On the Catholic Priesthood

Wednesday October 23, 2019

Church Postures

Ye would not sit at ease while meek men kneel
Did ye but see His face shine though the veil,
And the unearthly forms that round you steal,
Hidden in beauteous light, splendent or pale
As the rich Service leads. And prostrate faith
Shroudeth her timorous eye, while through the air
Hovers and hands the Spirit's cleansing Breath
In Whitsun shapes o'er each true worshiper.
Deep wreaths of Angels, burning from the East,
Around the consecrated Shrine are braced,
The awful Stone where by fit hands are placed
The Flesh and Blood of the tremendous Feast.
But kneel - the priest upon the Altar-stair
Will bring a blessing out of Sion there.

Source: Poems by Fr. Frederick W. Faber

Tuesday October 22, 2019

The Papacy

That such a Power should live and breather, doth seem
A thought from which men fain would be relieved,
A grandeur not to be endured, a dream
Darkening the souls, though it be unbelieved.
August conception! far above king, law,
Or popular right; how calmly doth thou draw
Under thine awful shadow mortal pain,
And joy not mortal! Witness of a need
Deep laid in man, and therefore pierced in vain,
As though thou wert no form that thou shouldst bleed!
While such a power there lives in old man's shape,
Such and so dread, should not his mighty will
And supernatural presence, godlike fill
The air we breathe, and leave us no escape?

Source: Poems by Fr. Frederick W. Faber

Monday October 21, 2019

The Deplorable Results of Ignorance in a Priest

The ignorance of priests and the disorders which follow upon it very largely account for the loss of faith and morals in a country.

This the enemies of the Church know perfectly well. When at the outbreak of the French Revolution the clergy were called upon to take the oath to the Civil Constitution, Mirabeau said: Educated priests will refuse to take this oath, and once we have driven them out and brought the cloisters into disrepute, we can replace them with men destitute of faith and morals, who will do more to aid us in robbing France of her Catholicity than we can possibly do with all our decrees.

Source: Jesus Living in the Priest: Considerations on the Greatness and Holiness of the Priesthood by Rev. Jacques Millet S.J., 1901

Saturday October 19, 2019

The Church

Who is she that stands triumphant,
Rock in strength, upon the Rock,
Like some city crowned with turrets,
Braving storm and earthquake shock?
Who is she her arms extending
In blessing o'er a world restored;
All the anthems of creation
Lifting to creation's Lord?


Hers the kingdom, hers the scepter,
Kneel, ye nations, at her feet;
Hers that Truth whose fruit is Freedom;
Light her yoke; her burthen sweet!


As the moon that takes its splendor
From a sun unseen all night,
So from Christ, the Sun of Justice,
Evermore she draws her light.
Hers alone the hands of healing,
The Bread of Life, th'absolving Key;
The Word Incarnate is her Bridegroom,
The Spirit hers, His temple, she.


Hers the kingdom, hers the scepter,
Kneel, ye nations, at her feet;
Hers that Truth whose fruits is Freedom;
Light her yoke; her burthen sweet!


Empires rise and sink like billows;
Their place knoweth them no more:
Glorious as the star of morning
She o'erlooks the wild uproar.
Hers the household all embracing"
Hers the Vine that shadows earth:
Blest thy children, mighty mother,
Safe the stranger at thy hearth;


Hers the kingdom, hers the scepter,
Kneel, ye nations, at her feet;
Hers that Truth whose fruit is Freedom;
Light her yoke; her burthen sweet.

Source: The Holy Family Manual,Sisters of Notre Dame, Ohio 1883

Friday October 18, 2019

Chastity

Jesus Christ having so dignified chastity in His own person left it to His priests as the most beautiful adornment of their priesthood and the greatest glory of their ministry. A priest whose reputation is clean and whose morals are pure is dear to the heart of God and useful to His Church; whereas, on the contrary, a priest whose morals are not beyond  reproach, a pastor who is not chaste, what sort of a priest, what sort of a pastor is he?

Source: Jesus Living in the Priest: Considerations on the Greatness and Holiness of the Priesthood, By Rev. Jacques Millet 1901

Thursday October 17, 2019

Zeal

Whoever the priest is who does not strive to do something more than his predecessors have done, who does not seek out new means by which to draw men from the torrent of iniquity in which they are being lost, is a priest who suffers himself to be beaten by the wicked, and a pastor who sleeps while the wolves are devastating his fold. 

