In the days following the ordination, the new priests celebrated their first Masses with large number of their personal family and religious family members in attendance. Coming together from all over the world to form their hearts into one like Christ’s, they will now spread back out to the four corners of the globe in order to give back to God’s people by means of the Word of God what they have contemplated during these years of formation.
However, as Bl. Columba Marmion taught, these men were ordained principally in order to give men the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was to complete this function that the very sacrament of Holy Orders exists. These priests, who “are bound, to acquire [spiritual] perfection in special fashion” will do so principally through the proper celebration of the Mass since this is the greatest act of priestly charity which can be realized. Acknowledging this Venerable Fulton Sheen, taught that the priest’s apostolic effectiveness “has little or nothing to do with their natural endowments. A Eucharistic priest will be a better instrument of the Lord among souls that a learned one who loves him less… ‘I will give such priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.’” On the other hand, the fall of the priest, teaches Sheen, is necessarily accompanied by the priest withdrawing to a distance from the Eucharistic Lord.
But Christ does not come off with the chasuble. And so the priest must perform other ministries as well which do not come about ex opera operantis. Rather, these other ministries which these new priests will perform depend on their very sanctity. This is the teaching of our spiritual father, St. John Paul II, who wrote that the “greater or lesser degree of the holiness of the minster has a real effect on the proclamation of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and the leadership of the community in charity.” The Holy Vatican Council stated: “God ordinarily prefers to show his wonders through those men who are more submissive to the impulse and guidance of the Holy Spirit.” This holiness will attract penitents to his confessional, promote the growth of the Church, and inspire him to be heard even by unbelievers. It is not a question of simply choosing to pursue holiness, for Canon Law actually requires it of priests: “In leading their lives, clerics are bound in a special way to pursue holiness since, having been consecrated to God by a new title in the reception of orders, they are dispensers of the mysteries of God in the service of His people.”
But keeping in mind that the very desire for sanctity is a grace which comes from above, we, the new priests of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word, humbly commend ourselves to your prayers. At the risk of sounding cliché, helps us with your prayers, that we might help you with our ministry. There are certain graces which God has deigned only to bestow upon us once we ask Him for them. Here we can see the power of prayer which St. Therese of the Child Jesus described so beautifully: “How great is the power of prayer! One could call it a Queen who has at each instant free access to the King and who is able to obtain whatever she asks.” Therefore, we ask you who read this to present yourselves before our heavenly Father, interceding on behalf of all priests, that we might docilely receive the graces needed for a faithful and efficacious fulfillment of our ministry.
May God Bless you all,
Fr. Ted Trinko, IVE