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

Monday June 17, 2019

Unasnwered Prayer

He asked for strength that he might achieve;
he was made weak  that he might obey.

He asked for health that he might do greater things;

he was given infirmity that he might do better things.

He asked for riches that he might be happy;
he was given poverty that he might be wise.

He asked for power that he might ave the praise of men;
he was given weakness that he might feel the need of God.

He asked for all things that he might enjoy life;
he was given Life that he might enjoy all things.

He has received nothing that he asked for, all that he hoped for. His prayer is answered.
He is most blessed.

Source: St Andrew's Cross, 1922

Sunday June 16, 2019

Trinity Sunday

There is a God : this is the first truth which we profess to believe when we recite the Creed, a truth which is the foundation of all the other truths of religion, and of salvation ; a truth which nature as well as religion alike inculcate ;a truth better known than all others, and which is as clear to our eyes as the light of day. Hence, we always regard as monsters, rather than men, that small number of wretches who arrive at such a height of impiety that they dare deny or even doubt that there is a God. If they have the hardihood to say so, “it is only in their heart,” saith the prophet. Indeed, the corruption of their hearts makes them desire that there were no God, that they may with greater ease and freedom abandon themselves to the disorders of their passions ; but their intellect never admits such an absurdity, and always convicts them of their lying blasphemies.

In fact, my Brethren, to convince us of the Existence of a God, it is not necessary that we should enter into tedious researches, and have recourse to laborious studies ; it suffices to contemplate ourselves attentively, to cast a glance over this vast earth, on the millions of creatures that inhabit the world. Yes, says Isaias, "Lift up your eyes on high ; consider who has created the heavens, who caused the army of stars to move in such beautiful order, and who calls them by their names.” Who, then, has fixed this earth upon its foundation ? Who has constructed the spacious firmament on high, --that wonderful ceiling dotted all over with stars, as so many precious stones ? Did man give existence to himself? Did the sun and moon fix themselves in the firmament ? « Do you know who is the Father of the rain, or who begot the drops of dew? (Job, XXXViii)
Ah! the world is a great book, which speaks to us only of God; the voice of the Supreme Being resounds from one end of the universe to the other, and says : “I am the Lord ; that make all things ; that alone stretch out the heavens; that establish the earth; and there is none with me.” (Isaias)

It is God, who has made every thing, and nothing was made without Him. Every man who does not recognize Thee, and who presumes to deny Thy existence, O, my God, is blind, is an ungrateful wretch, is a monster without eyes, without ears, without intellect, and without heart. Yes, if he has eyes let him open them, and everywhere he will see evidences of Thy wisdom, O, my God, and the wonders of Thy Omnipotence!- If he has ears to hear, why does he close them against the voice of every creature that proclaims the greatness of its Creator? Has he received from heaven the gift of intelligence ; he, who, more stupid than beasts, disowns HIM to whom he is indebted for every thing ? And where, then is his heart, since he is insensible to the ineffable bounty for all the blessings which he constantly receives from this adorable Providence,that confers them on him ?

Yes, -my Brethren, there is a God, there is but one God, and here can be no more gods than one. In truth, God is the Being above all beings ; the Infinite Being ; the perfect Being. That perfection can not be divided; infinity appertains to but one Being alone. Were there many infinitely perfect beings, none of them would possess perfection, since they would all be equal ; none of them would be superior to the others, none would be Sovereign Master; and we can with reason say, if there were many gods, there would be none, for a plurality of gods were an idle fancy, a thing that exists not. Says the prophet of God: “Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord, our God, is the only Lord. I am, says he, the first and the last, there is no God besides me.”* lsaias, xl and xliv

There is but one God. You must not however imagine, my Brethren, that the unity of God is opposed to the adorable mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. It is true, faith teaches us to acknowledge and adore three Persons in the Most Blessed Trinity, three Persons in one God ; yet, there is in this no contradiction. Indeed, we do not say, there are three Gods in one God ; but there are three Persons, who constitute but one God. In the Most Blessed Trinity there are not three divine natures, but only one and the same divine nature for the three divine Persons. Yes, my Brethren, always bear in mind, that the three divine Persons of the Most Blessed Trinity have but one and the same divine nature, and are but one and the same God. I know that this is one of those truths which reason of itself cannot comprehend, experience teach, nor the senses assist us to discover; it is a mystery the depth of which, it belongs to God alone to fathom. “No one knoweth the Son, but the Father, neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. (St. Matthew, Xi:27) But what ought to set our minds at rest, and free us from all uneasiness, is, that God himself has revealed this august mystery, and His divine word is our guaranty for this profound truth. He has said: “There are three in heaven who give testimony, — -the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, — and these three are one. (St. John, V:7)

