On Thursday, the Congregation for the Clergy issued a new edition of its Directory for the Ministry and the Life of Priests. The document makes a clear call for rediscovery of the sacredness of the priesthood within our secularist world.
First and foremost is the priest’s relationship with the Triune God. The revelation of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is linked to the manifestation of God as Love which creates and saves. Now, if redemption is a sort of creation and an extension thereof (in fact it is called “new”), then the priest, the minister of redemption and in light of his being a source of new life, thereby becomes an instrument of the new creation. This already suffices to project the greatness of the ordained minister, independently from his capacities and his talents, his limits and his miseries. This is what led St. Francis of Assisi to write in his Testament: “I am determined to reverence, love and honour these and all the others as my superiors. I refuse to consider their sins, because I can see the Son of God in them and they are my superiors. I do this because in this world I cannot see the most high Son of God with my own eyes except for his most holy Body and Blood which they receive and they alone administer to others”. That is the Body and Blood which regenerate humanity.