"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.


"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 Cur
é 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 had passed.

"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?..."


"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 Mass."

"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 thing!"

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 eyes.

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 doing good.


Web Master's Note: This 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!