FromRome.Info is beginning today a series of personal testimonies from laymen and laywomen on the priesthood, which lies at the core of their faith in Jesus Christ. Each testimony is written to remind us of all of the high ideal of the priesthood, to restore that ideal in the mind of each of us, and to inspire a future generation of vocations to take up that call. This first testimony is:
by Andrew J. Baalman
Today’s Priest is not how the Church Fathers, especially Saint John Chrysostom with Saint Basil writing in the book On The Priesthood and by Saint Ambrose, On The Duties Of The Clergy, has taught.
These two books, plus the book by Blessed Columba Marmion, Christ The Ideal Of The Priest, and the Great Dominican Thomist Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, The Priest In Union With Christ.
Teach something totally different to how priests are today, today from what I see on Twitter of Priests, worrying about vacations, breaks, time off, being social workers. This is not who a Priest is.
When re-discerning the call to Holy Orders I know I received when I was very young, after hearing different testimonial videos that Mother Angelica did for EWTN of priests when they heard the call, and it was mostly when they were young. When I did play Masses, the entire Mass was memorized, each part done with care, reverence and proper, after it was over; our wonderful now retired parish priest, came by as he always did to all his flock and checking up on them; and he saw me, and these words “Do you want to be a Priest?” As a kid, I answered, “I don’t know.”
After my first year of college, nearly lost the faith, but thanks to my mom, it caught fire and bam! I heard those words again, and knew the answer was “Yes!” I contacted the Chancery Office of the Salina Diocese in Salina Kansas, the bishop responded, now Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City; “to study the faith even more deeply.” What books did I go after? The Church Fathers, first book I bought, The City of God by Saint Augustine of Hippo. The first book I read, On The Priesthood by Saint John Chrysostom and then On The Duties Of The Clergy by Saint Ambrose, then those other two books.
These books taught me what a Priest is to be, not what the Priesthood is today and it got me shunned and rejected by religious orders and our diocese.
Today, the Priest is about comfort, taking it easy, not rocking the boat and causing problems by telling the truth and exposing evil. But a Priest is to imitate Christ in all things, his heart is to be so transformed into the heart of Jesus, that when he is seen by someone, they are to not recognize him, but Christ; as a visitor to Ars mentioned when he saw Saint John Vianney.
The priest is to be a servant, to not please people, to not say things to be accepted, to be shunned, rejected as Christ was, always telling the Truth, no matter the cost to his reputation, and getting souls to Heaven. Now, a Priest as I mentioned in the beginning, he worries and wonders when his vacation will be, but if he is to imitate Christ from his very ordination, he has no breaks, he never sleeps, always at prayer, always doing his job in saving souls, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments, teaching and instructing the faithful in the Authentic Faith, calling out heretics, defending souls from error!
If a Priest today would do this, the Church would be in a better position than it is now, all these open heretics professing apostate doctrines would be rejected, renounced, and silenced, but the Priest today has no spine, no courage, because they are afraid and are no longer servants to Christ and no longer imitate the Real Christ, but a Christ they have formed through heretical study they were taught in seminary.
There are a small handful of Priests who still are good, true servants of Christ, but mostly, their patron saint is not Saint John Vianney, but Judas and that is how far the Sacrament of Holy Orders has fallen.
Saint John Vianney shows the way
Who should a Priest really be like? Saint John Vianney and imitate him in all things that he did as a priest and use his sermons.
Easy, the books on his life.
The first book, ‘The Cure Of Ars: Patron Saint Of Parish Priests: by Fr. Bartholomew J. O’ Brien.
In this book, you learn how he developed such a strict life of prayer and penance, how he prayed all night long, about how he converted Ars France, every little detail on how to imitate Saint John Vianney, is in this little book!
The second book, ‘The Little Catechism The Cure Of Ars: by Saint Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney”
This is pretty much the Catechism he used and created to instruct the Faithful in the Catholic Faith!
The Autobiography: “The Cure D’Ars : St. Jean Marie-Baptiste Vianney by Francois Trochu”
Then His Sermons: The Sermons Of The Cure Of Ars: By Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney
Then His Sermons For All Sundays and Feasts Of The Year: By Saint Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney
Just follow the books, imitate Saint John Vianney one hundred percent, get you and your flock to heaven, that is all you have to do!
This essay has been reprinted from A.J.’s Blog at Ordo Militaris Radio, here and here.
If you would like to submit your own essay on the Catholic Priesthood and what it means to you, please leave a comment, indicating your interest or the url of your blog post.
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