On the Catholic Priesthood
Day of Great Reparation: Thursday of Sexagesima week
According to the writings of Mother Catherine Mectilde de Bar, the Day of Great Reparation takes place on the Thursday of Sexagesima week, this year today on February 28. Mère Catherine was a French Benedictine who lived in 17th century and was the foundress of the institute of the Benedictines of the Perpetual Adoration.
From Fr. Kirby's page: (http://vultuschristi.org/index.php/2019/02/reparation-3/#respond): "In her meditations for the Feast of Reparation, solemnized on the Thursday of Sexagesima week, Mother Mectilde de Bar reflects on the sins of those who serve in the sanctuaries of the Lord. The Church, in her desolation, cries, O you who have some love for me, you who know all the glory that my Bridegroom deserves, see and consider if there be any sorrow like unto mine. O you, ministers of the Lord and friends of the Bridegroom, the Bride address these laments to you. Hasten to relieve her pain by making reparation for the affronts to Jesus Christ; give Him the glory that others would strip from Him. Having once shown the disorders of the children of Israel to the prophet Jeremias, the Lord led him to the entrance of the temple; He ordered him to pierce an opening in its wall, and to look upon what was going on inside. The prophet obeyed, and says that therein he saw even greater abominations. Who, alas, does not grasp that this is but a figure? Who does not know that the sanctuary is the theater par excellence of the Lord’s ignominies? Who does not know that, alongside of priests who are fervent and truly divine, there are priests who are lukewarm and indifferent, priests who are wicked […]? And so, the Church, in calling [us] to reparation, begs us not to forget the outrages made against the glory of her Divine Spouse by His own ministers. Yours it is, she says, to expiate the sins of the Sanctuary; yours it is to bear the weight of the sins of the priesthood. Let us enter into these intentions of the Church, and united in spirit with what remains on earth of fervent Christians, and of priests pressed by the charity of Jesus Christ, let us strive to repair the outrages of indifference and impiety; let us lift up the throne of the Lord, and offer Him the tribute of homage that, by so many titles, He deserves."
Thrones and Scepters
Thrones and scepters and crowns have withstood the hierarchy of the Church; but, immutable, like God, who laid its foundation, it is the firm, unshaken center round which the weal and woe of nations move - weal if they adhere to it - woe if they separate from it.
If the world takes from the Pope, the bishops, and priests of the Catholic Church, the cross of gold, they will bless the world with one of wood. If necessary, popes, bishops and priests can suffer and die for the welfare of the world, as Jesus suffered and died. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church is immortal.
Source: The Catholic Priest, Rev. Michael Muller C.S.S.R
He is another Christ - Respect him;
He is God's Representative - Trust him;
He is your benefactor - be thankful to him.
At the Altar
He offers your prayer to God - do not forget him;
He prays for you and yours in purgatory - ask God's mercy for him.
In the confessional
He is the physician of your soul - show him its wounds;
He directs you towards God - follow his admonitions;
He is judging - abide by his decision.
In his daily life
He is human - do not hastily condemn him;
He is human - a word of kindness will cheer him;
If you must tell his faults - tell them to God, that He may give him light and strength to correct them;
He has a great responsibility -ask God to guide him in life, and to be merciful to him in death.
Behold Thy Mother
The Faithful invoke Mary as their Mother, but they invoke Her as private individuals: Priests, on the contrary, invoke Mary, not only as private individuals, but also in the capacity of public ministers of the Church, and in the name of the Church. It is certain that in celebrating Mass, in reciting their office, and in other functions they shine with a splendor which the laity cannot possess, because (as St. Ignatius the Martyr says) they are nearer to the light - they are, as it were, clothed with the light. Now, the Church continually charges Priests to invoke Mary; and, however much faith may sometimes languish, Mary has ever been held in honor and special veneration. How great, then, will be Her liberality to Priests who strive to honor Her, not only in the Church's name, but in the Church's spirit! Therefore, let us invoke Her as our tender Mother, and be assured that She will protect hose who labor for the Church under Her shadow (as Blessed Amadeus says), and that She will, at least, obtain for us strength to bear our tribulations. Let us be assured that She has a special right over us, because Her Son has communicated His rights to Her. Let us, then, call upon Her for succor with the greatest confidence, and She will fill us with grace, and will not refuse us help in fit time.
Love of Liturgy
A priest should love the liturgy, both for his own spiritual life and for that of his people; and likewise for the outward glory of God, for it is the official life of the Church.
A priest should be educated in the liturgical sense that he in turn may educate his people. If he has little taste for liturgy he is wanting in the fullness of his vocation. It is certainly not an over-statement that much more trouble might be taken with the liturgical services that is often the case. To learn to be at home on the sanctuary and to move about quietly and in a dignified way requires a little effort, but presents no great difficulty. Yet often we see it far otherwise.
Blessed are those servants who have had nothing else in view but that through their ministry every knee should bend at the name of Jesus and every tongue should confess His divinity.
