Christian = Temple, Priest, Victim

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Bl. Mother Mary of the Divine Heart

In the latter part of the 19th century, a humble religious in Germany was accustomed to receiving visits from Our Lord. Like St. Lydwine of Schiedam (d. 1433), St. Marie of the Incarnation (d. 1672), Bl. Elizabeth Canori-Mora (d. 1925) and Ven. Philomena of St. Columba (d. 1868) before her – to name only a few privileged souls – Our Lord would speak with her ‘face to face, as a man is wont to speak with his friend’ (Ex. 33:11).

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Ven. Philomena of St. Columba (d. Aug 13, 1868)

The vocation of this noble soul, Bl. Mother Mary of the Divine Heart (d. 1899), was simple: she was, in imitation of Our Lord, to offer herself as a host for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. “Why”, Our Lord would say to her (I am paraphrasing different parts of her writings), “do you not leave the path of fear? Why will you not follow the path of love, which is shorter and easier?… It is My Will to be all for you… Your heart is an altar upon which everything must be consumed by Divine Love.” (As an aside, it is worth noting that St. Marie of the Incarnation, mentioned above, was never led by the path of fear; rather, she made giant strides along the path of Love).

Let me repeat those final words: “Your heart is an altar upon which everything must be consumed by Divine Love.” Are these words directed to a privileged few? Absolutely not. This is the sublime vocation of all souls, and it is to this that we must all aspire with all our being. We must, in a word, offer to God that sacrifice most pleasing to Him, without which all our other sacrifices are a mere farce. And what sacrifice is this? The sacrifice of our will.

It is only when God – Who is spirit (Jn. 4:24) – possess our wills, that can He act freely, thereby glorifying Himself in us: ‘For obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams’ (1 Kg. 15:22). Obedience, the Saints tell us, pleases God more than great sacrifices “because obedience has no self-will” (Our Lord to St. Bridget of Sweden).

The next time you are tempted to murmur, remember that Jesus is offering Himself to the Father upon the Altars of our churches for your salvation; your vocation is to unite yourself, as did Mother Adele Garnier* (d. 1924), to this mystical immolation of Christ on the Altar of your heart; “by Him,” writes Dom Gueranger, “the Holy Ghost, Who sacred Fount He is (cf. Jn. 4:14; 7:37, 39), pours Himself out upon man, whereby to adapt him to his sublime vocation, and to consummate, in infinite love (which is Himself), that union of every creature with the divine Word.”

*An article on Mother Adele Garnier:
https://www.clairval.com/lettres/en/2015/04/12/2080415.htm

Concretely, you can unite yourself to Christ by receiving Him in Holy Communion, giving Him the key of your will. Always remember that this is the ‘one oblation’ by which ‘He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified’ (Heb. 10:14). There is no greater aid to holiness. Pray to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and you will see that this is true.

Mother Cécile Bruyerè‘s Masterful Explanation of the Christian Vocation

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Mother Cécile Bruyerè, 1895

‘But this, for that He continueth for ever, hath an everlasting priesthood, whereby He is able also to save for ever them that come to God by Him, always living to make intercession for us.’ (Heb. 7:24-25)

“Thus the sovereign pontificate is eternal, and it is exercised for ever; not only in the adorable Person of the Son of God, but in that priestly tribe of which He is the Head, ‘a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood’ (1 Pt. 2:9), wherein all are priests, although in different degrees, and all are called to concelebrate with the supreme Pontiff (p. 409).

A temple, a sanctuary, an altar, a victim, the very presence of the living and true God – all these are not sufficient for liturgical worship; there must moreover be a pontiff. Now man is truly a priest, truly a pontiff in the august function which is celebrated in the sanctuary of his own soul: ‘Thou hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests’ (Apoc. 5:10). Every baptised Christian is priest and king in the secret temple of his own soul, although he is but a single living stone of the edifice built by the hand of God, of which edifice our Lord Jesus Christ is the corner-stone. Such, in his first epistle, is the teaching of the Prince of the Apostles: ‘Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’ (1 Pt. 2:5).

But to realise all the perfection of this priesthood, man must, freely and voluntarily, offer his sacrifice, after the example of the eternal Pontiff whom we hear insisting on the absolutely free character of His oblation: ‘No man taketh my life away from Me; but I lay it down of Myself, and I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again’ (Jn. 10:18). This liberty, which shows him truly to be a priest, was understood by Isaias, when he said: ‘He was offered because it was His own will’ (Is. 53:7) (‘The Spiritual Life and Prayer’, p. 423-424).

“In order to live in one single act of perfect Love, I OFFER MYSELF AS A VICTIM OF HOLOCAUST TO YOUR MERCIFUL LOVE, asking You to consume me incessantly…”
– From St. Therese’s Act of Oblation to Merciful Love

If You Want to Save Souls…

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Pictured: Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

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“I have need of them [priests] to do My work.”

– Jesus to Ven. Louise Margaret (p. 168)

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The Influence of Holy Priests

If a priest is holy, he has the power to effect much good in the world (as do all of us). If you doubt this, read a biography on St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Francis Xavier, St. Padre Pio or St. John Vianney, to whom the Devil said: “If there were three such priests as you, my kingdom would be ruined.”

