" "The apostle is a chalice full to the brim with the life of Jesus, and his overflow pours itself out upon souls." _ Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Of Priests, the Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

(Slightly modified version of a March 28, 2013 post)

When Jesus told His followers that unless they ate His Body and drank His Blood, they could not have eternal life, large numbers left and never returned. Their initial repulsion to this direction was understandable: who would want to eat the flesh and drink the blood of another living human being?

Yet, many had come to believe that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. They had either heard of or actually witnessed countless miracles evidencing His Divine nature.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Why did they not realize that He would never ask the impossible of them or fail to provide them the means with which to fulfill His command?

His apostles had no greater understanding of, or fondness, for what Jesus was commanding them to do. But when Jesus asked them if they too would leave, Peter, answering for himself and for the other apostles save for Judas, replied: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
So they stepped out in faith, accepting this “difficult” teaching without fully understanding it. Their faith was rewarded at the Last Supper when Jesus, using the basic elements of a common meal - bread and wine – transformed the substance (but not the outward appearance of those items), into His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, gave them to His apostles to eat and to drink, and empowered His newly ordained priests and their legitimate successors to do likewise.  This world has never been the same.

[Today] This Holy Thursday as we commemorate the institution of the Eucharist, the ordained priesthood and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we would do well to spend a few minutes reviewing and reflecting on the three questions and answers that follow.

What is a priest?  

“What is a priest? We must begin by purifying ourselves before purifying others; we must be instructed to be able to instruct, become light to illuminate, draw closer to God to bring Him close to others; be sanctified to sanctify; lead by the hand and counsel  prudently. I know whose ministers we are, where we find ourselves and to where we strive. I know God’s greatness and man’s weakness, but also his potential. The priest is the defender of truth, who stands with angels, gives glory with archangels, causes sacrifices to rise to the altar on high, shares Christ’s priesthood, refashions creation, restores it in God’s image, recreates it for the world on high and, even greater, is divinized and divinizes.” – St. Gregory of Nazianzus

What Is The Eucharist?

“Material food first changes into the one who eats it, and then, as a consequence, restores to him his lost strength and increases his vitality. Spiritual food, on the other hand, changes the person who eats it into itself. Thus the effect proper to this sacrament is the conversion of a man into Christ, so that he may no longer live, but Christ lives in him; consequently, it has the double effect of restoring the spiritual strength he had lost by his sins and defects, and of increasing the strength of his virtues." St. Thomas Aquinas 

What Is The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

"When the Host is held on high and a chalice lifted…look up! Look up and see what Mary saw. See a naked man squirming as He bleeds against a blackened sky; see a battered human body, writhing on a tree, prisoned there by savage spikes that have torn through Sacred hands and feet; see thorn-tortured head tossing from side to side as anguished torso labors, lifts and strains; see the eyes of God roll towards heaven beseeching, as broken lips blurt out that soul piercing cry: “My God, My God, Why has Thou forsaken Me?” What is this? This is the Mass. This is Crucifixion. This is what Mary saw at the elevation of Christianity’s first Mass. This is what you should see at the Elevation of every Mass!" – Father M. Raymond, O.C.S.O.

May I suggest one additional thing for you to do? Right now and several times every day hereafter, pray for  all our priests, pray that they will become holy priests whose lives will be centered upon and devoted to the Eucharist, and pray that they will embrace and fully live their call to be “another Christ”.

1 comment:

  1. Prayer for Sanctification of Priests

    O Jesus, eternal pastor of souls, hear our prayer on behalf of our priests and hear in it thy own eternal desire. Are not priests the object, of thy most tender and exquisite care, that profound love in which are summed up all thy affections for souls? Let us confess our unworthiness to have good priests. But thy mercy is infinitely greater than our folly and wickedness.

    O Jesus, grant that only those ascend to thy priesthood who are called by Thee; enlighten pastors in their choice, inspire directors with a spirit of counsel, and teachers in the cultivation of vocations. Give us priests who are angels of purity, models of humility, seraphs of holy love, heroes of self-sacrifice, apostles of thy glory, and saviors and sanctifiers of souls.

    Have pity on the ignorant who should be enlightened, on the sons of toil who call for someone to save them from error and redeem them in thy name, on all the children and youths who cry for such as may save them and bring them to Thee, on so many who suffer and have need of a heart which will find them consolation in thine. What a number of souls would arrive at perfection through the ministry of holy priests!

    Then, O Jesus, have compassion again on the crowds who hunger and thirst. Grant that thy priesthood may bring to Thee fainting humanity, and let the earth be once again renewed, the Church exalted, and the reign of thy Heart established in peace.

    Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the Eternal Priest, and thou thyself a priest at the altar, who hadst for thy first son of adoption St John, the beloved priest of Jesus, who didst preside in the cenaculum, mistress and queen of the Apostles; deign to utter with thy sacred lips this our humble prayer; do thou make its accents to penetrate to the Heart of thy divine Son, and, all-powerful in thy supplication, obtain for the Church of thy Son Jesus a perennial renewal of Pentecost. Amen