Be up and doing, then ye priests and pastors of souls; set to work promptly with all earnestness and zeal to do something for these men. 

Source: Jesus Living in the Priest: Considerations on the Greatness and Holiness of the Priesthood by Rev. Jacques Millet, S.J. 1901

Wednesday October 16, 2019

Forward!

My God, if only priests clearly understood and fully appreciated the tremendous power which unity of doctrine, unity of hierarchy and, above all, their divine mission confer upon them; if only they had a living faith and an abiding trust in Him from whom they received their mission; if only they worked with the zeal, charity and disinterestedness of the first Apostles, the whole world would be subdued and kneel at their feet. They are more potent than statesmen with all their political craft and subterfuge; they are more potent than even kings and emperors with their armies; they are the depositories of a great moral force which alone can move the world.

Forward, then, O priests of the Lord; forward, with the sword of the Word and the shield of faith, all obedient to the same Head, all animated with the same spirit; diocesan priests and regulars, young men with the oil of consecration still fresh upon your hands, old men, veterans of the Sanctuary, forward, as one man; vice and error will flee at your approach, victory will be yours and the world will be saved.

Source: Jesus Living in the Priest: Considerations on the Greatness and Holiness of the Priesthood by Rev. Jacques Millet, S.J. 1901

Tuesday October 15, 2019

Vocation to Missions Among the Infidels

  And He spoke to them this parable, saying, What man of you that hath an hundred sheep,
 and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert, and go
after that which was lost till he find it ? And when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders,
rejoicing." — St. Luke xv. 3—5.

 Go after that which was lost.
 In this Parable Jesus Christ indicates Himself, Who (says St. Gregory) left the choirs of
Angels in Heaven, and, in order to fill up the number of His flock in Heaven, sought lost
man upon earth. And the Priest who leaves the charge of devout souls in order to visit
 the land of infidels, and to seek the salvation of those lost souls towards whom Jesus
has such compassion, is a follower of this Good Shepherd, Who came down upon earth
 to seek the lost sheep.

Most necessary is it to have pity on those who are perishing (says St. Cyril). This is a most
 noble vocation, for it is similar to that of the Son of God ; most glorious is this destiny, which
 renders the Missionary a partaker of the Apostolate. The Apostles were to "sit upon thrones "
 (St. Luke xxii. 30) — to be " the salt of the earth," "the light of the world," "the light put upon a
candle-stick" (St. Matt. v. 13, 14, 15); and the rewards promised to them — " the hundredfold "
of that which they had left, and the thrones" on which they should "judge the twelve tribes of Israel"
(St. Matt. xix. 28) — represent the infinite value of the recompense reserved for them, and for all
those who are partakers  of the Apostolical ministry. Happy those who " are numbered with them
and have part in this ministry" (Acts i. 17) ! whereas to many others God says, " Thou hast no part
nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of  God " (Acts viii. 2 1 ).
What worldly glory can be put in comparison with that of a man thus truly Apostolical ?
 How many good works, what great virtue, what abundant merits, are his! How sweet will death
 become to him ! How superabundant his happiness in Heaven !

Source: Meditations for the Use of the Clergy by the Oblates of St. Charles





Monday October 14, 2019

The Priesthood of the Word made flesh

St. Cyril of Jerusalem teaches that Christ was Priest before all ages,
 anointed by the Father in His eternal generation, so that His Priesthood 
had not its beginning in time, but is immutable. This Priesthood consisted
 not in humiliations, in sufferings, in prayers, but in knowing the Father,
 in acknowledging Him as the source of the Godhead, and Himself as true God 
of true God. It consisted (according to St. Thomas) in saying to Him,
 "Thou art my Father," " I am in Thee, and Thou in Me; I love Thee and honor
 Thee with an infinite love and infinite glory; for infinite is the love 
which Thou bearest Me, and infinite the glory which Thou hast communicated to Me." 