Much could be said about the dignity and duties of the priest, but let this one quote from St. John Vianney suffice for now:

“Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put Him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if this soul should happen to die [i.e. the spiritual death of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest… After God, the priest is everything!”

The Responsibility of Priests

“Priesthood entails the greatest responsibility. Everyone raised to this holy estate is required to give a strict account, not only of the administration of My holy mysteries and of his personal holiness too, but also of the souls that were entrusted to his charge. Woe to those who ill-perform their task in My Church! I require of them again the immortal souls that I redeemed to dearly with My Blood.”

– Our Lord to Marie Dominica Clara Moes (p. 194)

Wounded Priests

Unfortunately, many priests neither know nor love the Church; it seems that many priests have been mortally wounded by sin, and are in desperate need of help. Even in St. Bridget of Sweden’s time, Our Lord often spoke to her about the wickedness of priests.

Nowadays, it is all too common to hear of some scandal or another. Alas, many priests do not know how sublime their vocation is, nor do they appreciate the fact that they have been ordained for God’s glory, for the salvation of immortal souls!

‘In the multitude of people is the dignity of the king.’

– Prov. 14:28

What can we do about this sad state of affairs? Should we wallow in sadness and despair? Should we complain about priests and the obvious crisis in the Church? No!

Victims of Divine Love and Mercy

What can we do, then? We can be Eucharistic souls! Like St. Therese, we can offer ourselves to God to be victims of His Love and Mercy! How?

“It should be made in the form of a sacrifice; you should offer yourselves as holocausts to be consumed in the fire of love, in order that this love may be diffused throughout the world and inflame souls.”

– Jesus to Ven. Louise Margaret

Victims for Priests

In these troubled times, God is particularly calling souls to offer themselves for the sanctification of priests; He wishes to raise up more generous souls, like Sr. Gertrude Mary, Ven. Louise Margaret, and Mother Marie Dominica Clara Moes, who will spend themselves in the service of priests. A life spent in the service of priests is a life well spent!

“Very well, IF YOU WANT TO SAVE SOULS, there is only one and powerful means: holy priests.

– Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

 

The Priest Fights for the Kingdom of Love

+ “I will make from My dear priests a little army that will fight for good and make My Love reign.”

– Jesus to Ven. Louise Margaret (p. 173)

+ “I shall reform Holy Church by giving her good and holy pastors; it will not be through war and the sword and cruelty, but by peace and calm and the tears and sweat of My friends.”

– The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena (p. 190)

“Nineteen centuries ago, twelve men changed the world; they were not merely men, they were priests. Now once more twelve priests could change the world.”

– Jesus to Ven. Louise Margaret (p. 167)

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References:

– ‘The Love and Service of God, Infinite Love’ by TAN Books

– ‘Divine Communications,’ by Rev. Auguste Saudreau, vol. 2

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“Give yourself entirely to priests and I will give Myself entirely to you.”

– Jesus to Ven. Louise Margaret

Jesus Asks His Spouses to Pray for Priests

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Priests have a sublime vocation. They are called to be “other Christs” in a very special way. Without them, there would be no Sacraments, which are for the faithful, a perpetual source of grace, hope and sanctity.

No priest = no Mass; and the Mass is the greatest gift that we can offer to Almighty God!

“All the praise, the love, the veneration, the worship, the thanksgiving, which Christ presents to the ever-blessed Trinity in every Mass far transcends all the praise of the angels, the adoration of the saints, so far, indeed, that were all the penances, the prayers, the good works of apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and all saints offered to the Holy Trinity they would be less pleasing to the Divine Majesty than one single Mass.”

– Ven. Rev. Martin von Cochem

(What incredible words! This single quotation alone should be reason enough to become Catholic!)

Today, perhaps more than ever, priests need our prayers. Many churches are close to empty; priests are mocked and ridiculed by the media and by countless individuals; many Catholics dissent from the Church’s teaching; and there is a tidal wave of liberal theology and modernism that has infiltrated our seminaries. These are just some of the difficulties facing priests today.

St. Thomas, along with St. Alphonsus and many others, teaches that a religious is bound to strive for perfection, under pain of mortal sin. It is especially incumbent upon us, then, to pray for priests, that they might fulfil their priestly duties.

“Very well, if you want to save souls, there is only one and powerful means: holy priests.”

– Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

‘Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest.’ (Mt 9:38)

By praying and offering sacrifices to God that He might give us holy priests, we are exercising the virtues of faith, hope and love; we are demonstrating mercy, which will attract many graces from God, both now and at the final judgement; we are contributing towards the salvation of our own soul, as well as the souls of our brothers and sisters; we are making God better known and better loved; and we are fulfilling one of our many grave duties as children of the Most High.

Know for certain that those who disrespect priests, disrespect Christ; and those who love priests, love Christ.

“I will men to respect them [priests], not for themselves but for Me, because of the authority I have given them and the dignity with which they are clothed. I do not want this respect to decrease even if their virtue decreases… I have given them to you that they may be angels of the world and your light. If they are not all this, you ought to pray for them and not judge them, but let Me judge them Myself. I desire to be able to show them mercy through your prayers.

– God to St. Catherine of Siena

 ‘People do not pray enough for priests. I have graces reserved for them which I will give them if people ask for them… These are not graces indispensable to their ministry; nevertheless if they possessed these graces they would do more good and souls would benefit greatly thereby.’ 

– Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary