From my reading this evening …

“A priest has two acts: one is the principal, namely to consecrate the body of Christ; the other is secondary, namely to prepare God’s people for the reception of this sacrament.”

— St Thomas Aquinas, Summa, suppl., q. 40, art. 4


And words that are both reassuring and challenging …

“… our priesthood flows from the priesthood of Christ in his passion and death on the cross.  That means that the priest must take Jesus Christ as much more than a role model for his ministry, although Christ should be that for us, too.  Our imitation of Christ must be more than surface.  It must be intimate and integral.  It must reach into the core of our understanding of ourselves as priests and ministers of God.  Our lives must bear witness to a courageous, ever deepening configuration to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

“I must here repeat something I have tried to emphasize throughout this book: the priestly vocation is a thrilling participation in the holiness and mission of the Trinity.  But the priest is not called to be a perfect man.  The sacramental identity that we receive in Orders does not cancel out our faults and weaknesses.  The power to act in persona Christi is instrumental, not actual.  We are vessels for God’s power.  In the negative sense, this means, as the Church has always believed, that we can do the work of God whether we are holy or not.

“However, we are called and capable in Christ of so much more than mediocrity.  The priest is called to desire the perfection and holiness of Christ and to strive, with the help of God’s grace, to achieve some measure of that perfection and holiness in his life.  We are not perfect, but we should want to be — for Christ and for the people we serve.  And in this we must turn to our model, Jesus Christ.”

— Archbishop Jose J. Gomez, Men of Brave Heart: The Virtue of Courage in the Priestly Life. Huntington, IN, Our Sunday Visitor, 2009, p. 156.