Vultus Christi on July 19, 2010 3:11 PM
Jesus, the Son of Mary, is the Eternal High Priest.
As Sacrificer and as Victim,
He is present and shown forth in each of His priests.
He has chosen them to be, for His Church,
the visible and acting presence of His own Priesthood.
Priests are called,
before all else,
to the most intimate and complete union with Christ.
All the holiness of a priest consists in this.
Through His priests,
Our Lord continues to make present to the world
His Life, and His Death,
His Resurrection, and Ascension.
Christ calls each of His priests to friendship with Himself.
He desires to unite their hearts to His Heart
and to be one with them
as He is one with His Father.
When the Father turns His gaze upon a priest,
He sees Christ.
When a priest acts in the Name of Jesus
and utters the words placed on His lips by the Church,
the Father sees and hears Christ.
The prayer of the priest is the prayer of Christ,
and every prayer made by a priest,
in accordance with the liturgy of the Church,
is received by the Father in Heaven
as He receives the personal, ceaseless intercession
of Christ Himself before His Face.
Our Lord would have souls love priests for His sake,
-- not with a sentimental love born of human neediness
and fruitless attachment --
but with a charity like that of the holy women disciples,
who loved Him,
in imitation of Mary, His Mother,
following in her footsteps.
Those who love the priests of Christ
with a supernatural charity,
love Christ Himself.
Love for priests
is best expressed in prayer and in sacrifice for them.
Christ's faithful need to learn, once again,
to reverence His priests,
for by showing reverence to priests,
they are, in effect, summoning them to holiness.
Reverence shown a priest is never misplaced
for Our Lord receives it as reverence shown to His own Divine Person.
Even when the priestly Face of Christ is disfigured, dishonoured,
and vilified in a particular priest,
that priest remains, nonetheless, the anointed one of the Lord.
The priest fallen on the field of spiritual combat
or deceived by the enemy and led into sin,
remains an image of Christ the Priest.
In the fallen priest, Christ shows His Face
ally bloody, tumefied, and disfigured
as He showed it to Veronica
in His most bitter Passion.
Where are the Veronicas who will minister to Christ's fallen priests?
Who will wipe their faces?
Who will show them tenderness, reverence, and compassion?
Who will console them in their humiliations,
in their sorrow, their defeat, and their abjection?
Christ searches for souls to console His priests,
-- and to console Him living in them --
and He finds so few.
His fallen priests are reviled, mocked,
and handed over to public scorn.
Even in their sinfulness,
even in their betrayal of Christ
and their crimes against His Mystical Body,
these men covered with shame
remain His chosen ones, and the privileged friends of His Sacred Heart.
If one cannot pity them and console them for their own sakes,
one can, at least, do so for the sake of Christ.
In His fallen priests
Christ sees the haggard and anxious face of Judas, His betrayer.
Our Lord loved Judas,
even after he had gone out into the night.
He loved him in Gethsemani.
He loved him after the betrayal.
He loved him even at the moment when,
despairing of His mercy,
Judas hung himself and took his own life.
There is no priest outside the pale of Christ's mercy.
There is no priest to whom Christ will not extend pardon.
There is no priest ,
even if He has betrayed his Lord,
reviled Him, scorned Him,
and abused His rights over His Immaculate Body and Precious Blood,
that the Heart of Jesus is not ready to forgive
and draw once again to Himself.
Priests do not believe half enough in Christ's love for them.
They preach His love,
but, far too often, have no experience of it.
They have no experience of it
because they flee from before His Eucharistic Face
and hardly ever remain, silent and adoring,
close to His Eucharistic Heart.
Where are the souls who will so prevail
over the terrible justice of God
that there will be nothing but divine mercy,
and forgiveness, and the most tender friendship,
for those priests who least deserve it?
Souls who offer themselves as victims for priests
are perfectly aligned with the desires and intentions of the Heart of Jesus.
With such souls He will save even the most forsaken and sinful priests.
With such souls He will search out His lost sheep,
place them upon His shoulders,
and carry them to the hospice of HIs merciful love,
that is, to His Mother's immaculate and maternal Heart.
There He will wash them,
heal them of their diseases,
nourish them with the living Bread that is His Body,
give them to drink of the chalice of His Blood,
and hold them fast in His friendship,
never again to be seduced and deceived
by their Enemy and His.
The present crisis in the priesthood
will result in a purification of the Church of Christ.
A new priesthood will emerge
shining with holiness
and inspiring awe in the souls of those
who will have eyes to see the Face of Christ
on the countenance of His priests.
Our Lord will sanctify His priests
and bring about a great change in priestly life.
Priests will become more apostolic,
more united to Our Lord in prayer,
in His victimhood,
in all His sufferings,
and in His glory.
This will come about through the intercession of His Immaculate Mother,
who loves each priest even as she loves her Jesus.
The maternal Heart of Mary ceaselessly intercedes
for her priest sons.
Spiritual mothers of priests,
priest-intercessors for priests,
fathers, brothers, and friends of priests,
join with the Blessed Virgin Mary
in pleading for them.
Our Lord will not delay in hearing His Mother's supplication,
and the world will be obliged to recognize
that the Church is the Bride of the Crucified
and that her priests are other Christs,
offering themselves with Him,
and giving life to souls.
In lumine vultus Iesu,
D. Mark Daniel Kirby, O.S.B.