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Reflections: Priests & Voctns. Sctn. (Mass)

St. John Vianney, the Curé D'Ars (patron saint of priests)

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Priests & Vocations Sctn.:

Priests & The Holy Eucharist / Mass

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Priests & The Holy Eucharist / Mass



Priests & The Holy Eucharist / Mass

Also See: Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Topic Page)

"For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts." (Mal. 1:11) [DR Trans.]

"Jesus said to them, 'Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.'" (Jn. 6:53-56)

"And taking bread, [Jesus] gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. In like manner the chalice also, after he had supped, saying: This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you." (Lk. 22:19-20) [DR Trans.]

"The Eucharist is the principal and central raison d'etre of the sacrament of the priesthood" (Pope John Paul II, 2003 A.D.)

"[T]he principal act of a priest is to consecrate the Body and Blood of Christ" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 810 Priests shall not fail to dispose themselves by pious prayers to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and when it is finished, to give thanks to God for such a gift." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"What care must you not take to keep yourself wholly for Him who honors you in such a way as to place Himself in your hands, and comes into them when you pronounce the words of consecration!" (St. John of Avila)

"Can. 803 It is not licit for priests to celebrate [Mass] without having observed a natural fast from midnight." (1917 Code of Canon Law) [Note: Included herein for reference purposes. All purely disciplinary laws may be subject to change (as fasting requirements have).]

"When people want to destroy religion, they start by attacking priests, because where there are no priests, there is no sacrifice; and where there is no sacrifice, there is no religion." (St. John Vianney)

"For priests, as ministers of sacred things, are first and foremost ministers of the Sacrifice of the Mass: The role is utterly irreplaceable, because without the priest there can be no Eucharistic offering." (Pope John Paul II)

"Can. 811 He shall abstain from cap and ring unless he is a cardinal of the H.R.C., or a Bishop or blessed Abbot, or unless by apostolic indult the use of these is permitted him in celebrating Mass." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"How pure should not he be who shares in this sacrifice [of the Mass]! More resplendent than the sun must be the hand that divides this Flesh, the mouth that is filled with spiritual fire, the tongue that is reddened by this Blood!" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Can. 860 The obligation of the precept of receiving Communion that binds those below the age of puberty falls especially on those who are bound to have their care, that is, parents, guardians, confessors, teachers, and pastors." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Is it not through our priestly ministry that there is accomplished what the next verses of Mary's Magnificat speak of? Behold, the Redeemer, the God of the cross and of the Eucharist, indeed 'lifts up the lowly' and 'fills the hungry with good things.'" (Pope John Paul II)

"Can. 818 Reprobating every contrary custom, celebrating priests are to observe accurately and devoutly the rubrics of their own ritual books, taking care lest they add other ceremonies or prayers on their own authority." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"With regard to the power of priests over the real body of Jesus Christ, it is of faith that when they pronounce the words of Consecration, the Incarnate Word has obliged Himself to obey and to come into their hands under the sacramental species." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

[To preachers of his order:] "I beg you, with all that is in me and more, that, when it is appropriate and you judge it profitable, you humbly beg the clergy to revere above everything else the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and His holy written words which consecrate [His] Body." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"Can. 807 Priests conscious of grave sin, no matter how contrite they believe themselves to be, shall not dare to celebrate Mass without proper sacramental confession; but if because there is lacking a sufficient supply of confessors and there is urgent necessity, he shall make an act of perfect contrition, celebrate, and as soon as possible confess." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 528 §2 The parish priest is to take care that the blessed Eucharist is the centre of the parish assembly of the faithful. He is to strive to ensure that the faithful are nourished by the devout celebration of the sacraments, and in particular that they frequently approach the sacraments of the blessed Eucharist and penance." (From the 1983 Code of Canon Law)

"One must not forget the primary office of priests, who have been consecrated by their ordination to represent Christ the Priest: for this reason their hands, like their words and their will, have become the direct instruments of Christ. Through this fact, that is, as ministers of the Holy Eucharist, they have a primary responsibility for the Sacred Species, because it is a total responsibility." (Pope John Paul II)