But what is God? The day will come when, in heaven, we shall know God and see His infinite perfections in the clearest light. In this life we behold Him only through a glass and in shadows. Yet, however imperfect our knowledge may be, faith and reason throw sufficient light around us, to demonstrate to us that God is a Spirit infinite in all His attributes ; that He is self-existent, and that He is from eternity. God is infinite, therefore He wants nothing ; and there is in Him not even the smallest defect, nor the slightest imperfection. He is perfect ; there is in Him neither sleep, nor hunger, nor thirst, nor anger, nor sadness, nor suffering, nor death; none of these imperfections are to be found in the infinitely perfect nature of God.

God is from all eternity ; He was not created by himself; neither could He have been created by another. If God created himself, He must have existed before He created himself, which is a palpable absurdity. If God was created by another, tell me by whom this other was himself created? How, then, does God exist? The Almighty himself informs us, when He says to Moses : “ I Am who Am” — that is to say, I am the necessary, infinite, eternal Being, the Source, the beginning of all other beings ; Life, and even Existence itself.

God is a being perfectly simple; He is a perfect Spirit; He has neither body, nor figure, nor form. He does not come under our senses ; He can neither be seen, nor touched. If the picture of God the Father represents Him under the form of an old man, it is to give us an idea of His adorable antiquity, and because He showed himself in this form to the prophet Daniel. If the Sacred Scriptures speaks to us of the eyes, the feet, and the hands of God, it uses such language only to accommodate itself to our weakness. These are no more than figures which serve to make us understand the perfections and attributes of God. By His eyes is signified that He sees all things ; by His hands that He made all things ; by His arms is understood His supreme power; and we express as far as possible His dignity, by placing all creatures at His feet.

But at the same time, the word of God warns us not to conceive a false idea of God, by supposing Him to have a human form, giving Him a human body and senses, or by believing that He is, as it were, confined within the vast and magnificent palace of this world. God is a Spirit; and therefore He desires to be adored in spirit and in truth. He wishes that our minds should be constantly raised toward Him, and that our hearts should he penetrated with His love, when we contemplate and meditate upon His infinite perfections.He wishes that, like generous children, we should have
for Him the deepest respect and the most perfect submission to His ever adorable will. He wishes that, by a faithful discharge of all the duties of our state, we may merit His favor and His love.

There is a God : He is perfect. He is infinite. O my soul, bless the Lord, and may all that is within me praise His holy name ! Yes, 0 Lord, I am the work of Thy hands, and my soul and my body shall never cease to publish Thy greatness and Thy goodness. Alas! can it be possible that there are men who refuse to recognize Him, by whose omnipotence they were called into existence! Can it be, that there are others who, though acknowledging that there is a God, yet live as if they knew Him not ; do not love Him, nor serve Him, nor wish to do any thing to please Him.

Let us not, O my God ! be amongst the number of those ungrateful wretches; on the contrary, let us bless Thee all the days of our lives; let us praise and glorify Thee on earth, which is Thy footstool; that, we may merit the happiness of being one day admitted to praise, and bless, and love Thee forever in Heaven, where Thou hast established the “ Throne of Thy Glory.” — Amen. 

Source:  One hundred short sermons, The Most Rev. Martin John Spalding Archbishop of Baltimore

Saturday June 15, 2019

Summer Ember Saturday

Hymns, readings and prayers for this Whit Embertide:

Hymns: Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Come, Thou Holy Spiritus, come) Veni, Creator Spiritus, (Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest) Readings: Ember Saturday:

Joel, 2. 28-32

Leviticus, 23. 9-11, 15-17, 21

Deuteronomy, 26. 1-11

Leviticus, 26. 3-12

Saint Paul to the Romans, 5. 1-5

Saint Luke, 4.38-44



An excellent prayer for this purpose is the Litany of the Saints, in which so many bishops, priests, and levites are invoked; or the Rosary may be appropriately said, grouping those for whom we pray into five classes, corresponding to the five decades.

