On the Catholic Priesthood
The Priestly Life
In all the workings of the sacramental system our Lord is always the principal worker. He it is who baptizes, He who absolves, He who consecrates. Deus est agens principale. He is the head of angels and men, and angels and saints co-operate with Him in the workings of the Church on earth. "The Catholic religion is the coming of the unseen world into this. What we see here is as a screen, hiding from us God, and Christ, and the Angels, and the Saints." (Newman, Sermons)
But here it is, in these most Divine workings, that our Lord chooses His priests, and wills them to live and work with Him, with His angels and His saints "you are come to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels: and to the Church of the first born, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Testament, and to the sprinkling of blood, which speaketh better than that of Abel." (2 Tim)
Saint Paul gives us the idea of what a priest should be his words to Timothy: "Carefully study to present thyself approved unto God - a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth... a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and profitable to the Lord... that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work."
And Saint Thomas may be said to epitomise this when he describes the priestly life as being "midway between God and men; receiving from God in contemplation, and giving to the people by action."