospel and proclaim the Holy Name of Jesus throughout the Diocese of Raleigh and to all the people and in all the places we are sent to love and serve.
If it be according to Your Will, glorify Your servant, Father Thomas Frederick Price, by granting the favor I (we) now request through his prayerful intercession (mention your request here). I (we) make this prayer confidently through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Source: Cure d'Ars Prayer Group
The bishop saying Mass, administering the sacraments or preaching the Gospel is the most perfect image of Christ. He does so according to the laws of the universal church. In him the clergy and people see Christ the Bishop of eternity. "He that receiveth you receiveth me. He that despiseth you despiseth me." That relates not only to the Pope. to the bishop, but in a less degree to any pastor, to any minister of Christ. For the ministers of Christ preach not themselves but "Christ and Him crucified."
The bishop is the head of the diocese. He is the father of all the faithful in the diocese. For he brings forth his spiritual children, his priests and clergymen by rite of holy ordination. They are the images of himself. The Priests he ordains are his sons whom he brings forth to God. He feeds his children by the words of life, by good example, by heavenly food, by the teachings of eternal life.
Happy is the diocese and the clergy who have a bishop after the heart of Jesus Christ, who lives the life of the Master.
The good bishop loves his clergy; looks on them as a father on his children; he upholds the good priest; he rewards the men of God; he defends the weak; he treats them with justice, benignity, gentleness, kindness; he is clothed with the bowels of the mercy of Jesus Christ, with forgiveness looking down from on high on those who falter on the way.
Behold his name will be called blessed, his clergy and people will love him, they will uphold him; like Moses on the mount, they will stand under his weary hands, strengthening him till he gains the victory over all enemies of the Lord and of his church. Both clergy and people will love him because he is "like unto the only begotten Son of God full of grace and truth" who "for us men and for our salvation left the bosom of his Father, came down from heaven and was made man and dwelt among us: to show pastors how to rule their subjects.
We admit without the slightest reservation that the celibacy of the clergy is of vital importance to the Catholic Church in the prosecution of its divine mission. None but an unmarried clergy could wield the influence or win the credit or authority needed for the successful guidance and government of the faithful of Christ. None but unmarried clergymen are fitted to go as missionaries to foreign lands and labor there for the conversion of souls. This statement is amply borne out by the history of non-Catholic missions. The missionaries of Canada, the Far West, and South America have a unique place in history owing to their self-sacrificing devotion. How changed their story would be if wives and offspring and domestic finances figured in its pages!
Nay, even in Christian countries none but unmarried priests could risk their comfort, to say nothing of their lives, as Catholic priests do today in their ministrations to souls. Without her unmarried clergy the Catholic Church could never have accomplished all that she has in the course of centuries. The salutary influence of clergy upon people which is one of the fruits of celibacy may be styled universal dominion if our critics are minded to call it such; we shall not make that a casus belli.
The objector seems to regard the compulsory element in celibacy as the secret of the Church's power; but in no absolute sense does the Church compel any of her children to be celibates. No one is under nay obligation to enter the priesthood. To force one into the priesthood is forbidden by the laws of the Church. It is only after a voluntary reception of the higher orders that one is obliged to remain unmarried; and the obligation then imposed upon her clerics by the Church is justified and to a great extent necessitated by the nature of their clerical functions.
Why should it be a reproach to the Church to require in candidates for the prieshood conditions that will make them more efficient priests! Add to this the fact that the young men who present themselves for orders not only voluntarily but cheerfully make this sacrifice of their liberty in order to devote themselves the more to God and the Church.
But we are told that celibacy is contrary to the teaching of the Bible. Strange that the statement should be made by only one who has read the Bible. Is it not well known that Christ have the highest praise to voluntary celibacy when it was chosen for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and that St. Paul places voluntary virginity far above the married state?
When Protestant readers of the New Testament come to the seventh chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians they would do well to pause awhile and ask themselves whether they have ever understood the plain meaning of that chapter, which really seems to be very Catholic and very un-Protestant. Let them read that chapter as well as the nineteenth of St. Matthew, referred to above, and if then they can regard the effect of celibacy on morality as dubious, their opinion is clearly at variance with the words of Christ and His Apostle.
Source: The Catholic's ready answer; a popular vindication of Christian beliefs and practices against the attacks of modern criticism. 1915
Priests' First Saturday
"As recently as 1934 the General of the Salvatorians suggested to Pope
Pius XI that one Saturday each month might become a day specially
devoted to prayers for priests. Pius XI agreed wholeheartedly, declaring
that he praised and blessed the suggestion, and since 1934, bishops of
more than fifty European dioceses have recommended this practice. How
does one take part in Priestsʼ Saturday? It means offering the Saturday
after the First Friday of the month wholly and entirely for the
sanctification of priests throughout the world; offering Mass and Holy
Communion together with all the prayers, actions, joys, sorrows of the
day and offering it all to Christ through the hands of Mary. Priestsʼ
Saturday is intended to help all priests--the Pope, the bishops,
missionaries, all who teach in seminaries and schools, the contemplative
religious, the parish priests. For some people a weekday Mass will be
impossible. Still they can make an offering of their whole day, and they
could say this prayer at least once on Priestsʼ Saturday:"
Source: Priests' Saturday
A Good Pastor
A pastor, undertaking, as he does, to purify the hearts of others, and to wash away every blemish, should be chaste in thoughts and clean of hand. He should be foremost in action , operatione praecipuus, lest he refute by his conduct what he preaches by his lips, lest the limpid stream at which he drinks become muddied by his own footsteps. There is no one who does more harm in the Church than he who possesses the rank of the repute of holiness without the reality
Source: The priest today by Rev. Thomas O'Donnell
The Preacher who likes applause.
What is the end of a preacher? Is it to please? To gain applause? To obtain promotion? Or is it to give men life; to make them " Sorrowful unto penance"?
I am of opinion, writes St. Francis of Sales, that a preacher ought not to aim at the gratification of the ear, which is the result of artifice, of worldly elegance, of merely ornamental oratory. He who desires to please his audience says only "pleasant things". The craving for applause blinds him to the truth. He relies almost exclusively on the persuasive words of human wisdom, he makes little or no account of the Word of God, which ought to be the chief source of sacred eloquence, and he speaks in a style more suited to the platform than to the pulpit, more profane than sacred.
Hence there arises amongst the people and even amongst the clergy, a vitiated taste in respect to the Word of God, which gives scandal to the pious and no profit to the incredulous; for these latter, although they sometimes come to the church, especially if attracted by such high-sounding words as Progress, Fatherland, Modern Science, and loudly applaud the preacher, go forth from it no better than they entered.
Source: The Priest of Today, Rev. Thomas O'Donnell
Christ could not give his divine nature to his clergy, for that would make them sons of God by nature as so many Gods. But he gave them his supernatural power, that is his Priesthood, his complete power over his mystic body the church. But the powers or faculties and the acts of creatures are not the same, for they cannot be infinitely perfect like unto God, who is the infinite Act, because of his infinity simplicity God cannot be divided.
In the Priesthood given to men the power of holy orders is the substance while jurisdiction is the regulation of the acts, or the exercise of these holy orders. By ordination or by holy orders we come forth from Christ. Then we are born into his eternal Priesthood. As Adam is the father of the race according to the flesh, so Christ is the father of Christians according to the Spirit. By natural birth we come forth from Adam while by supernatural generation we come forth from Christ. Each person baptized is born again of "Water and of the Holy Ghost." By confirmation we are strengthened by his Holy Spirit. But by holy orders we receive in a higher way the Holy Ghost the Spirit of Christ, for by that we enter in to his eternal Priesthood.
The World Hates Truth
The world has decided accordingly that there is no certain truth. What must be its attitude then toward any institution which puts itself forward as the organ of THE TRUTH?
One of hostility necessarily. Is there such an institution?
There is: the Church.
The Church and (this) century therefore are enemies. The world of today does not admit any Truth; it does not want any exponent of the Truth. The world and all that are of the world agree to say there is no ONE truth, and that is the doctrine she, alone, imparts. Therefore the world must hate the Church. For let the world put on what garb of impartiality it will, it knows that is and the Church are foes; and he who is the Prince of this world, above all knows that she is his foes, and destined to crush his head.
Our Duty to non-Catholics
It may be readily assumed that every sincere Christian is zealous for the spread of the Gospel and desirous to communicate its light and peace to others. Christ sent His followers to announce the good news throughout the world and to bear testimony to the truth, as He did, by their words and their lives. He who is not with Him is against Him; and the individual or congregation that becomes self-centered, that does not earnestly wish "all men to come to the knowledge of the truth," that in no way strives to enlarge God's kingdom, such an individual or such a community is weak in faith, stagnant in charity, and already in the early stages of decay.
It is true that the Church is indefectible, that the terrific forces arrayed against her can never prevail. But the extent of her victory from year to year, the number of those who submit to her, will in the last resort depend upon the militant spirit of all her members, laity and clergy alike, upon their energy in making known the truth, upon their skill in combating error, and upon their zeal in kindling in men's hearts the fire the charity which Christ brought down from Heaven. The practical question, therefore, arises, What is our duty to our separated brethren and non Christians? How are we to remove their prejudices and convince them of the truth? Is it by sermons and instructions directed at them? By controversy? By satire? By ridicule? By a self-satisfied superior attitude of aloofness? No, not by these methods, but quietly and wisely, by prayer, by grace, by good example, and by the character of our own lives and the lives of our people. By our fruits shall we be known.
What benefits does Catholicity bring to to individual or to society? that is the test question of outsiders.
Are Catholics no better than others - perhaps not even as good? that is often their greatest difficulty.
If, on the contrary, Catholics are good citizens, upright and honorable, if their home-life is pure and peaceful, if they are reverent and rich in faith, then the Church will be respected, hungry and thirsty souls will be satisfied, and the true religion will need none of the "slings and arrows" of theological controversy.
The divine lineaments of Catholicity, if not lost or obscured in its local presence, are sufficient to convince any thoughtful enquirer. "The Church herself," says the Vatican Council "...is an enduring motive of credibility, an irrefragable proof of her own divine mission, like unto a standard unfurled to the nations, calling on those who have not yet believed, and giving certainty to those who have." Her marvelous unity and symmetry, her under caying vigor and buoyancy, her broad human sympathies, her manifold methods of satisfying the restless human heart; above all, the peace, the purity, the steadfast of her children - those are the features, the well marked outlines, that proclaim the divinity of our creed and its title to be not merely the truth but also "the way and the life." "If we do our duty," that is, if by our lives, by our sympathy, and by the intelligent exposition of our doctrine we keep alive the Christian ideal of manhood, "truth will make progress among our non-Catholic fellow-citizens, and once made Catholic, they will by their zeal and activity rank amongst the most loyal and most devoted of the children of the Church." " It is not controversy, above all not biting controversy, not even argumentative discussion, that will bring souls to the Church, but rather exposition touched with piety, explanation warmed with devotion; the presentation of faith, not a system to be accepted, but as the holding lovingly fast to what God has taught." It is not a syllogism that touches and converts men - it is virtue, it is God's grace. Augustine was captivated, not by the reasoning and learning of Ambrose, but by this kindness and courtesy.
"Faith of our Fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach thee, too, as love knows how,
By kindly words and virtuous life."
Faithful Dispensers of the Mysteries of God
How important it is that priests should be faithful dispensers of the Mysteries of God. With what interior and exterior reverence they should treat Sacraments and ceremonies. How pure ought be their hearts, how decorous their outward bearing, how free from levity their words and looks; in the house of God and in all the functions of the ministry how modest and reverent ought be their whole deportment.
Yet it sometimes happens that the influence of the liturgy and its sacred accessories is weakened, even spoiled, by the negligence if not irreverence of a priest. He loves not the beauty of God's house, he neglects the altar, he allows vestments and altar linen to be shabby and soiled, he talks unnecessarily in the Divine Presence, he genuflects in a slovenly way, he robs the sacred Mysteries of their native dignity, he hurries through the ceremonies of the Mass as if rushing for a train, he administers the Sacraments in a perfunctory fashion, he mumbles his sermons, he recites the Rosary and other prayers with a sort of mechanical routine, at offices for the Dead he betrays an utter lack of sympathy and reality.
What wonder if onlookers are disgusted rather than edified, if their confidence is shaken, if they come to the conclusion that such a priest hardly believes what he professes!
The Blasphemer and the Monk
No one can be saved without exertion on his part. Some foolish people assert that no man can influence his destiny.
A Franciscan monk, Dunn Scotus by name, was one day walking alongside a field where a laborer was at work, cursing and swearing all the time. The monk begged him to desist, telling him if he used such bad language he would surely go to hell.
The Man answered: "if God has decreed that I shall go to hell, no prayers will avail me anything; if He has decreed that I shall go to heaven, I shall be saved, however much I curse and swear."
"If so," the priest rejoined, "I cannot understand why you are plowing this field. For if God has decreed that you shall have a good crop, you will have one although you do not cultivate your land: but if He has decreed that the harvest shall fail, all your labor will be in vain." The peasant replied that if he did not till the ground there would certainly be no harvest. The priest smiled, and said: "There, you have just reversed your former argument." Thus the man's eyes were opened to the falsity of fatalism.
The Atheist and the Christian
An unbeliever said once to a good and faithful Catholic: "O unhappy Christian! How terribly you will find you have been deceived, if heaven is only a fable!"
The Catholic answered: "O unhappy atheist! How terribly you will find you have been deceived, when you discover that hell is NOT a fictitious place.!
Our Savior in associating with Himself certain men to continue the work of redemption reserved to Himself the direct and immediate action on souls. He works through the priest, who is only His minister and instrument. If the instrument works according to the required conditions, its action is free and produces the desired effect. But if the instrument is corrupt and wicked, its action is impeded and produces no effect.
Source: Jesus Living in the Priest, The General Idea of the Priest by Rev. Fr. Jacques Millet