Blessed are those servants who, wholly intent upon the word and prayer, have esteemed all things else as dross, so long as they obtained the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
But you indolent servants, useless servants, blush and be confounded. Far from being zealous you flee from labor.
You love a bountiful recompense but not the labors of the ministry, a well-furnished table but not the altar, reading but not the tribunal of penance, conversation but not prayer, walking but not study, amusement but not the care of the flock.
You are ever ready to take part in worldly affairs, but every spiritual duty finds you lukewarm and indolent.
I excavate the walls of your hearts and I find written thereon: Oh, that I did not have to pray! Of, that I did not have to teach catechism! Of, that I did not have to preach! Of, that nobody would come to confession!
Wretched men! How can you call yourselves priests? How can you call yourselves the ministers of God? You do not build up but destroy: You do not heal but kill: You do not save but ruin my sheep.
The Priest's Attire
My son, let thy modesty be known to all men; walk as you have the model prescribed by the Church.
If thou dost not conform to the law of the Church, thou shalt be as the heathen and the publican; see therefore that thou despise not the law of thy Mother; she has decreed what shall be the color and the style of thy clothes; observe her rules.
She has prescribed simplicity and becomingness in priestly attire; comply with her rules; she discountenances the wearing of soiled and tattered garments; cast them aside.
How, my son, has the gold become dim, the fine color been changed?
How many there are among my priests who are ashamed of my uniform! They belong to the royal priesthood and they disdain to wear a royal crown.
They have renounced the world and yet they love to wear clothes of the most worldly pattern; they are my soldiers and scarcely gave they enlisted and been enrolled when they rebel and cast aside my uniform.
They are my servants yet they strive to please men; they are clerics and they appear as bridegrooms; they are of the world, therefore they love the world and the world loves them.
O foolish men! They are esteemed indeed by worldlings, but they are an abomination in my sight; they are ashamed of me before men; I shall be ashamed of them before my Father who is in heaven.
O my son, avoid the society of such disedifying clerics; put far from thee the vanity and price of their demeanor.
Follow not the example of those, my son, who do not give themselves wholly to worldly vanity, but who nevertheless are undisciplined and regardless of rules, saying that they do not bother about these trifles.
Neither follow the example of those, my son, who by their slovenly attire rather provoke laughter than excite veneration.
But study and imitate those who by the becomingness of their external apparel show forth the interior integrity of their lives; let thy feet walk in their footsteps.
Saint Peter Damian
Who can expect the flock to prosper when its shepherd has sunk so deep into the bowels of the devil....Who will make a mistress of a cleric, or a woman of a man? Whom by his lust, will consign a son whom he had spiritually begotten for God to slavery under the iron law of Satanic tyranny?
Saint Peter Damian
The Blessings that Proceed from the Holy Lives of Priests
Blessed is the nation, blessed is the people to whom the Lord has given a pastor after his own heart! Under his rule the crooked ways become straight, the rough ways plain and all flesh sees the salvation of God.The field are filled with plenty, the beautiful places of the wilderness grow fat, and the hills are girded about with joy.
Blessed world, that received from a most merciful Lord the twelve apostles!
Behold, my son, the power, the force, the influence of a holy priest. Mark you, they were but twelve and their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. Though they were lambs, they conquered a world full of wolves; though they were but simple fishermen, they illuminated but their teachings a world shrouded in darkness. Though they were without staff or weapon, they overturned idols and temples; though they were of lowly birth, they are honored by the world itself. But they were holy; they were without stain, rich in chastity, assiduous in prayer, devoted to their ministry, imitators of Christ, filled with His spirit and His zeal.
O blessed land that possessed the twelve apostles!
Alas, wretched world of today, that languishes under the ministry of so many thousands of priests!
Daily Thoughts for Priests
We live in a country and in a period of restless activity, of advertising and being advertised, of nervous anxiety for results almost at any cost. How sad to see priests caught up and carried away by the flood, losing the merit of their lives, not to say their very souls, while saving others!
Like those of whom Our Lord speaks, they prophesy by the earnestness of their preaching; they cast ou devils by the power of the sacraments; they work wonders of material construction and organization; but they are sustained in it all and borne along chiefly by natural impulse, by exuberant activity, by the spirit of pride, by the desire to be talked of by their people and by their fellow priests, by all manner of human motives worthless in the sight of God.
