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The Catholic Priesthood

Thou Art a Priest Forever
J.B. Henri Lacordaire, OP

To live in the midst of the world with
no desire for its pleasure...
To be a member of every family
yet belonging to none...
To share all sufferings; to penetrate
all secrets; to heal all wounds...
To daily go from men to God to
offer Him their petitions...
To return from God to men
to offer them His hope...
To have a heart of fire for charity
and a heart of bronze for chastity...
To bless and be blest forever.
O God, what a life, and it is yours,
O Priest of Jesus Christ
Priests
A man of Prayer

The priest is above all a man of prayer. As an ordained representative of Christ, the priest's most important prayer is to re-present the sacrifice of Jesus during Holy Mass. His parish relies on him to offer a sacrifice "holy and acceptable to God." Throughout the week, too, at parish meetings and community functions, he is often asked: "Father, will you lead us in prayer?" He is seen as a man accustomed to speaking with God.   Every day, a priest prays the Liturgy of the Hours and spends time in private meditation. His private prayer is essential, for he must know Him of whom he speaks, teaches and preaches; he must come to have an intimate relationship with Him. Jesus is the raison d'etre of the priest.Since the beginning of Christianity, people have come to Jesus through preaching. Today, this is still the primary duty of the priest.

The large majority of Catholics get their information about the faith and their inspiration to practice it from the pulpit. Men who can articulate their excitement about their Faith are a great treasure to the Church. But it is not always easy to put one's faith into words, says Pope John Paul II: "The Church faces a particularly difficult task in her efforts to preach the word of God in all cultures in which the faithful are constantly challenged by consumerism and a pleasure-seeking mentality.

A priest's duty, then, is to teach his people how Christ's life is relevant to their own. He answers the question, "How can I live out my faith today?"  A priest is not a priest for himself. The ordained priest shares in the mission of Jesus as Priest, Prophet and King. As priest, he prays and celebrates divine worship. As prophet, he preaches and teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And as king, he serves others. At the Last Supper, Jesus gave the Eucharistic mandate to His apostles, "Do this in memory of me." But not before the Lord had knelt down and washed their feet. Jesus said,  "What I have done for you, you must do for one another." A priest must be a servant to God's people. He brings the love and strength of Christ into the school, the hospital room, the prison, the ghetto…wherever God's people are and especially wherever they suffer, the priest is there.


A PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS

"O God, you sent your Son, Jesus, to bring eternal life to those who believe. I join him in praying for laborers for your harvest. May your Holy Spirit inspire men and women to continue his mission through your priesthood, diaconate, religious life and lay ministry. May this same Spirit make known your will for my life."

The One Priesthood of Christ

1544 Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the: one mediator between God and men.

(Hebr 1:1-2)
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, 

(2 Tim 2:5)  The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, "priest of God Most High," as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique "high priest after the order of Melchizedek";

(Heb 5:10 cf 6:20,)
(Gen 14:18)
 "holy, blameless, unstained, "by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified, "that is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.

1545 
The redemptive sacrifice of Christ is unique, accomplished once for all; yet it is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Church. The same is true of the one priesthood of Christ; it is made present through the ministerial priesthood without diminishing the uniqueness of Christ's priesthood:

"Only Christ
is the true priest, the others being
only his ministers."
 ...St. Thomas Aquinas, Hebr 8,4

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