Cloistered Dominican Nuns Corpus Christi Monastery

Father.Priest.Forever. (Part 2 of 2)

For part one on Fathers, click here.

Yet, we also cannot deny we live in a fallen world and our earthly fathers are not perfect – for some, they are far from God’s ideal for us and deep scars and wounds are the result.  Nonetheless, there is still hope and healing.  God the Father, the only perfect Father, still comes to us as a Father, sometimes directly to our hearts, sometimes through the saints, and sometimes through other men as foster fathers and father figures.  But His most wonderful gift as Father is that of our spiritual fathers – our bishops and priests – for they alone can give us the sacraments we need for healing and wholeness.

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As our natural fathers gave us life on earth, Jesus gave priests a share in His power to bring life to souls, to feed and nourish us, and instruct us in the ways of the Kingdom.  It is in baptism that we are made spiritually alive in Christ.  It is through confirmation that we are sealed and strengthened in the Holy Spirit.  It is in the Holy Eucharist that we are fed and nourished for our journey.  It is in the sacrament of reconciliation we experience the healing power of Jesus’ forgiveness and grace as balm to the wounds of our souls.  It is in the sacrament of matrimony that a couple is given supernatural grace to complete their vocation in union with each other for the raising of children.  And it is the sacrament of the sick that we are strengthened and healed in times of physical infirmity.  It is through their preaching and teaching we are formed and edified in our faith.  Through the hands of a priest, the grace, healing, and power of Jesus is made present to His people.

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To be a newly ordained priest is to be a new father.  Your life is now, irrevocably, not your own.  Your bride is the Church.  Your children are the countless souls in your parish, mission field, and even the needy soul you meet on the street.  You are fastened with Christ to the cross, spending your life in love of Him, so that you are a channel for His grace to those souls thirsting, dying for Him.  Human hands can wield life or death.  Yours are now consecrated to hold Christ under the appearance of bread and wine, to anoint a frail body before death, to bring blessing and healing to a soul wounded by sin.

FrChrisConsecration- from OPWest

Pictured by our friars @OPWest.org

As Dominican nuns, members of a clerical order, we cannot help but be overjoyed at the ordination of our new priests.  Though we first met you as novices in our parlor, you were in our prayers long before as we prayed for new vocations to our Order.  Now having your face and name, we took you more deeply into our hearts as you began your formation.  For eight years, we prayed and sacrificed, sharing in your sorrows and joys.  Like Mary, we often watched from afar, pondering God’s Word, and all these things, in our heart, yet never separated from you.  You had become our sons and our brothers.  Now, on the great and momentous day of your ordination, you have also become our father.  As you ascend to the altar, we see a glimpse of the eternal fruit of our life – with its prayer and work, joys and sorrows.  Through you, by God’s grace, our precious Lord and Savior is made present in the Most Holy Eucharist.  Your hands stretched over us in blessing call down His favor.  We rejoice and will continue to walk with you, carry you, and all your children, in our heart.  Let us pray together for our new priests as they begin their priestly and fatherly ministry.

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A sister kissing the anointed hands of the newly ordained priest after receiving his first priestly blessing

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…We rejoice and will continue to walk with you, carry you, and all your children, in our heart…

As children, we have a three-fold obligation to our fathers: honor, because they gave us existence; support, because they gave us nourishment; and obedience, because they gave us instruction (except in those things contrary to God).  So this Father’s Day, if possible, find a way to show honor and support to your fathers, both natural and spiritual, and don’t forget your bishop and parish priest.

 

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