November 23, 2007 - Beware of Badmouthing Priests
St. Catherine of Sienna cautioned her disciples to see priests only as “the dispensers of the blood of the humble Immaculate Lamb,” and to overlook the faults which they might notice in them. A priest is a man and therefore always remains fallible and capable of making mistakes, but this does not prevent him from being the anointed of the Lord and having the power to consecrate the body of Christ, to administer the sacraments, and to preach to the people in the name of God. Without the priesthood, we would be deprived of the Holy Eucharist. We would never have the consolation of hearing, in the name of God, “Your sins are forgiven thee.” (John, Chapter 20, Verse 23)
If there were no priests, the churches would be deserted, schools would become secularized, there would be no nuptial blessings. The dying would be deprived of their final anointing, and children would be abandoned to evil. All men would become totally immersed in misery with no one to raise them up and lead them to God. Our Lord Jesus, the sole mediator between God and man, willed to institute the priestood to perpetuate among us, in a visible manner, His work of mediation, salvation, and sanctification. (Acts 14, 23)
The priest accompanies us at every step of our life. Soon after our birth, he welcomes us at the baptismal font; he administers the sacraments to us; he helps us to understand divine truths; he shows us how to lead a good life, blesses our efforts, and strengthens us in our last agony. He often works unseen and unknown. He is misunderstood so much, never sufficiently appreciated. Yet his apostolic work is priceless, indispensable. So shame on us for every time we talk badly about a priest.
Every Christian ought to be grateful for the gift of priesthood. We should be grateful to Jesus for instituting priesthood, and then to those who perform its sublime duties. We must show this by reverent respect and also offering our prayers and good works for priestly vocations. ôLord do not look upon my sins, but hear your servant through the mercy of your inexhaustible charity. You did not leave us orphans when you departed from us, but you left us your Vicar the pope and your ministers, the priests, to baptize us in the Holy Spirit. By your sacred power, they cleanse us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation from our sins, not once, but again and again.
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