TWENTY-SECOND EUCHARISTIC MEDITATION OF THE CURÉ
ON THE PRIEST
"Marvelous dignity of priests!" exclaims St. Augustine;
"in their hands, as in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, the Son of
God becomes incarnate." They are the ministers of Christ and dispensers
of the mysteries of God, St. Paul had said before him. Commenting on
these words, the Curé of Ars said, in his turn,
"Without the priest the death and passion of our Lord would be no use;
the priest has the key of the heavenly treasures; he is God's steward
and the administrator of His goods." Let us ask the Holy Ghost to give
us knowledge of these truths. It will inspire us with a religious
veneration for the character of the priest, and a lively gratitude
towards our Lord Who has invested him with it.
I. THE PRIEST'S GREATNESS
"What is the priest? A man who holds the place of God, a man clothed
with all the powers of God. Go, our
Lord said to the priest, As My Father hath sent Me, I also send you.
"At the consecration the priest does not say, 'This is the Body of our
Lord.' He says, 'This is My Body.'
"Behold the power of the priest! The tongue of the priest makes God
from a morsel of bread! It is more than creating the world. Someone
said, 'Does St. Philomena, then, obey the Curé
of Ars?' Certainly, she may well obey him, since God obeys him. The
blessed Virgin cannot make her Divine Son descend into the host. A
priest can, however simple he may be.
"How great is the priest! He will only rightly understand himself in
Heaven... To understand it on earth would make one die, not of fear,
but of love...
"If A were to meet a priest and an angel, I should salute the priest
before the Angel. The latter is the friend of God, but the priest
stands in His place. St. Teresa used to kiss the ground where a priest
"Great value is attached to objects which have been laid in the
porringer of the blessed Virgin and the child Jesus at Loreto. But the
fingers of the priest which have touched the adorable Flesh of Jesus
Christ, been dipped in the chalice which has held His Blood, and in the
ciborium which has held His Body—are they not more precious?..."
II. THE PRIEST THE NURSING-FATHER OF SOULS AND THE PILLAR OF
"When the bell summons you to church, if you were asked 'Where are you
going?' you might answer, 'I am going to feed my soul!' And if someone
pointed to the tabernacle and asked you, 'What is that gilded door?'
'It is the store-cupboard—my soul's store-cupboard." 'Who has the key?
Who provides everything? Who makes ready the feast, and waits at
table?' 'The priest.' 'And the food?' 'It is the precious Body and
Blood of our Lord.'... O my God, my God! how Thou hast loved us!"
"The priest is to you as a mother, as a nurse to a baby. She gives him
his food; he has only to open his mouth. 'There, my little one, eat,'
the mother says to her child. 'Take and eat,' the priest says to you;
'this is the Body of Jesus Christ; may it keep you and bring you to
eternal life!' O glorious words!... A child rushes to his mother when
he sees her; he struggles with those who hold him back; he opens his
little mouth and stretches out his little hands to kiss and clasp her.
So in the presence of the priest your soul springs naturally towards
him; it runs to meet him, but is held back by the bonds of the flesh in
men who give all to the senses and live only for the body."
"At sight of a spire you may say, 'What is there? The Body of our Lord.
Why is it there? Because a priest has been there and has said holy
"The priest is everything, after God!... Leave a parish for twenty
years without a priest, and beasts will be worshipped there.
"If M. le Missionaire and I were to go away, you would say, 'What is
there to do in that church? There is no more Mass. Our Lord is no
longer there; we may just as well pray at home..."
"When men want to destroy religion they begin by attacking the priest,
because where the priest is no more, there is no more sacrifice, and
where there is no more sacrifice, there is no more religion."
"The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see the
priest, think of our Lord Jesus Christ."
M. Vianney once said at catechism: "To celebrate Mass one ought to be a
seraph! I hold our Lord in my
hands. I move Him to the right, and He stays there, to the left, and He
stays there!... To know what the Mass is would be to die. Only in
Heaven shall we understand the happiness of saying Mass! Alas, my God!
how much a priest is to be pitied when he does this as an ordinary
St. Jean-Marie showed great reverence for the sacred liturgy, and
observed its least details with much exactness. When he distributed
Holy Communion his face lit up and wore an angelic expression; his
voice was full of deep emotion, and tears of love often fell from his
O blessed Jean-Marie, blessed be God for having given you to the world
to teach it in your person what the priest is, his high dignity and his
beneficent power! Make us always to venerate our priests as the
dispensers of God's mysteries and the ministers of Him Who went about
BANNER IMAGE PLAIN MEDIUM
THE BANNER IMAGE PLAIN LARGE
Web Master's Note:
morning at Holy Mass we had the most inspiring sermon on the Blessed
Sacrament, which quoted our former bishop who said that every time we
receive Our Lord in the Eucharist it should always be like the first
time we received Holy Communion. Throughout the sermon I kept coming
back to this track in my mind. I should have published it here ages
ago, but here it is at last!