Seven Penitential Psalms

Litany of the Saints

Litany to Obtain Holy Priests

Hour of Reparation


Source: Ember Days (Curé d'Ars Prayer Group)

Friday June 14, 2019

Summer Ember Friday

Hymns, readings and prayers for this Whit Embertide:

Hymns: Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Come, Thou Holy Spiritus, come) Veni, Creator Spiritus, (Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest) Readings: Ember Thursday:

Joel, 2.23-24; 26-27

St.Luke, 5.17-26



An excellent prayer for this purpose is the Litany of the Saints, in which so many bishops, priests, and levites are invoked; or the Rosary may be appropriately said, grouping those for whom we pray into five classes, corresponding to the five decades.

Seven Penitential Psalms

Litany of the Saints

Litany to Obtain Holy Priests

Hour of Reparation


Source: Ember Days (Cure d'Ars Prayer Group)

Thursday June 13, 2019

Prayer to St. Anthony of Padua

Saint Anthony, glory of the Church and hammer of heretics, pray for our Holy Father, our bishops, our priests, our Religious Orders, that, through their pious zeal and apostolic labors, infidels, heretics, and all those outside the true Church of Christ may be converted and, united in faith, give greater glory to God. Amen.

Source: Blessed Sacrament Book. Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance

Wednesday June 12, 2019

Summer Ember Wednesday

"On Ember days we pray and make sacrifices for ourselves, our families, the Church and the world."

We should never let these seasons pass without adding prayer to our fasts, or it may be compensating fast by prayer. Our prayer should be for the clergy, not only those ordained, though for them especially; but for the Sovereign Pontiff, the cardinals, bishops, parochial clergy, missionaries and religious orders, seminarians; and for the grace of vocation to the priesthood. Hymns, readings and prayers for this Whit Embertide:

Hymns: Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Come, Thou Holy Spiritus, come) Veni, Creator Spiritus, (Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest) Readings: Ember Wednesday: Acts of the Apostles, 2. 1-21 Acts of the Apostles, 5. 12-16 St. John, 6. 44-52


An excellent prayer for this purpose is the Litany of the Saints, in which so many bishops, priests, and levites are invoked; or the Rosary may be appropriately said, grouping those for whom we pray into five classes, corresponding to the five decades.

Seven Penitential Psalms

Litany of the Saints

Litany to Obtain Holy Priests

Hour of Reparation


Source: Ember Days (Cure d'Ars Prayer Group)

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

Saturday June 08, 2019

For a Priest on His First Mass

O Holy Spirit, Your servant who is about to celebrate this Mass shares the holy priesthood of Jesus and Your apostolate. Enkindle in his heart the flames that transformed the disciples in the Upper Room. Let him be no longer an ordinary man but a man living to transfuse the divine life into the souls of others. Give him an ardent desire for the inner life as well as Your consolation and strength. Enable him to see that even here below there is no true happiness unless his life partakes of Yours and that of the Heart of Jesus in the bosom of the Father.

Source: Curé d'Ars Prayer Group

Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood

Wednesday June 05, 2019

Blasphemy and Sodomy

"I might also add, that if blasphemy is a terrible thing, I am not aware that sodomy is any better. The former indeed causes a man to err; the latter brings him to perdition. The one separates the soul from God; the other joins it to the devil. The former expels one from heaven; the latter buries him in hell. The one blinds the eyes of the soul; the other hurls one into the abyss of ruin. And if we are careful to investigate which of these crimes is the weightier in the scales of divine scrutiny, a search of Sacred Scripture will provide a satisfactory answer. There, indeed, we find that the children of Israel who blaspheme God and worshiped idols were taken into captivity; but we notice that sodomites were devoured in the sulphurous flames of a fire from heaven"

Source: Peter Damian: Book of Gomorrah

The League of Saint Damien

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.

Saturday June 01, 2019

Prayer to the Sacred Heart for Priests

(Picture Source: Google Books)

Remember, O most loving Heart of Jesus, that they for whom I pray are those for whom You prayed so earnestly the night before Your death. These are they to whom You look to continue with You in Your sorrows when others forsake You, who share Your griefs and have inherited your persecutions, according to Your word: That the servant is not greater than his Lord.

Remember, O Heart of Jesus, that they are the objects of the worldʼs hatred and Satanʼs deadliest snares. Keep them then, 0 Jesus, in the safe citadel of Your Sacred Heart and there let them be sanctified in truth.

May they be one with you and one among themselves, and grant that multitudes may be brought through their word to believe in You and love You. Amen.