– Ordered priesthood
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: – The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers to reap the harvest. (Mt 9,37-38)
The ordained priesthood constitutes one of the three forms taken by the call addressed to the baptized to become involved in the Church: “God, the only Saint, the only Sanctifier, wanted to associate men with Himself as collaborators and humble servants of this work of sanctification.” (Presbyterorum ordinis)
The call to the ordained priesthood arises above all from the fruit of constant contact with the living God, of insistent prayer to the “Master of the harvest” in parish communities, in families and in vocational circles (Benedict XVI JMOV 2011).
It is an intimate call to the depths of the heart which must be clarified and discerned with a companion (priest, vocational center, etc.) to constantly listen to the Holy Spirit who speaks interiorly: “This voice of the Lord who calls, it should not be expected to reach the ears of the future priest in an extraordinary way. It is rather a question of discovering it, of discerning it through the signs which, each day, make known the will of God to Christians who know how to listen” (PO 11).
This presupposes a deep relationship of prayer with Jesus: “Here I am, send me” (Is 6:8).
Those who respond to this call become “shepherds in the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, to be like him and in his person in the midst of his flock, to graze his sheep” (Pope Francis to the seminarians of the Pontifical College Léoniano d’ Anagni).
“It is through the ministry of priests that the spiritual sacrifice of Christians is consummated, in union with the sacrifice of Christ, the only Mediator, offered in the name of the whole Church in the Eucharist by the hands of the priests. (PO 2)
“Thus, in times of prayer and adoration as in the proclamation of the Word, in the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice and the administration of the other sacraments as in the various ministries exercised in the service of men, priests contribute both to increasing the glory of God and to advancing men in the divine life.” (PO 5)
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