The Catholic Priesthood is very much distinct from all other Priestly offices and ministries there is. It traces its origins to Christ Our Lord.
The Catholic Priesthood is a marriage between the Lord and men, whom He calls to be His Priests. Men with all their frailties but chosen for greater works among God’s people here on earth.
The beautiful thing about this ministry is that the Lord does not call Saints but ordinary men from among us. Some of these men are known to you and you have affiliation with them. Some are your sons, brothers, nephews, grandsons, cousins, and what have you.
They are called to ministry not because they are the best but because God has need of them in His vineyard. Their calling happens ordinarily through the events of our daily lives and convinced by that deeper and intimate love for the Divine, they respond gracefully to become Priests after His heart.
In His bid to save His own, God uses ordinary men to do extraordinary things in the lives of His people. At every moment of life, there is a great need for a Priest among us. There is that great need because, he represents God’s love and mercy among us. He is called to celebrate God’s love, mercy and presence among us in the sacraments.
The Priest becomes a true replica of Christ among the faithful, his presence among God’s people should move them to a deeper relationship and a desire to be with God always.
He becomes a bridge linking people to God and bringing God closer to His people. His marriage to God, affords him that opportunity to be an intermediary where he brings his human family(all who have entrusted to him as shepherd) to God.
He is to establish a healthy Divine-Human relationship where his flock are not far away from God. As a Sheperd, he is to lead his flock to graze in the presence of God without fear on the part of the flock.
This he is to do by helping the flock understand and come to appreciate who God truly is.
The flock will come to understand this by their very own relationship with him(Priest). The love and mercy of God, will be better appreciated by the flock only when they see these qualities in the Priest who is leading them to God.
Why would the Divine look to the mortal in His bid to save us? God will look to the mortal because he better understands what goes on around him and knows what it really is. To save man, God is using one of its kind to achieve that purpose.
It sounds ideal to see one of us talk about what is intended for us with God than having someone who doesn’t understand us do that. It is always good to use one who knows the terrain to make things happen.
God who is Divine invites the Priest who is mortal to a covenantal marriage where God provides for the needs of His children by using the Priest as an intermediary and a point of blessing.
The Priest is not Priest to himself but of God to His people. He becomes a vessel being used by God to draw His people to Himself and also to bless them. The beautiful thing about the Priesthood is that mortal man gets the opportunity to celebrate God’s love and mercy through the sacraments ordained by Jesus Christ which gives us grace in every aspect of our lives whenever it is celebrated.
The celebration of the sacraments clearly brings us grace. Grace which only becomes real in our lives and hearts through the Priestly works of mortal men. This, we feel in our innermost being when the Priest pronounces those words and acts in “Persona Christi Capitis”.
We are filled with awe at the prayers of consecration at Ordinations and Mass, when the status of man is changed forever and bread and wine is transformed into the real body and blood of Christ. This is beautiful to behold, and it beats our imagination but it is God’s doing.
How about the prayer of absolution the Priest says over a penitent in the confessional? You leave that place feeling a burden has been taking off your shoulders. That’s the beauty of the Catholic Priesthood.
The Catholic Priesthood is and will be what the Lord Himself has destined it to be always. A divine-human relationship couched in marriage, where the divine who is God empowers the mortal, who is His Priest to work for Him among His people.
This Divine Marriage is destined for greatness and has seen greatness all these years. It will continue to thrive and see greater things in the years ahead of it, it will be blown by the storms of life but will not fall apart for its foundation is firmly rooted in the Lord who is its founder.
Pray for your Priests that the Lord who has called them and entrusted to them this ministry, will keep them close at heart always. Amen.
Source: Fr. Charles Tawiah