Thursday, March 14, 2013

On the Importance of Becoming a Priest only if Called

Mass being celebrated in a nursing home
The following is from Father Michael Mueller's excellent book, Prayer: The Key to Salvation.  Father Mueller directed a chapter to seminarians to stress the importance of properly preparing themselves with prayer.  He also strongly enjoined them not to become a priest if they were not called by God.  Read what Father has to say about that:

First:  The importance of a pastor teaching his fold how to pray:

"One of the most important duties of a pastor is to teach the people the necessity and efficacy of prayer, and how they are to pray, and for what they are to pray....

Oh, how unspeakable is the pleasure given to Jesus Christ by a pastor, who often in public, as well as in private, fulfills this duty!

How, then, does it happen that so many pastors neglect to comply with this most essential duty?  It is principally because they themselves have never learned how necessary prayer is, and how efficacious, if performed well."

Second:  On those who enter priesthood for selfish purposes:

"Alas! There are but too many who study from low and worldly motives, and seek in the ecclesiastical state nothing but temporal advantages...

My dear young friends, I conjure you, by the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, consider well that, in order to save your souls, you must embrace that state of life to which God has called you; for in that state alone you occupy the place for which God has destined you from all eternity, and in that state He will give you all the graces necessary to fulfill all your duties.  If you live out of the sate to which you are called, it will be very difficult, nay, almost impossible, for you to work out your salvation.    This is true of everyone who lives in a sate of life to which God has not called him, but it is especially true of all those who have chosen the ecclesiastical sate without being called thereto by God... everyone who enters this holy state without being called thereto by God, will be deprived of the proper means and graces to comply with the duties of this holy state...

Anyone who receives Holy Orders without having the sign of a true vocation from God becomes guilty of mortal sin...  This terrible fate (the punishment of Core, Dathan and Abiron, who wished to exercise the functions of High Priest without being called...) St. Ephrem considers as reprobates all those who dare become priests without a Divine vocation.  'I am astounded at the madness of those who are so presumptuous as to perform the functions of the priesthood without having grace for it from Jesus Christ.  Unhappy wretches!  They do not consider that by doing so they are preparing from themselves everlasting torments.'  I would therefore earnestly urge all those young men who are studying for the priesthood, without having an evident vocation, to give up the idea as soon as possible.  The sooner they do t his the better it is for themselves, and for thousands of others.

Third:  For those who are called to the priesthood:

"My dear young friends, consider well the high dignity to which you are called.  The priesthood is the highest dignity on earth.  Innocent III says, 'The priest is placed between God and man; he is less than God, but more than man.'...whosoever intends to embrace the ecclesiastical sate must not only be free from mortal sin, but he must also be enriched with every virtue.  The Church during eleven centuries, excluded from this holy state everyone who had committed even one mortal sin after Baptism; and if anyone, after having received Holy Orders, fell into a mortal sin, he was deposed forever from his sacred office, for the simple reason that he who is not holy should not touch what is holy.

This severe discipline of the Church... has been greatly mitigated; but it has been always required that he who had in his past life become guilty of grievous sins, and desired to receive Holy Orders, should first lead a pure life for some time previous to his ordination.  It would certainly be a mortal sin to receive any of the Holy Orders while still addicted to a sinful habit.  

...A certain author says, 'those who know that their hearts are enslaved by sinful habits, and still dare to receive Holy Orders, should rather be led to a place of execution than to the Church of God.' ..."

There is a lot more written but I will stop here as there is much food for thought.  As always, please remember to pray for our seminarians and our priests.

Note:  Emphasis are mine.

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