Reflections on the Sacred Priesthood
From the Preface:
“To our lay brothers and sisters we also dedicate this book, to help them better understand, value and support their dear priests, the wounded and the beaming ones alike. In particular, we hope that seminarians and young men still discerning their calling might draw inspiration from this short presentation.
We beg for the leniency of the informed reader towards what is not a systematic treatise. Concision led us to reserve for a separate publication the essential topic of The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Priest – although Our Immaculate Lady is referred to in various chapters. Similarly, a thorough assessment of the importance of the Sacred Liturgy in the life and ministry of priests will have to be addressed separately, God willing.
Chapter One is The Fourteen Stations of Priestly Apostasy. The slow demise of a fictional priest, after a recent film, is the occasion of detailing various precautions and securities which we priests would do well to apply. In Chapter Two, Ordained a Priest in Dachau, the beautiful figure of Blessed Karl Leisner proves that Christ can make priests strive in the worst possible surrounding. In a way, this is the dynamic antidote to the fateful failure assessed in Chapter One. Chapter Three is about Handling the Right Body. It explores the deep sacramental motive for priestly celibacy and for the manly fulfilment of the priest in his identification to Christ and his service to the Church. In Persona Christi is our longest chapter (Chapter Four). It provides various angles to ‘unpack’ the well-known expression according to which priests act ‘in the Person of Christ’. Chapter Five, Unfolding the Holy Shroud, refers to the relic of Our Lord’s Shroud to illustrate the priestly mission to teach revealed truth in fidelity and persuasiveness. In Chapter Six, we examine Priestly Unity and Concelebration. Our non-polemical approach exhorts us priests to identify always more precisely what we really mean to do and achieve at Holy Mass. Building the Bride is our Chapter Seven. With recourse to exegesis, it shows the correspondence between the shaping of Eve and of the Church. Christ the Bridegroom empowers his priests to fulfil this spousal design. Our eighth and last chapter: Consecrated to God, Body and Soul, sets the priesthood within the broader calling to consecrated life, including the religious one. It opens up the reflection and invites young readers in particular to enter the lists with confidence.
We thank you for your interest, reader friend, and we commit this slender opus to our glorious models St John Vianney, St Padre Pio, St John Fisher, St John Henry Newman and all our heavenly intercessors, that it might please Our Lord and Our Lady, and might foster, however modestly, priestly sanctification.”