"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Fr. Campbell, "The Servant and the Sacrifice"

The Servant and the Sacrifice

Fr. Campbell 

On Holy Thursday we celebrate what has been handed down to us from the Apostles, “that the Lord Jesus, on the night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks broke, and said, ‘This is my body which shall be given up for you; do this in remembrance of me” (1Cor.11:23,24).


Contained therein are three sacred mysteries—the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and the Holy Priesthood, all of which Jesus Christ instituted at that Last Supper. This is our precious heritage, which defines us and makes us His true children. This is what we celebrate on Holy Thursday.


We hear from Dom Prosper Gueranger in his great work, The Liturgical Year:  

“The institution of the holy Eucharist, both as a Sacrament and a Sacrifice, is followed by another: the institution of a new priesthood… The twelve apostles are the first to partake of it; but observe what He says to them: ‘Do this for a commemoration of Me.’ By these words, He gives them power to change bread into His Body, and wine into His Blood; and this sublime power shall be perpetuated in the Church, by holy Ordination, even to the end of the world. Jesus will continue to operate, by the ministry of mortal and sinful men, the mystery of the Last Supper.”

The true Mass and the true priesthood we shall always have, until the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds of heaven. But neither the Mass nor the priesthood has ever been understood by the world, just as it was unable to understand or accept Jesus Christ Himself. The worldly man, St. Paul tells us, is unable to understand the things that are of the Spirit of God (1Cor.2:14).

Unfortunately, the priesthood is not understood even by many who call themselves priests. The on-going scandals of the Vatican II church are sufficient evidence of this, while the media call for the resignation of bishops and the abolition of celibacy. It makes no difference to them that their demands are unreasonable, considering that our whole society is in a state of moral collapse, because it gives them opportunity to hack away at their favorite target, the Catholic Church.

One alleged victim remarked, “We have to remember that they (priests) are just men, like other men.”

This is not the truth. When we are baptized, we are not “like other men”. At his baptism, the priest is raised, like all the baptized, above the level of the merely human, since he becomes a child of God by adoption, sharing the divine life through sanctifying grace. Every Christian can “walk in the Spirit” (Gal.5:16), and do things that are far beyond the power of unaided human nature – unless he forgets what he is called to be and begins to be conformed to this world, which is unable to recognize the supernatural dimension of the Christian life.

But the priest is also “called from among men” by the sacrament of Holy Orders to be “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” He must believe this, and know that he can never be as other men. He must pray as a priest, think as a priest, live as a priest. He must do this, remembering that human nature of itself is incapable of attaining salvation, and is in a fallen state. Even St. Paul declared, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

The priest must remember that Adam and Eve lost Paradise for themselves and for their descendants because of sin. He must remember that the human race became so corrupt that God found it necessary to destroy it by the flood, from which only Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives were saved by entering the ark. And he must recognize that in our time mankind has once more become corrupt, spiritually blind and ensnared in sin, just as Jesus predicted:

“And as it was in the days of Noah, even so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away; even so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Mt.24:37-39).

Like our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, the true priest must be “priest, prophet and king.” As priest he offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; as prophet he interprets the signs of the times, and as king he holds in his hands “the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.” But the priest must also be a servant, washing the feet of the disciples, sharing their deepest sorrows, and absolving them of their sins. 

“The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest” (Mt.9:37,38).