11 The priest today - reflecting Jesus - Fr. Walter D'Souza

posted Aug 1, 2018, 9:10 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 1, 2018, 9:12 AM ]
Saint John Marie Vianney is well known as a saint not for his academic skills, but for his pastoral skills. The Curé of Ars, as he is called, was born on May 8, 1786, and ordained a priest on August 13, 1815, and it was on that day that his journey began—a journey of discovering the true vocation that God had entrusted to him. Saint Vianney's most profound description of the priesthood was in the statement that he made: "The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus." This statement is a two-way statement, Yes, the priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus, but every priest should have in his heart the love of Jesus; only then does his priesthood have any meaning in this ever changing world.

The Vatican II decree - 'On the Ministry and Life of Priests' - exhorts the priests to remember that "in performing their office, they are never alone, but strengthened by the power of Almighty God, and believing in Christ who called them to share in His Priesthood, they should devote themselves to their ministry with complete trust, knowing that God can cause charity to grow in them." (PO 22).

Saint Vianney is an exemplar of this teaching. To see the transforming consequences of the Sacrament of Holy Orders in a man, all we need to do is to look at the life of Saint John Marie Vianney. It is in him that we see the priest's capacity to change the world. The special characteristic of the Sacrament of Holy Orders is that it enjoins the priest to make Christ present not only in his sacramental work, but also in the various forms of pastoral charities. Vianney understood the deepest mystery that God is not something abstract, but He is a God with a human face. He uses Pauline language "to catch the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, with faces unveiled, and we have become transfigured into the same likeness, borrowing glory from that glory, as the Spirit of the Lord enables us." (2 Cor 3:18)