Today let us recognize the greatness of God’s generous gift to His people when He instituted this Sacrament of Holy Orders.
So when you see a priest, even if you don’t like him, thank him for his service to the priesthood of Jesus Christ,which saves your soul. St. John Vianney, the great Cure of Ars, the Patron Saint of Priests, wrote some things about the priesthood which is very timely and appropriate for us to hear. He wrote:
“What is the priest? A priest is a man who holds the place of God, a man clothed with all the powers of God. Go, Our Lord said to the priest, as my Father has sent me, so I also send you.At the consecration the priest does not say, This is the Body of our Lord. He says, This is my body.At the sight of the spire (or the steeple) you may say, What is there? The body of our Lord – Why is it there? Because a priest has been there and has said Holy Mass. The priest is everything, after God!”
Did you hear what this great Patron Saint of priests said? The priest is everything, after God!!
But St. John continues with a even more keen insight especially relating to our day and time in history. He said:
“When men want to destroy religion they begin by attacking the priest, because where the priest is no more, there is no more sacrifice of the Mass, and where there is no sacrifice, there is no more religion. The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see the priest think of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So after hearing these words on how without the priesthood there is no Catholic Faith, and that only a person who is incredibly evil would ever gossip about, conspire against, or even think (let alone) carry out an attack on a priest’s good name or reputation, or even think, as a lay person, that they would have a right to tell their priest anything about their vocation or how it should be lived. And then when we look at this diocese and see an ever increasing lack of priests. I don’t think those of you who are unhappy with the priests you have fully understand that those of you who wish to practice the faith in the next few years may not be able to find a priest for miles, because you’re sure not going to find one here because there won’t be any
And with that in mind, let us wholeheartedly pray.
“O Lord, may your people come to understand the gift they have in the priests that You, Yourself have sent them and may they come to show them the respect they deserve for being and acting in person of your Son by always treating your priests with the same love and care in which we would hope they would treat your Son.” Amen.