Only at the judgment of God - "on that day"- will they know, will the world know, in what depths of spiritual poverty they have lived and died.
source: Daily Thoughts for Priests, Fr. John B. Hogan
The pastoral office is in itself a discipline of perfection. For first of all it is a life of abnegation of self. A pastor has so many obediences to fulfill, as he has souls to serve. The good and the evil, the sick and the whole, the young and the old, the wise and the foolish, the worldly and the unworldly - who are not always wise- the penitent and the impenitent, the converted and the unconverted, the lapsed and the relapsed, the obdurate and the defiant, all must be watched over - none may be neglected, still less cast off - always, at all times and in all ways possible. St. Philip used to say that a priest should have no time of his own, and that many of his most consoling conversations came to him out of hours at unseasonable moments. If he had sent them away because they came out of time, or at supper time and the like, they might have been lost. Then again, the trials of temper, patience, self-control in bearing with the strange and inconsiderate minds that come to him, and the demands made upon this strength and endurance day and night in the calls of the sick and dying, coming often one after another when for a moment he has gone to rest; the weary and continual importunity of people and of letters, till the sound of the bell or the knock at the door is a constant foreboding, too surely fulfilled; all these things make a pastor's life as wearisome, and, strange to say, as isolated as if he were in the desert. No sackcloth so mortifies the body as this life of perpetual self-abnegation mortifies the will. But when the will is mortified, the servant is like his Master, and his Master is the exemplar of all perfection.
The Catholic Bishop as Principal Teacher
The Bishop is the principal teacher in the faith community. As such, he must be devoted to preaching the Gospel constantly. That preaching aims at illuminating to the faithful what they must believe and put into practice, while steering them away from every error that is life-threatening to the spirit.
What may deprive a young priest of the reverence and trust of the faithful?
The faults of boyhood: levity, thoughtlessness, immaturity, precipitance, an inordinate love of sports and games, a lack of repose.
What makes a young priest respected? Seriousness of manney, maturity of thought, earnestness of purpose, steadiness in carrying out all that appertains to duty; also, learning, piety, enlifhtened zeal, self-respect, a sense of authority tempered by modesty: auctoritas modesta as the Pontifical says in the rite of ordination; finally, the religious spirit, that is, the spirit of reverence imparting a tone of thoughtfulness and deliberation to the whole man.
Each of these helps to dispel the unfavorable impression which might attach to the youthful priest, and therefore it becomes his duty to cultivate them sedulously in the early years of his ministry. (...)
An thus the number of his years will be lost to sight, and the faithful will see, listen to, and love in him the man of God.
Teaching by Example
Christ is the model of the priest; the priest has to be the model of the people. His example is as much a part of his ministry as preaching, or administering the sacraments. If we could imagine a priest in charge of souls appearing only at the altar, or in the pulpit, or in the confessional, and then withdrawing himself completely from the view of the faithful, we should have to call him back to live among his people, in order to let them see the full meaning of a practical Christian life. This is so much the mind of the Church, that in conferring each one of the orders, she is careful to impress on those she consecrates the special duty of good example. The "ostiarius" is told to open the hearts of the faithful to God, and close them against the evil one "by word and by example;" the acolyte is reminded that the lighted taper he bears is a symbol of the shining examples he is bound to show forth; and so on up to the priest, to whom, at every step of his solemn consecration, the great fact is recalled, that henceforth he has to be the embodiment of all the Christian virtues, a fragrant odor of the Gospel, a living rule for the faithful.
The Law thus laid down to priests in the preparation, the church has in the course of ages kept steadily before them by the numberless rules, regulations, decrees of her bishops, her popes, and her councils. There is nothing she seems to have had more at heart than to keep her priests at such a height as that all may look to their lives for guidance. What a glorious vocation, and what a powerful incentive to a beautiful life!
O thou, to whom were committed the most precious talents of the priesthood! Fear lest like the useless servant thou be cast out into exterior darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Where is he, my son, where is Judas? Where are the other priests who imitated him and who like him died in their sins?
Where? They are buried in hell, where they lie the deeper down, the higher the place they should have occupied in heaven.
There they are filled with shame, who on earth enjoyed a high degree of honor.
There they are despised, mocked and trampled upon by Satan, who on earth were revered by men and angels.
There they drink of the gall of vipers and of the poison of asps, who received my blood unworthily at the altar.
There they are stung and tormented by the old serpent, who should have triumphed over him by their sacred ministry.
There they are poor and naked, who on earth enjoyed unearned luxuries.
There they are prodded with burning goads, who by their cowardice and sloth allowed my sheep to perish.
There they are covered with fetid pitch and sulfur who, in their highly spiritual and holy state, lived according to the flesh.
There their ears are wearied by horrible noises, who were unwilling to listen to penitents in the tribunal of mercy.
There they are in desolation, who refused to console my sorrowing people.
There they suffer bitter pain, who neither sympathized with nor aided those in trouble.
There their bodies are lacerated, who by their scandals were the murderers of souls.
There their cry is unheeded, who on earth neglected prayer and performed their duties carelessly.
There, in fine, they shall suffer the rigorous scourge of my justice, who have not kept my commandments which they announced to the people, and thereby resisted more than others the Holy Spirit.
So it is, my son, they were my chosen ones, my friends, my ministers, endowed and enriched with my graces; and they rebelled against me and betrayed me, outraged my Holy Spirit and trampled me, their Savior, under foot.