Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Value of a Priest: A Reflection as We Search for a Resident Priest

Often it happens in this life that when something is taken away from us, we then realize just how much we loved it.  Our community is currently in need of a resident priest.  As it is now, we have a daily communion service, and only a couple of times a week have the privilege of attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Missing the fullness of the graces found in daily Mass has caused us to reflect on the value of a Mass.
What is the value of a Mass?  Blessed John Paul II provides a profound answer to this question when saying that the Eucharistic sacrifice “is the sacrifice of Redemption and also the sacrifice of the New Covenant.” (DC,9)  When we celebrate the Mass this “single sacrifice of our salvation” is made present [i.e. it occurs here and now] and thus “man and the world are restored to God.” (ibid)  The priest at Holy Mass, acting in persona Christi, by virtue of his Ordination, performs this “true sacrificial act that brings creation back to God.” (ibid).  It is at the Mass that Jesus gathers up all the fragments of our broken humanity, all our cries of pain and suffering and transforms them, through His great priestly prayer, into a pathway to His life and love (Ratzinger, 49-50).  It is here that we realize that “love is stronger than death,” and here that the mysteries of life that haunt us are answered.(ibid)  Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again: this is the answer that the Mass gives us and not only gives us but makes us partakers of.  We become one with Christ in His death and resurrection.
Thus we come to the value of the priest for the Church and for a community of contemplative nuns.  To the priest is entrusted the ministering of the sacraments which nourish, build and sustain the Church.  A contemplative nun is called to be the voice of the Church in prayer.  It is only through the graces we receive in these sacraments that we are able to live a life “worthy of our calling,” that we are able to love the world with the heart of Christ, that we are able to be the heart of the Church in prayer.  Please pray that God will grant us the gift of a priest.
As we await this gift, we pray in union with all those who long to attend daily Mass and as yet are unable.  Together, we reside with all the Church, in a communion of love.  “May Christ bring us all together to everlasting life!” RB 72
If you or someone you know would be interested in serving our community through ministering the holy sacraments, for any amount of time, please click here.

DC= Dominicae Cenae, Letter of Pope John Paul II on the Mystery and Worship of the Holy Eucharist.
Ratzinger, Joseph (Pope Benedict XVI). God is Near Us: The Eucharist the Heart of Life. Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2003.