Rorate Caeli

Away from prevailing opinions

...[H]ow do things stand in our own lives? Are we truly pervaded by the word of God? Is that word truly the nourishment we live by, even more than bread and the things of this world? Do we really know that word? Do we love it? Are we deeply engaged with this word to the point that it really leaves a mark on our lives and shapes our thinking? Or is it rather the case that our thinking is constantly being shaped by all the things that others say and do? Aren’t prevailing opinions the criterion by which we all too often measure ourselves? Do we not perhaps remain, when all is said and done, mired in the superficiality in which people today are generally caught up? Do we allow ourselves truly to be deeply purified by the word of God?

Friedrich Nietzsche scoffed at humility and obedience as the virtues of slaves, a source of repression. He replaced them with pride and man’s absolute freedom. Of course there exist caricatures of a misguided humility and a mistaken submissiveness, which we do not want to imitate. But there also exists a destructive pride and a presumption which tear every community apart and result in violence. Can we learn from Christ the correct humility which corresponds to the truth of our being, and the obedience which submits to truth, to the will of God? "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth": this word of inclusion in the priesthood lights up our lives and calls us to become ever anew disciples of that truth which is revealed in the word of God.
Did not Christ say of himself: "I am the truth" (cf. Jn 14:6)? Is he not himself the living Word of God, to which every other word refers? Sanctify them in the truth – this means, then, in the deepest sense: make them one with me, Christ. Bind them to me. Draw them into me. Indeed, when all is said and done, there is only one priest of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ himself. Consequently, the priesthood of the disciples can only be a participation in the priesthood of Jesus. Our being priests is simply a new way of being united to Christ. 

In its substance, it has been bestowed on us forever in the sacrament. But this new seal imprinted upon our being can become for us a condemnation, if our lives do not develop by entering into the truth of the Sacrament. The promises we renew today state in this regard that our will must be directed along this path: "Domino Iesu arctius coniungi et conformari, vobismetipsis abrenuntiantes". Being united to Christ calls for renunciation. It means not wanting to impose our own way and our own will, not desiring to become someone else, but abandoning ourselves to him, however and wherever he wants to use us. As Saint Paul said: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal 2:20). In the words "I do", spoken at our priestly ordination, we made this fundamental renunciation of our desire to be independent, "self-made". But day by day this great "yes" has to be lived out in the many little "yeses" and small sacrifices. This "yes" made up of tiny steps which together make up the great "yes", can be lived out without bitterness and self-pity only if Christ is truly the center of our lives. If we enter into true closeness to him. Then indeed we experience, amid sacrifices which can at first be painful, the growing joy of friendship with him, and all the small and sometimes great signs of his love, which he is constantly showing us. "The one who loses himself, finds himself". When we dare to lose ourselves for the Lord, we come to experience the truth of these words.

To be immersed in the Truth, in Christ – part of this process is prayer, in which we exercise our friendship with him and we come to know him: his way of being, of thinking, of acting. Praying is a journey in personal communion with Christ, setting before him our daily life, our successes and failures, our struggles and our joys – in a word, it is to stand in front of him. But if this is not to become a form of self-contemplation, it is important that we constantly learn to pray by praying with the Church.

Benedict XVI
Mass of the Holy Oils - Homily
Holy Thursday, 2009


  1. God bless and protect our Holy Father. A blessed Triduum and Easter Season to you as well.

  2. Holy Thursday, 2009


    Maundy, misty, night
    Gray shadows 'fore the white

    In silence stripped to wood
    Bared-hard for fifth day, Good

    Then blackest as dawn breaks
    Bursts Light and Limbo wakes

    Where militant, suffering bound
    Reached Church triumphant's ground

    David's line...Abraham, Sarah
    Coeli et...domini est terra!

    Thank you Holy Catholic Priests for preserving our heritage!

  3. God bless our Holy Father! Amazingly clear reality check that I needed to hear.

  4. Anonymous5:18 PM

    Did he really say all of this?


  5. Martin8:45 PM

    I wish people would see beyond their own narrow-mindedness. The pope is isolated and despised by many, and yet has achieved so much, in so little time.

    What would you Catholics do if you were living under Pope Alexander VI !

    At least show some gratitude for Benedict instead of expecting him to be another Pius X.

  6. We must firmly stand behind our shepherd. What we have now would have been impossible to imagine four years ago. Long live Pope Benedict. Let's always remember that in the end the gates of hell shall NOT prevail.

  7. Anonymous10:24 PM

    Dear Martin: If I remember correctly, even though Alexander VI was immoral,he upheld the Faith. Besides, there was no Internet during his time. Who knows what might have happened had there been!


  8. Anonymous12:47 AM

    Alexander VI was among the most personally corrupt Cardinals and brought that baggage with him as Pope.
    He seems to have undergone a bit of a conversion while Pope, and did many things which did uphold the Faith. UNfortunatly, his successors, in particular the equally (if not more so) corrupt Leo X gave rise to the protests of Luther.
    Had these men been true examples of Christ like a Gregory the Great, Pius X, Pius XI and Pius XII, St. Pius V etc., then perhaps Luther would never have been heard from.
    Alexander VI at least tried to begin the process of restoring the Church, but his terrible reputation, and that of his immediate successors weakened the Church and opened the doors to the dreggs like Luther.
    The Church had to wait almost 75 years after Alexander's death to have holy priests and shepherds of the Faithful on the chair of Peter.

  9. Anonymous4:10 AM

    I really needed to hear all that.

    However, may I say this? I am all embarassed to say that the picture looks strange: looks like the Holy Father is sick. Maybe you should give an explanation.

  10. Looks sick?... Most Catholics would know that this is a part of the ceremony of the Holy Oils, in which the bishop breathes over the prepared Chrism.

  11. It is apparent that the Holy Father believes the holy priesthood is unique and a share in the priesthood of Christ, the true high priest. God bless the Holy Father for his recognition of this fact and his call to all priests to imitate the Lord by answering "yes" to His call.


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