The Role of the Priest
by Mother Louise Margaret Claret de la Touche)The Sacred Heart and the Priesthood (The following was taken from
I am come to cast fire on the earth; said Jesus Christ,
It is to the priest that Christ has confided the task of spreading abroad and keeping alive the divine fire of Charity; and to render him capable of his sublime mission, He has opened to him, more than to any other, the treasures of His indefectible love. He has united him intimately to Himself by making him participate in His eternal priesthood. The priest is, with Jesus Priest, pontiff, mediator, advocate, intercessor; he is, with Him, offering, expiation, victim.
From this state of special union with Jesus Christ, all the acts of the priest draw an incomprehensible excellence. The priest, precious gift of Jesus to men, helper chosen by the divine Master to continue on earth His work of love, by his sacerdotal action, labors without intermission to spread everywhere the flames of divine Charity.
In the course of centuries this Charity having grown cold in the world, Jesus Christ resolved to make a new effusion of love in favor of His creatures. He manifested His Heart overflowing with mercy: Behold, said He, this Heart Which has so loved men! He invited all, especially those souls paralyzed and frozen by neglect and indifference, to come to this furnace of love that they might find warmth and life.
But it is to priests especially that the Sacred Heart wishes to manifest Itself; to His priests called by Him to rekindle and render operative on earth the fire of His Charity. In His ineffable goodness He deigns to have need of them to do His work. What He could effect directly in souls by His grace, He usually does through the mediation and by the co-operation of His priests.
Ah! If the priest knew the treasures of tender love stored up for him in the Heart of Jesus, with what ardor would he not go and draw from that divine source, to fill himself with love to overflowing! Jesus Christ, by showing His Heart to the world, wishes to warm it, to enlighten it, and to save it. By showing It more intimately to His priests, He wishes to induce them to form their hearts after His, and to identify themselves more and more with Him. He wishes above all to reveal to them His incomparable love, and by that to inflame them with more ardent charity towards Himself, with more active, more generous and tender devotedness for the salvation of their brethren. He wishes to communicate to His priests a superabundance of divine, supernatural life, in order that they themselves may be able to vivify souls.
That is the plan of Jesus in manifesting His Heart, and those are the thoughts which we wish to express in this humble volume. May these pages strengthen the souls of priests in the love of their sublime vocation, and unite them more than ever to Jesus Christ, the eternal Priest! May they make the faithful who read them have greater confidence in, and more religious and filial respect for, the orders of the sacred hierarchy! May they develop always more and more the knowledge of Infinite Love and the worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts!
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