On the Catholic Priesthood
St. Augustin admonishes us :"When, either through the neglect of prelates, or by some necessity, or through unknown causes, we find that wicked persons are in the Church, whom we cannot correct or restrain by ecclesiastical discipline, let not the impious and destructive presumption enter our heart that we should imagine ourselves obliged to separate from them."
All scandals and excesses should be put to the charge of human frailty and perversity. The authority of the Church rests on the commission given by Christ, which is unqualified and perpetual."
Source: A Vindication of the Catholic Church in a series of letters addressed to the Rt. Rev. John Henry Hopkins, Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Vermont by Archbishop of Baltimore Francis Patrick Kenrick. 1855
Christ Loved the Church
Treading the Nazareth vale and mountain side,
Growing in age and grace with God and men,
Still to His parents subject; even then
Wedded was Christ's young heart to one fair Bride.
Oft for the mystic nuptial rite He sighed.
Fulfilling years and grace, He filled again
The measure of His love, nor rested when
Of love's excess upon the Cross He died.
Christ loves His Church, throughout all time His Spouse,
The all-fair Mother of an offspring born
And bound to Him in more than carnal ties.
In all things like the Master, may our vows
Of love for Mother Church both night and morn
Arise and mount unbroken to the skies!
Source: The Messenger of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Vol. VIII Feb, 1893
Priests without Name or Reputation
The world is at present afflicted with a strange malady; it is in the throes of a feverish intoxication; it is like a sick man writhing in pain; it is harassed and tortured by the burning fever of impiety.
But when God shall determine to put an end to these convulsive movements, what will He do? Will He raise up astute politicians and powerful rulers who will restrain as with fetters of iron the seething passions of men? No.
Will He send profound philosophers and great orators to recall these peoples by eloquent speech and powerful reasoning to a sense of their duty? By no means.
What, then, will He do? He will do what He has done in every age when He wished to heal the wounds of society and restore it to moral soundness. He will send apostles chosen for this special work, priests without name or reputation, but strong in strength of faith and holiness of life; these He will send, bearing a cross of wood into the midst of nations invaded and desolated by the demon of pride and the lust of greed and sensuality: Go, ye swifts angels, to a nation rent and torn in pieces, to a terrible people, to a nation expecting and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled.
Thither will these apostolic men go, urged on by the Spirit of God. Error and vice will flee at the sight of them, and a purified land will bring forth a new generation of men, full of life and adorned with every virtue: Thou shalt send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created: and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Source: Jesus Living in the Priest: Considerations on the Greatness and Holiness of the Priesthood by Rev. Fr. P Millet, S.J. 1901
Who are the priests to whom even the world cannot refuse its esteem and confidence? Are they not precisely those who hold themselves furthest aloof from its vanity and dissipation, and refuse to share in its feasts and diversions?
Such priests fully realize that those who are called to their state should be grave and serious men., They are never seen meddling in other people's business: they live in retirement and silence: they are not anxious to get news, rather they prefer not to know many things which would serve no purpose except to gratify curiosity; they avoid encumbering their memory and burdening their mind with the silly stories and gossip of the world, while their holy faith furnishes them with so many sublime truths on which they can occupy their thoughts with profit and pleasure. In all this they but imitate our Blessed Mother, of whom St. Ambrose beautifully says: She sought no companionship except that of her own thoughts, and she was never less alone than when she seemed alone.
Source: Jesus Living in the Priest: Considerations on the Greatness and Holiness of the Priesthood, Rev. Fr. Millet, SJ 1901
Preachers and Priests
Truly, says St. Teresa, if preachers and priests of God's word make so few conversions, it is because there is still in them too much of the human, too much of worldly wisdom, and too little of the divine fire with which the Apostles were aglow, too little of that heroism which made the saints despise shame and infamy, torture and death, when there was question of giving glory of God and gaining souls for Him.
Oh, what a treasure is a holy priest for a parish, for a city, for a diocese and often for a whole kingdom! What good will he not accomplish? There was a time when twelve men were enough to convert a whole world.
Source: Jesus Living in the Priest: Considerations on the Greatness and Holiness of the Priesthood by Rev. P. Millet S.J. 1901
Death of a young priest
Oh! to think of him as Priest,
One short moment at the feast
Of the King.
One short season ’mid the vine,
Where the workers prune and twine,
Weep and sing.
It is well, as priest and man
‘Twas a guileless course he ran
Who can say
What sorrow, what deep dole,
Lay in wait for the young soul
Fare thee well; God grant thee rest,
And thy birthright’ mid the blest
May He give:
Thou didst speak His word, and break
The Life-Bread immortals take -
Thou shalt live.
Source: Rev. Dr. Howley, Ave Maria (June 1886)
Lyra Hieratica: poems on the priesthood / collected from many by Fr. Thomas Edward Bridgett,, 1829-1899.
Pomp and Vanity
"No, I do not believe that there ever existed in the world so much pomp and vanity, so much impurity, as at the present day; to find in the world's epoch so criminal, we must go to the days of Noe and the universal deluge. the inns in the cities and villages are filled with persons of abandoned character; they are so numerous that the entire world is infected by them... Avarice and usury increase under the disguised name of contracts, Simony reigns among the clergy, envy among the religious. Gluttony prevails to such an extent in every rank of social life that the fasts of Lent, the vigils and Ember days, are no longer observed... In a word, vice is held in such great honour that those who prefer the service of God to that of the world are held up to scorn as useless ans unworthy members of society."
Source: St. Vincent of Ferrer, The Angel of the Judgment, by F.r Andrew Pradel, O.P.