5 Things To Know About the Catholic Priesthood
1. The priest finds his identity in Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest.
Priests act in persona Christi capitis ("in the person of Christ the head"). A priest possesses and is called to live out the following fundamental aspects of Jesus Christ's own identity: Beloved Son of the Eternal Father, Chaste Spouse of the Church, Spiritual Father, Spiritual Physician, and Good Shepherd.
2. Jesus Christ, the one mediator between God and man, permits the priest to participate in His mediation.
The word "mediator" comes from the Latin term mediare, which means "to intercede" and "to be in the middle." Jesus left us priests as ministers of God's New Covenant and, as St. Paul says, "dispensers" of His mysteries (1 Corinthians 4:1). Through the person of Christ, they intercede for the people of God, teach them, and, by administering the sacraments, helping them enter into the divine mysteries.
3. God calls priests to be living sacrifices, in union with Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is not only the Eternal High Priest, but the Eternal Sacrifice itself—the Lamb of God. Priests are likewise called to immolate themselves for the glory of God and the service to His people. Today, Jesus speaks the same words to priests that He spoke to his first disciples: "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).
4. Jesus yearns for priests to radiate His virtues, above all His Love.
Obedience. Courage. Patience. Perseverance. Purity. Zeal. Holiness. Nobody demonstrated these qualities more than Jesus Christ. But His greatest virtue was His Love, and He calls priests to radiate that same Love to others. Jesus looks at priests, loves them, and desires that their hearts be transformed by the fire of His Sacred Heart, that they might transform others with His Love.
5. Since there is no limit to what Jesus Christ can do, a holy priest truly transformed by Christ can change the world.
"I want to come again into this world . . . in my priests. I want to renew the world by revealing myself through the priests. I want to give my Church a powerful impulse in which I will pour out the Holy Spirit over my priests like a new Pentecost. The Church and the world need a new Pentecost, a priestly Pentecost, an interior Pentecost."
- Jesus to Ven. Concepción Cabrera de Armida