On the Catholic Priesthood

Tuesday June 18, 2019

The Priest and the Altar


Enough the blood of victims flowed of old,

The shadows pass, and legal offerings;

Now higher Ministries, Thou, Lord, dost mold,

On which a holier shade Thy Priesthood flings.


Elias from the Heavens called down the flame;

One Greater than Elias, hid from sight,

Is here, obedient to His awful Name;

Of Him we make the dread memorial Rite.


Great Office, the mysterious Cup to bear,

In which the guilty world’s Salvation lies,

And with our trembling hands, full of deep fear,

To offer up the Bloodless Sacrifice.


Oh, more than all to ancient Prophets given,

More than to Angels, if but understood,

That in our trembling hands the God of Heaven

Doth give Himself to be our Spirits’ Food.


Grant, Christ, that we, fulfilling Thy Commands,

Of Thy blest Presence may approach the Seat,

With hearts by Thee made pure, and holy hands;

May love for Thy dread Altars make us meet.


Son of th’Eternal Father, God above,

May all the world beneath Thy Feet adore,

Who sendest down the Spirit, with Thy Love

Thy Priesthood to anoint for evermore.

Source: Lyra Eucharistica : hymns and verses on the Holy Communion, ancient and modern ; with other poems by Shipley, Orby, 1832-1916

Sunday June 09, 2019

The First Mass

                                                                                       (Image Source: GoogleBooks)

Before the altar stands the vested priest,
His face illumined with the spirit's light,
Though conscious, awed by his exalted right
To offer sacrifice.

From sin released through prayer and fast,
His strength by grace increased,
He pours the Wine of love into the chalice bright,
Lifts from the paten Life's Bread pure and white,
Invokes the Presence for the Sacred Feast,
Adores the Lamb of Whom the Saints are fed.
 The heavens part, rejoicing Angels see
Uplifted eyes, anointed hands outspread
O'er silent worshippers, while fervently
 A blessing falls with peace upon each head.
O miracle sublime! O mystery.

Source: by Rev. R.S. Dewey, S.J. The Messenger of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. July, 1891

Tuesday June 04, 2019

Priestly Vocation

A Babe on the breast of his mother

Reclines in the valley of love,

And smiles like a beautiful lily

Caressed by the rays from above.


A child at the knee of his mother

Who is counting her decades of prayer,

Discovers the cross of her chaplet,

And kisses the Sufferer there.


A boy with a rosary kneeling

Alone in the temple of God,

And begging the wonderful favour

To walk where the Crucified trod.


A Student alone in his study,

With pallid and innocent face;

He raises his head from the pages

And lists to the murmur of grace.


A cleric with mortified features,

Studious, humble, and still,

In every motion a meaning,

In every action a will.


A Man at the foot of the altar -

A Christ at the foot of the cross,

Where every loss is a profit,

And every gain is a loss.


A Deified Man on a mountain,

His arms uplifted and spread -

With one he is raising the living,

with one he is loosing the dead.


Source: Rev. D. B. Collins (NewYork), from Irish Monthly (July, 1890)

Lyra Hieratica: poems on the priesthood / collected from many by Fr. Thomas Edward Bridgett,, 1829-1899.

Tuesday May 21, 2019

A Priest’s Prayer to Our Lady

By whose unworthy hands and trembling breath

The Victim-Priest renews His mystic death;

Whose functions bind him to thy highest care,

While conscience cries: “Presumptuous man, beware!”

O Glorious Queen, thy lamp was kindled bright

In thy Conception; yet, through all the night,

Waiting the King of kings, thy prudent toil

Trimmed and replenished it with purest oil:

My priestly lamp burns dim; oh! Pray thy Spouse

Within my sluggish spirit to arouse

The grace the priestly character demands,

Pledged by the Pontiff’s venerable hands.


Source: Lyra Hieratica: poems on the priesthood / collected from many by Fr. Thomas Edward Bridgett, 1829-1899.

Monday May 13, 2019

Commemoration of a Faithful Priest


Quantis micas boneribus


Good Priest, where art thou hid from human eyes

in calm Repose,

Haply to tread the marble-shining skies

after life’s woes;

Where God’s Own Presence hath His People blest,

Himself their happy Guerdon, and their rest.


Those Virtues, in whose steps thou here didst toil,

and strive to go,

Are not put off with this thy fleshly coil,

and left below;

They now are turned to rays of Light Divine,

and glorious Crowns, which on thy temples shine.


And they for whom thou toilest in second birth,

with many a sigh,

Are with thee, like thy children, fled from earth,

and through the sky

They share thy victory the blest Choirs among,

and lift with thee the new mysterious Song.


Thou here below, dim-veiled from earthly eyes

in shadows dread,

Didst offer up th’Unbloody Sacrifice,

on Christ to feed;

He now Himself, with unveiled Deity,

of Spirits Immortal the Repast shall be.

And as a daily Sacrifice may we

Be lifted up,

Bearing our daily Cross, and share with thee

Thy Master’s Cup;

We press, like shipwrecked sailors on the wave,

To Shores where Christ doth stretch His Arms

to save.


To Him, Who governs His own Priestly Host,

Himself their Crown;

To Him with Father and with Holy Ghost,

be all renown:

All praise to Him as hath been heretofore,

All praise to Him both now and evermore.


Source: Lyra Eucharistica : hymns and verses on the Holy Communion, ancient and modern ; with other poems by Shipley, Orby, 1832-1916

Sunday April 21, 2019

Day 48 - April 21 - Easter Sunday - Annual Confessions

If Easter were prolonged to Pentecost, you would not go to Confession until Pentecost, or if the latter did not come around for ten years, you would go to Confession only every ten years. Indeed, if the Church did not give you a commandment about it, you would not go to Confession until death. What do you think of that, my dear brethren? Does it not mean that you have neither regret for having offended God, Who requires you to go to Confession, nor love for God, Who requires you to make your Easter Communion? Ah you will say to me, that's all very well. We do not make our Easter duty without knowing why.


Ah! You know nothing at all about it! You do it from habit, to be able to say you have made your Easter duty, or, if you would prefer to speak the truth, you would say that you have added a new sin to your old ones. It is not, therefore, either love of God or regret for having offended Him which makes you go to Confession or make your Easter duty, or even the desire to lead a more Christian life. And here is the proof of it: if you loved God, would you consent to commit sin with such ease, and even with so much enjoyment? If you had a horror of sin, as you should have, would you be able to keep it for a whole year on your conscience? If you had a real desire to live a more Christian life, would we not see at least some little change in your way of living?


No, my dear brethren, I do not wish to talk to you today about those unfortunate people who tell only half their sins through fear of not making their Easter duty or of being refused Absolution – perhaps even for the sake of covering up their shameful lives with the veil of virtue and who, in this state, approach the altar and are going to complete their dreadful work by handing over their God to the Devil and precipitating their sacrilegious souls into Hell.
No, I dare to hope that this does not concern you, but I will continue, nevertheless, to tell you that going to Confession only once a year is not something about which you should feel any peace or satisfaction.