Rorate Caeli

The awe-inspiring power of Priests
Absolution * Teaching * Holy Mass

Ego dixi: dii estis, et filii Excelsi omnes.
Ps. 81, 6 (Breviarium Romanum, Feria VI ad Tertiam)
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A holy priest is a saviour and another Christ, taking the Master's place on earth, representing Him, clothed with His authority, acting in His name, adorned with His qualifications, exercising His judgment on earth in the tribunal of penance. He is consecrated to exercise the highest functions Christ ever performed on earth, to continue the work of salvation. In imitation of His Redeemer he gives himself, mind, heart, affections, strength, time, all for God. He is ever ready to sacrifice his very blood and even life itself to procure the salvation of souls, particularly those of his own flock.

He is a god, living and walking on earth; a god by grace and by participation, clothed with the perfections and attributes of God, namely, His divine authority, power, justice, mercy, charity, benignity, purity and holiness. He is a god delegated to carry on God's noblest works, the priestly and pastoral duties, as great St. Dionysius says: Omnium divinorum divinissimum est cooperari Deo in salutem animarum -  "The most divine of all divine things is to cooperate with God in the salvation of souls."

St. Gregory Nazianzen asserts that the priest is a "god who makes gods," deus deos efficiens, that is, Christians who are given the name of gods in Sacred Scripture. 

Saint John Eudes
Le mémorial de la vie ecclésiastique [A Memorial of the Ecclesiastical Life]

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The end and purpose of this heavenly office is to form Christ in the hearts of the faithful that He may reign there; to dispel the darkness of hell and illumine the light of heaven in men's souls; to destroy sin and open the floodgates of grace; to destroy the tyranny of Satan on earth and reestablish the Kingdom of God.

Preaching aims to reconcile men with their Maker, transforming them into His children, deifying them,  as it were, according to the words of Sacred Scripture: "He called them gods, to whom the word of word of God was spoken" (St. John x, 35). 
Saint John Eudes
Le prédicateur apostolique [The Apostolic Preacher]

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In the Tribunal of Penance you are the living image of the power and majesty of the Son of God. There you are as it were little gods, vested with the powers of God, doing what belongs by right to Him alone, blotting out sin, communicating the grace of the Holy Ghost to souls. Consequently, in the Sacred Tribunal you should serve the interests of God, thinking only of Him, desiring only to establish His kingdom in thehearts of men.

As a judge representing the Supreme Judge, yours is the power of bestowing or refusing absolution. God communicates to you His power of judge in a more excellent manner than He does to the judges of earthly courts. They judge bodies; you judge souls. They judge temporal affairs; you judge eternal ones. Their power is a passing one; yours reaches beyond to eternity. What you absolve or condemn on earth is absolved and condemned in heaven. Their judgments are recorded on paper; yours are written with the Blood of Christ in the eternal books of divine justice. ...

To be a priest is to be a visible god on earth. All Christians are called gods in Sacred Scripture: "I said you are gods" (St. John x, 34), but priests enjoy this prerogative in a much more eminent degree than the rest of the faithful.

Priests are gods in power and dignity, since they are clothed with the infinite power of God. If it were not through this divine power, how could they bring God down upon the altar at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? How could they form Him in the hearts of the faithful and give the Holy Ghost to their souls? How could they forgive sin and communicate sanctifying grace?

God gives His divine power to priests in such an exalted degree that they may effectuate many marvels that He alone accomplishes. He created this world and can create others. To his priests He gave the power to produce Christ in the Blessed Eucharist, which is indeed greater than to create an infinite number of physical worlds.

Saint John Eudes
Le bon confesseur [The Good Confessor] 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The most important "job" in the world!

Prayers for our priests - our Catholic lives would be inexistent without you!

Barbara

Jack said...

I recall in the movie version of THE CARDINAL when the protagonist was asked if he though he was called to something better than being a "mere parish priest."

I can think of nothing "mere" about being a parish priest.

Parochial clergy have responsibilities even graver than that of heads of state. They are on the front lines of the battle against Satan and have the duty to bring souls to God.

Most holy Theotokos, save us.

Anonymous said...

Where does one find the writings of St. John Eudes? Thank you.

Brian said...

These truths are awe-inspiring. What an amazing faith we've been given.

Lee Terry Lovelock-Jemmott said...

Beautiful and direct in saying that priests are The Lord's footsoldiers.

Long-Skirts said...

"Priests are gods in power and dignity, since they are clothed with the infinite power of God. If it were not through this divine power, how could they bring God down upon the altar at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?"


TWO
TRUTHS

To the Nuclear
Plant I went
With wafered host
I was hell-bent.

Exposed wafered
Un-Consecrated host
To radiation
Now nuked toast.

Offered heretic
"Taste and see."
"Oh no!" He cried
"That's not for me!"

"But look," I said,
"Nothings changed...
A still white wafered
Host arranged."

"Though looks the same
Could do much harm!"
The heretic knew
Exclaimed alarm.

As Catholics know
Spiritual radiation
Daily at Mass --
Transubstantiation!!

Mar said...

Thank you for posting about St. John Eudes, NC. For those who may not know, St. John played an important role in establishing devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as this excerpt from an article about him illustrates:

'Father Eudes dedicated the seminary chapels of Caen and Coutances to the Sacred Hearts. The feast of the Holy Heart of Mary was celebrated for the first time in 1648, and that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1672, each as a double of the first class with an octave.

The Mass and Office proper to these feasts were composed by Father Eudes, who thus briefly preceded his contemporary the Saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque in
establishing the devotion to the Sacred Hearts. For this reason, Pope Leo XIII, in proclaiming his virtues heroic in 1903, gave him the title of "Author of the Liturgical Worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Holy Heart of Mary".

He believed in the unity of the hearts of Jesus and Mary and wrote:

"You must never separate what God has so perfectly united. So closely are Jesus and Mary bound up with each other that whoever beholds Jesus sees Mary; whoever
loves Jesus, loves Mary; whoever has devotion to Jesus, has devotion to Mary."'

One of the principal works he wrote was "Le Cœur Admirable de la Très Sainte Mère de Dieu", the first book ever written on the devotion to the Sacred Hearts.

Here is a lesson by St. John Eudes from the office of the month of June, which is suitable for all year round as well as June:

'Oh, how good and delightful it is to dwell in the Heart of Jesus! Thy Heart, O good Jesus, is a precious treasure, a precious pearl which we have found by digging the field of Thy Body. Who will cast aside this pearl? Nay, rather I will give all I have, I will exchange all my thoughts and desires and purchase it.

I will cast all my care on the Heart of the Lord Jesus and He will provide for me without fail. I will adore in this temple, this Holy of Holies, this Ark of the Testament, and I will praise the name of the Lord, saying with David, "I have found my heart that I may pray to my God. And I have found the heart of my King, my Brother, my Friend, the benign Jesus, and why shall I not adore?" Assuredly I shall pray.

For His Heart is mine. I will say it boldly, for Christ is my Head, is not what belongs to my Head mine? Therefore as the eyes of my corporal head are truly my eyes, so is my spiritual heart my heart. Therefore, it is well with me: truly I have but one Heart with
Jesus and what wonder that there should be but one heart with the multitude of believers.'