St. Josemaria Escriva: A Priest Forever
On June 26th, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Josemaria Escriva. St. Josemaria is one of the patron saints of The Rome Experience because he demonstrated exemplary love for the priesthood and a commitment to helping all priests live holy and happy lives of prayer, fraternity, and virtue.
Each year on The Rome Experience, seminarians have the opportunity to celebrate the feast day in Rome at the Mass celebrated by the Prelate of Opus Dei. They also visit the Prelactic Church of Our Lady of Peace where St. Josemaria’s tomb is venerated and then the program ends in Spain where they visit some of the historical sites related to the life and mission of St. Josemaria.
A PRIEST FOREVER
A Homily by St. Josemaria Escriva (April 13, 1973)
“A priest is no more a man or a Christian than any ordinary lay person. That is why it is so important for a priest to be deeply humble. He must understand that these words of Saint Paul also apply to him in a special way: What have you that you did not receive? What he has received… is God! He has received the power to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Mass (the principal purpose of priestly ordination), to forgive sins, to administer the other sacraments and to preach with authority the Word of God, governing the rest of the faithful in those matters which refer to the Kingdom of Heaven.
“While it indeed presupposes the sacraments of Christian initiation, the priesthood of priests is nevertheless conferred by its own special sacrament. Through that sacrament priests, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are marked with a special character and are so configured to Christ the Priest that they can act in the person of Christ the Head. That is the way the Church is. It does not depend on man’s whim but on the express will of Jesus Christ its founder. Sacrifice and priesthood are so united by God’s ordination, that in both laws — the old and the new covenant — both have existed. Since therefore the Catholic Church in the New Testament has received, through the Lord’s institution, the visible sacrifice of the Eucharist, we must also hold that she has a new priesthood, visible and external, which has taken the place of the old priesthood.
“In those who have been ordained, the ministerial priesthood is added to the common priesthood of all of the faithful. Therefore, although it would be a serious error to argue that a priest is more a member of the faithful than an unordained Christian is, it can, on the other hand, be said that he is more a priest: like all Christians he belongs to the priestly people redeemed by Christ, and in addition to this he is marked with a character of the priestly ministry which differentiates him essentially and not only in degree from the common priesthood of the faithful.
Learn more about St. Josemaria Escriva at www.stjosemaria.org