The priestly soul of all Christians


 The whole Church participates in the redemptive mission of Christ the Priest, "and its fulfillment is entrusted to all the members of the People of God who, through the sacraments of initiation, become sharers in the priesthood of Christ to offer to God a spiritual sacrifice and to bear witness to Jesus Christ before men". All the lay faithful participate in this priesthood of Christ, although in an essentially different way, and not only in degree, than priests. With a truly priestly soul, they sanctify the world through their secular tasks, carried out with human perfection, and seek in everything the glory of God: the mother of a family by carrying out her household tasks, the soldier by giving an example of love of country, especially through the military virtues, the businessman by advancing the company and living social justice.... All of them, making reparation for the sins that are committed every day in the world, offering in the Holy Mass their lives and their daily work.

Priests - Bishops and priests - have been expressly called by God, "not to be separated either from the people themselves or from any man, but to consecrate themselves totally to the work to which the Lord calls them. They could not be ministers of Christ if they were not witnesses and dispensers of a life distinct from the earthly, nor could they serve if they remained alien to the life and conditions of the people themselves." The priest has been taken from among men to be invested with a dignity that causes astonishment to the angels themselves, and again returned to men to serve them especially as regards God, with a peculiar and unique mission of salvation. The priest in many circumstances takes the place of Christ on earth: he has the powers of Christ to forgive sins, he teaches the way to Heaven..., and above all he lends his voice and his hands to Christ in the sublime moment of the Holy Mass: in the Sacrifice of the Altar he consecrates in persona Christi, taking the place of Christ. There is no dignity comparable to that of the priest. "Only the divine motherhood of Mary surpasses this divine ministry."

The priesthood is an immense gift that Jesus Christ has given to his Church. The priest is "an immediate and daily instrument of that saving grace which Christ has won for us. If we understand this, if we have meditated on it in the active silence of prayer, how can we consider the priesthood a renunciation? It is a gain that cannot be calculated. Our Holy Mother Mary, the holiest of creatures - more than her only God - once brought Jesus into the world; priests bring him to our earth, to our body and soul, every day: Christ comes to nourish us, to vivify us, to be, already now, a pledge of the future life".

Today is a day to thank Jesus for such a great gift: Thank you, Lord, for the calls to the priesthood that you address to people every day! And we make a resolution to treat them with more love, with more reverence, seeing in them Christ who passes by, who brings us the most precious gifts that a man can desire. He brings us eternal life.