"Sacrifice and priesthood are, by ordinance of God, in such wise conjoined, as that both have existed in every law. Whereas therefore in the New Testament the Catholic Church has received from the institution of Christ the holy visible sacrifice of the Eucharist; it must needs also be confessed that there is in that Church a new, visible, and external priesthood, into which the old has been translated (Heb 7:12)." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1273 Those to whom the religious instruction of the faithful falls shall omit nothing that would excite piety for the most holy Eucharist in their spirits and shall especially encourage them that, not only on [Sundays] and feasts of precept, but also on regular days during the week, they assist at the sacrifice of the Mass and visit the most Holy Sacrament frequently insofar as this is possible." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 824 § 1 According to the received and approved manner and institution of the Church it is permitted to every priest celebrating and applying a Mass to receive an offering, that is, a stipend. § 2 As often as a priest celebrates on a day, if he applies one Mass by title of justice, except on the day of the Nativity of the Lord, he cannot receive another offering, except by some payment based on an extrinsic title." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"For priests, to whom Christ our Redeemer entrusted the office of consecrating and dispensing the mystery of His Body and Blood, can assuredly make no better return for the honor which has been conferred upon them, than by promoting with all their might the glory of his Eucharist, and by inviting and drawing the hearts of men to the health-giving springs of this great Sacrament and Sacrifice, seconding thereby the longings of His most Sacred Heart." (Pope Leo XIII, "Mirae Caritatis", 1902 A.D.)

"[P]riests...are the ministers of Christ, principally in order to celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice. And precisely in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, when 'in the person of Christ', he consecrates bread and wine, which become the Body and Blood of Christ, the priest can draw from that same fountain of the supernatural life the inexhaustible treasures of salvation and all those helps which he needs for himself personally and for the fulfillment of his mission." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"The holy sacrifice of the Eucharist will build the road for us to beseech God and will open the way to obtain anything we want. For this reason, entangled in the great preoccupations of our office, we shall not refuse to offer the holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ frequently to God. We do not think that we have been given any greater task than to offer repeatedly this Sacrifice of appeasement to God the Father for our sins and those of the faithful." (Pope Clement XIII, "A Quo Die", 1758 A.D.)

"The sacrifice of the Mass must be offered by pastors of souls for the people committed to their care; this obligation comes from a divine precept according to the teachings of the Council of Trent, since the same Council teaches in most express and grave words: 'it is by divine mandate that all those to whom the care of souls is committed are to know their sheep and offer [the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass] for them.' The encyclical letter of Benedict XIV of 19 August 1744 speaks most wisely about this obligation, explaining and confirming more fully the mind of the Fathers of Trent." (Pope Pius IX, "Amantissimi Redemptoris", 1858 A.D.)

"Furthermore, they shall not allow any one who is publicly and notoriously stained with crime, either to minister at the holy altar, or to assist at the sacred services; nor shall they suffer the Holy Sacrifice [of the Mass] to be celebrated, either by any Seculars or Regulars whatsoever, in private houses; or, at all, out of the church, and those oratories which are dedicated solely to divine worship, and which are to be designated and visited by the said Ordinaries; and not then, unless those who are present shall have first shown, by their decently composed outward appearance, that they are there not in body only, but also in mind and devout affection of heart." (Council of Trent)

"What great care is to be taken, that the sacred and holy Sacrifice of the Mass be celebrated with all religious service and veneration, each one may easily imagine, who considers, that, in holy writ, he is called accursed, who doth the work of God negligently; and if we must needs confess, that no other work can be performed by the faithful so holy and divine as this tremendous mystery itself, wherein that life-giving Victim [that is, Christ], by which we were reconciled to the Father, is daily immolated on the altar by priests, it is also sufficiently clear, that all industry and diligence is to be applied to this end, that it be performed with the greatest possible inward cleanness and purity of heart, and outward show of devotion and piety." (Council of Trent)

"If we also consider the social and cultural conditions of the modern world it is easy to understand how priests face the very real risk of losing their focus amid such a great number of different tasks... We can understand, then, how important it is for the spiritual life of the priest, as well as for the good of the Church and the world, that priests follow the Council's recommendation to celebrate the Eucharist daily: 'for even if the faithful are unable to be present, it is an act of Christ and the Church'. In this way priests will be able to counteract the daily tensions which lead to a lack of focus and they will find in the Eucharistic Sacrifice - the true center of their lives and ministry - the spiritual strength needed to deal with their different pastoral responsibilities." (Pope John Paul II, 2003 A.D.)

