His Royal Priesthood, Born of the Eucharist

by Kathleen Beckman, L.H.S.

The Lord Jesus saw them all that night in the Upper Room—each unique brother of His destined to drink of the chalice of the King, chosen and marked with the seal of ministerial priesthood. He knew them and loved them with unfathomable divine charity! That night the first twelve  were with Him in body and spirit , but all the men who would follow after were also visible to His eyes and present to His Sacred Heart . Soon His heart would be pierced to become a sacrament for the Church born of that same heart . On that first Holy Thursday, it consoled Him to observe the generation of His perpetual priesthood as His Apostles gathered for the Last Supper. 

What supreme affection would have been exchanged among the brotherhood that surrounded the Lord that night! He knew the future; He foresaw their martyrdom of love, their persecution at the hands of the world, and the infidelities of future Judases. He saw all of their triumphs and falls, the seeds of faith sown, the lives shaped by their sacrifices, the glorious shouts of joy, and the tragic groans of sorrow. He placed Himself, the royal priesthood, divine mysteries, and the Father’s Kingdom into the hands of ordinary men who would surely fail if it were not for His grace! He chose to focus on the brotherhood of heroic faith, hope and love that would catch souls for His heavenly kingdom. He saw a continuous royal lineage of men who would become princes for love of the Eternal High Priest. He would soon lay down His life for them, and they, after receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit in the same Upper Room, would in turn lay down their lives for Him. He desired to impart His divinity to their humanity to make them holy, as He and the Father are holy.

The Apostles were attentive, but, struggling to grasp their Master’s example and teaching, they could not fathom what was happening in the Upper Room on the eve of His Crucifixion. He saw their good intention to do as He told them: “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” They listened intently to their Master, longing to understand what was happening in that decisive moment. He loved them perfectly; they grasped that much! They encountered His unique, personal love for them and wanted to linger. 

He saw the troubles that would besiege His priests down through the ages. He saw some fall like soldiers in the battle between good and evil: the blood of the martyrs watering the earth with new life. He acknowledged  all human weakness, yet chose to perpetuate Himself through ordinary men. He instituted sacraments of divine love, including the Eucharist and the power to ordain men who would extend His Priesthood. 

He knows His royal brotherhood thoroughly and He loves them with all of His heart.  Everything is theirs for the asking, especially sanctification in Him. Therefore it is written: 

Since you have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, the Son of God, hold fast to your confession.  You do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with your weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way.  With confidence approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help (Heb. 4:14-16).