He united this Priesthood with His temporal Priesthood when He assumed human nature;
taking from us (as St. Augustin says) that which 
He would offer for us. The Word (says St. Ambrose) appeared clothed with flesh, in His 
dignity of King and of Judge, and full of sacerdotal justice. Our guilt could not be 
cancelled without a sacrifice, and therein a sacrifice was sought. The Son (says St. Gregory)
took our nature, but not our sin, and offered Himself a sinless Victim. His Incarnation 
was itself a Sacrifice which lasted His whole mortal life, was consummated upon the Cross,
and is continued in glory at the Right Hand of the Father, and on our altars on earth.
In the womb of Mary (says Dionysius of Alexandria) the King of Glory was made a High 
Priest; and He continueth such for ever, now that He has entered once into the Holies,
having obtained eternal redemption.

 Let us adore our great High Priest, in Whose hands is our salvation. 

Source: Meditations For the use of the Clergy, Oblates of St. Charles 


Sunday October 13, 2019

Do Not Be Afraid

Do not be afraid, if you find yourselves in the minority. "Woe to you when men shall bless you!" You must be censured if you are the disciples of Jesus Christ. The world that hated Him will not love you. "The disciple is not above his master, not the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord." "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?" And therefore, if you have the mark of the world's hatred upon you, accept it; press it to your bosom. It is the token that you are the disciples of the true and only Master. If you have the world's favor and sunshine, look to yourselves.

There is a dark future before the world. What it may be, God alone knows. The Church will have to suffer; but there is a light upon it, and that light can never fade. We are in evil times, marked deeply by the four great evils of which I have spoken. Around us are "evil men and seducers, who grow worse and worse, erring, and driving into error. " "Many shall come in my name," our Lord has said, "and seduce many"; and because of their iniquity the love and the charity of the many shall wax cold. Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be wars and pestilences in many places. But the end is not yet. This is only the beginning of troubles. Keep close to the footsteps of the Master who spoke those words; and, when these signs are in the sky and upon the earth, remember that He also said, "When these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption is at hand."

Source: Catholic Oratory, Discourse from the pulpit, Cardinal Manning 1891

Saturday October 12, 2019

The Priest

"And the people were waiting for Zachary." St. Luke, i. 21.

As morning breaks or evening shadows steal,
Duties and thoughts throng round the marble stair,
Waiting for Him who burneth incense there,
Till He shall send to bless them as they kneel.
Greater than Aaron is the mighty Priest
Who in that radiant shrine for ever dwells,
Brighter the stones that stud His glowing vest,
And ravishing the music of His bells,
That tinkle as He moves. The golden air
Is filled with motes of joy that dance and run
Through every court, and make the temple one.
-The lamps are lit; 'tis past the hour of prayer,
And through the windows is there lustre thrown,
Deep in the Holy Place the Priest doth watch alone.

Source: Poems by Fr Frederick W. Faber.

Friday October 11, 2019

The Temple

"Know you not that your members are the Temple of the Holy Ghost?" I Cor. vi. 19

Come, I have found a Temple where to dwell;
Sealed up and watched by Spirits day and night
Behind the Veil there is a crystal Well.
The glorious cedar pillars sparkle bright,
All gemmed with big and glistening drops of dew,
That work their way from out yon hidden flood
By mystic virtue through the fragrant wood,
Making it shed a faint unearthly smell.
And from beneath the curtain, that doth lie
In rich and glossy folds of various hue,
Soft showers of pearly light run streamingly
Over the chequered floor and pavement blue.
Oh! that our eyes might see that Font of Grace,
But none hath entered yet his own heart's Holy Place.

Source: Poems, Fr. Frederick W. Faber

Thursday October 10, 2019

Thanks to the Holy Spirit for Celibacy

The Holy Spirit decreed that this obligation should be specially imposed on Priests, in order that they might not be hindered from prayer, and from the daily celebration of the holy mysteries ; as St. Jerome and St. Peter Damian declare. In this state, also (as St. Ambrose says), Priests have a better title to speak in praise of chastity, and to urge the practice of it, since they give example of it in their own person. It enables them also to gain greater respect from the laity (as St. Augustin explains). Moreover, in a state of chastity, Priests can consecrate themselves wholly to the service of the Church and the sanctification of souls, and are able to bestow their ecclesiastical revenues on the poor. Let us, then, give thanks to the Holy Spirit for having made us Priests of the Latin Church, and for having given us so many brilliant examples of chastity among her clergy.