"Pastors, aware of the warning of the Apostle that those who discern not the body of the Lord are guilty of a most grave crime, should first of all impress on the minds of the faithful the necessity of detaching, as much as possible, their mind and understanding from the dominion of the senses; for if they believe that his Sacrament contains only what the senses disclose, they will of necessity fall into enormous impiety. Consulting the sight, the touch, the smell, the taste and finding nothing but the appearances of bread and wine, they will naturally judge that this Sacrament contains nothing more than bread and wine. Their minds, therefore, are as much as possible to be withdrawn from subjection to the senses and excited to the contemplation of the stupendous might and power of God." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"The Eucharistic Sacrifice in which the Immaculate Victim [that is, Christ] who taketh away the sins of the world is immolated, requires in a special way that the priest, by a holy and spotless life, should make himself as far as he can, less unworthy of God, to whom he daily offers that adorable Victim, the very Word of God incarnate for love of us. Agnoscite quod agitis, imitamini quod tractatis, 'realize what you are doing, and imitate what you handle,' says the Church through the Bishop to the deacons as they are about to be consecrated priests. The priest is also the almoner of God's graces of which the Sacraments are the channels; how grave a reproach would it be, for one who dispenses these most precious graces were he himself without them, or were he even to esteem them lightly and guard them with little care." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"[A]t the Last Supper, the same night in which He was betrayed in order to leave to His beloved spouse the Church, a sacrifice which should be visible (as the nature of man requires), which should represent that bloody sacrifice, once and for all to be completed on the cross, which should perpetuate His memory to the end of time, and which should apply its saving power unto the remission of sins we daily commit, showing Himself made a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech, offered to God the Father, under the appearance of bread and wine, His Body and Blood, giving them to the apostles (whom He was then making priests of the New Covenant) to be consumed under the signs of these same things, and commanded the Apostles and their successors in the priesthood to offer them, by the words 'Do this in commemoration of Me.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"As of all the sacred mysteries bequeathed to us by our Lord and Savior as most infallible instruments of divine grace, there is none comparable to the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist; so, for no crime is there a heavier punishment to be feared from God than for the unholy or irreligious use by the faithful of that which is full of holiness, or rather which contains the very author and source of holiness. This the Apostle wisely saw, and has openly admonished us of it. For when he had declared the enormity of their guilt who discerned not the body of the Lord, he immediately subjoined: Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many [are dying] (1 Cor. 11:30). In order that the faithful, therefore, aware of the divine honors due to this heavenly Sacrament, may derive therefrom abundant fruit of grace and escape the most just anger of God, pastors should explain with the greatest diligence all those things which may seem calculated more fully to display its majesty." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"(For) you have asked us what we think about the careless priest who, when he knows that he is in mortal sin, hesitates because of the consciousness of his guilt to celebrate the solemnity of the Mass, which he however, cannot omit on account of necessity... and, when the other details have been accomplished, pretends to celebrate Mass; and after suppressing the words by which the body of Christ is effected, he merely takes up the bread and wine... Since, therefore, false remedies must be cast aside, which are more serious than true dangers, it is proper that he who regards himself unworthy on account of the consciousness of his own crime ought reverently to abstain from a sacrament of this kind, and so he sins seriously if he brings himself irreverently to it; yet without a doubt he seems to offend more gravely who so fraudulently presumes to feign (the sacrifice of the Mass); since the one by avoiding sin, as long as he acts, falls into the hands of the merciful God alone; but the other by committing sin, as long as he lives, places himself under obligation not only to God whom he does not fear to mock, but also to the people whom he deceives." (Pope Innocent III, "De Homine Qui", 1208 A.D.)

"Since, venerable brothers, you yourselves know full well the holy sacrifice of the Mass contains a great source of instruction for the faithful, never cease to exhort pastors especially and other preachers of the divine word and those to whom the task of educating the Christian people is delegated to explain to the faithful the necessity, excellence, greatness, purpose and fruits of so holy and admirable a sacrifice. Likewise inflame the faithful themselves to frequently attend this sacrifice with the faith, religion, and piety it deserves, that they may be able to obtain the divine mercy and all kinds of benefits they need. Nor should you cease encouraging the priests of your dioceses to be outstanding in moral integrity, dignity, innocence of life, and sanctity. Those who alone are given the privilege of consecrating the divine host and accomplishing so holy and awesome a sacrifice should display these qualities. Therefore, frequently exhort all who are initiated into the most holy priesthood to give serious consideration to the ministry which they have received in the Lord. They should fulfill their ministry, being always mindful of the dignity and heavenly power with which they are endowed; they should shine forth with the splendor of all kinds of virtue; they should occupy themselves with divine worship, divine things, and the salvation of souls. Then, offering themselves as a living and holy host to the Lord, and always carrying about in their bodies the mortification of Jesus, they may duly offer with pure minds and clean heart to God the propitiatory host for their own salvation and that of all the world." (Pope Pius IX, "Amantissimi Redemptoris", 1858 A.D.)

"All of us who are clerics should be aware of the great sin and ignorance which some people have toward the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and His most holy written words which consecrate [His] Body. We know that it cannot become His Body without being first consecrated by [H]is word. For in this world we have and see nothing corporally of the Most High except [His] Body and Blood, and the words through which we have been made and have been redeemed from death to life. But let all who administer such holy mysteries - especially those who administer them carelessly - consider the sad state of the chalices, the corporals, and the altar-linens upon which the Body and Blood of our Lord are sacrificed. And [the holy Eucharist] is left by many in dirty places, carried about in a miserable manner, received unworthily, and administered to others without discretion. Even His sacred written words are sometimes left to be trampled underfoot; for the person who does not have the spirit does not perceive the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14). Are we not moved by a sense of piety concerning all these things, since the good Lord offers Himself into our hands and we handle Him and receive Him daily with our mouth? Or do we forget that we must come into His Hands (cf. Heb. 10:31)? Well then, let us quickly and firmly amend our ways in these and other matters; and wherever the most holy Body of our Lord Jesus Christ has been unlawfully housed and neglected, let It be removed from that place and deposited and locked in a precious location. Likewise, wherever the written words of the Lord may be found in unbecoming places, they are to be collected and kept in a place that is becoming. And we know that we are bound to observe all of these matters above all else according to the precepts of the Lord and the constitutions of holy Mother Church. And whoever has not done so, let him know that he will be bound to give an account before our Lord Jesus Christ on the day of judgment (Mt. 12:36). Those who make copies of this writing so that it may be better observed should know that they will be blessed by the Lord God." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"In the Lord I also beg all my brothers who are priests, or who will be or who wish to be priests of the Most High, that, whenever they wish to celebrate Mass, being pure, they offer the true Sacrifice of the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ purely...with reverence [and] with a holy and pure intention, not for any mundane reason or out of fear or out of love of some person, as if they were pleasing people. But let every wish be directed to God inasmuch as grace will help [them], desiring thereby to please only the most high Lord since He alone does these things as He pleases. Therefore as He Himself says: Do this in memory of me (Lk. 22:19), if anyone acts otherwise, he becomes Judas the traitor and is guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord (cf. 1 Cor. 11:27). Remember, my brothers who are priests, what is written of the Law of Moses: that whoever committed a transgression against even the externals died without mercy by a decree of the Lord (cf. Heb. 10:28). How much greater and severer will be the punishment of the person who tramples on the Son of God, and who treats the Blood of the Covenant which sanctified him as if it were not holy, and who insults the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29)? For a person despises, defiles, and tramples on [Christ] when, as the Apostle says, he does not recognize and discern the Holy Bread of Christ from other foods or actions or eats it unworthily or indeed, even if worthy, eats of it unthinkingly or without the proper dispositions (cf. 1 Cor. 11:29), since the Lord says through the prophet: Cursed is that person who performs the work of God fraudulently (cf. Jer. 48:10). And He will surely condemn priests who do not wish to take this to heart saying: I will curse your blessings (Mal. 2:2). Listen, my brothers: If the blessed Virgin is so honored, as it is right, since she carried Him in [her] most holy womb; if the blessed Baptist trembled and did not dare to touch the holy head of God; if the tomb in which He lay for some time is so venerated, how holy, just, and worthy must be the person who touches [the Lord] with his hands, receives [Him] in his heart and mouth, and offers [Him] to others to be received... Look at your dignity, you brothers [who are] priests, and be holy since He is holy. And as the Lord God has honored you above all other persons because of this ministry, so you should love, reverence, and honor Him above all others. It is a great misery and a miserable weakness that when you have Him present with you in this way, you concern yourselves with anything else in this entire world." (St. Francis of Assisi)

Also See: Priests & The Sacraments | Alter Christus / In Persona Christi | Duties & Responsibilities of Priests | Priests / Priesthood [Pg.] | Sacraments Section | Holy Eucharist / Mass (Sacraments Section Reflections) | Holy Eucharist / Mass (General Information) | Church Talk Section | Church Talk (Reflections) | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition Section | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition (Reflections) | Sacraments (Topical Scripture)

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