Source: Meditations For the use of the Clergy, Oblates of St. Charles

 

Our Best Help in the Spiritual Life

In the Catholic Church, our greatest treasure, and the source of our strength and consolation, is the Most Adorable Sacrifice of the Mass, offered with faith and hope, with thanksgiving and love, in union with the merits and intentions of the Divine Victim, the Son of the Living God.

It has been well said that the Mass, the Sacrifice offered on our altars, is, to the Catholic , the sun of Christianity, the soul of Faith, the center of the Christian religion, the grand object of all the Church's rites, ceremonies and Sacraments - the summary, in a word, of all that is good and beautiful in Divine worship and the service of God.

It is no mere form of prayer, but a great and solemn Sacrificial Act offered through Jesus Christ unto the supreme honor of God alone, our Creator and Sovereign Lord. At this august Action, the faithful assist intelligently and fruitfully even when they are so far from the Altar that they cannot hear what is said. At no time since the creation of man was the world without visible sacrifices offered to God. In the Prophecy of Daniel it is foretold that at the coming of Antichrist "the continual sacrifice shall be taken away" (xii,2); and one of the chief acts of the so-called Reformation in the sixteenth century was to suppress this holy Oblation.

Alas! how great is the loss which they suffer who neglect to hear Mass, a loss which they will most bitterly regret, at least in the life beyond the grave.

Some laugh at the custom of hearing daily Mass, and say: "No one that wishes to get on in the world can do such a thing." If they succeed in putting together some wealth, how dearly that success is bought if it drew them on to neglect even Sunday Mass and other grave obligations! When they come to die, how little consolation will such riches give! Will not those persons cry out then, "What hath pride profited us, or the boasting of riches brought us? These things are passed away like a shadow." In the next live, if they see the faithful souls who loved Holy Mass, and lived for God only, they will say: "We, fools, esteemed their life madness and their end without honor. Behold, how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints" (Wisd. v.6)

Our model in offering the Holy Sacrifice in union with the priest is our Blessed Lady at the foot of the Cross, offering her Divine Son unto the honor of God for the redemption of the world. We should associate ourselves with her, and desire to have the same perfect disposition of soul as she had on Calvary, and we should ask of her to intercede for us that we may worthily offer the Adorable Sacrifice and share in all its benefits. Everyone who assists at Mass is an offerer of the Sacrifice with the priest. The prayers said in the plural number by the celebrant for those who are present, the mention by him of the people as offerers, and the responses spoken aloud by the server, all show that the persons present at the Mass are true offerers of the Sacrifice, and are liturgically associated with the priest.

Source: Within the Soul: Helps in the Spiritual Life, a Book of Little Essays by Fr. Michael J. Watson. 1914


Wednesday October 09, 2019

Reapers of the Harvest

To hasten the triumph of the Church, all must be animated by an energetic and practical spirit of zeal, and must labor as Apostles to spread the faith according to their opportunities. Bearing in mind that union is strength, they should maintain perfect charity with one another and with their pastors. It is too often forgotten what important help and encouragement they can give the clergy by fervent prayer for the increase of vocations, for ecclesiastical students and for all priests, the young, the middle-aged and the old, for the strong and zealous as well as for those who are weak and in affliction, and they can help too, by showing sincere respect for the priestly office, and heartfelt sympathy in a priest's trials.

Let fervent petitions, then, ascend daily to the Lord of the harvest that He may send forth many true laborers intro the harvest; and let each of us work for God with courage, with unbounded confidence in Heaven's protection, and with genuine love towards all men, that we may lead all to Christ, and to the possession and consolation of the truth as revealed by Him. Then shall there finally be "one body and one spirit, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all" (Eph. iv. 4-6). And the Church shall rejoice in the fulfillment of the Divine promise: " The Gentiles shall walk in thy light and Kings in the brightness of thy rising...and the children of them that afflict thee shall come bowing down to thee, and all that slandered thee shall worship the steps of thy feet, and shall call thee the City of the Lord, the Sion of the Holy One of Israel" (Isa. Lx. 3-14).

Source: Within the Soul: Helps in the Spiritual Life, a Book of Little Essays by Fr. Michael J. Watson. 1914

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