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제목 The Priest's Missions and The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
작성자 관리자 작성일 2014-12-22

 


The Priest's Missions and The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (21th  December 2014)


St Paul today sets a very important principle for all clergy, priests, bishops and even Popes: “Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:1-2). He received a mission and must fulfil that mission faithfully.

What mission? First of all, the priest must TEACH the faith: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations” (Mt. 28:19). So he received a message to teach and must teach it faithfully: he must not change the doctrine, but so teach as he has received: “For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received: how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4).


In the Church doctrine, to teach novelties is the sure sign of error and heresy. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:8). See how necessary that fidelity in doctrine is! If one is not faithfully transmitting the doctrine passed on by Tradition, he deserves to be excommunicated! “Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle” (2 Thes. 2:14).

The priest must teach not only a doctrine to be believed, but also morals to be practiced, and he must teach such morals by his example first. Here again, he must not change the morals, but must rather pass on the good and holy morals which our Lord Jesus Christ has taught.


As St Paul, he must be able to say: “Be ye therefore imitators of God, as most dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness” (Eph. 5:1-2). “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye imitators of me, as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 4:16).


[Note: the English usually has “followers of me”, but the Greek has “μιμηταί – mimetai”, which has given the word “to mime”, to copy every movement of a person, to imitate every trait of his personality.] Seven times in his epistles, St Paul comes back on that necessity to imitate him, as he imitated Christ. So here again, one sees the need of fidelity. “Be ye imitators of me, brethren, and observe them who walk so as you have our model. For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping), that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction; whose God is their belly; and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things” (Phil. 3:17-19).

Lastly, the priest is entrusted the Sacraments: he is the ordinary minister of baptism, the ONLY minister of the Holy Eucharist, of Penance and of Extreme Unction. The bishop is the minister to give the Sacrament of holy Orders and of Confirmation. And the priest is the official witness for the sacrament of marriage. Now these sacraments are holy things, which must be treated in a holy way. This is most important for the holiest of all, the most Holy Eucharist, because it is the very Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the Son of God.

Here is a most beautiful phrase of St Justin on the Holy Eucharist:


 “And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise we have been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, This do in remembrance of Me, (Luke 22:19) this is My body; and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, This is My blood; and gave it to them alone.” (1st Apologia, ch.66).


Now St Justin lived in the second century, around the year 150: hence those who have taught him were the immediate disciples of the Apostles. Hence faith in the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is indubitably the antique doctrine of the Church, which the Catholic Church always carefully kept and defined.

This is truly the “Mystery of Faith”, the mystery that contains all the other mysteries, because the Holy Eucharist is the flesh of the Incarnate Son of God, offered in the Sacrifice of our salvation. Hence you have there the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the mystery of the Incarnation and the mystery of the Redemption (by the Sacrifice).


 It is a test of Faith: indeed if one really believes that Jesus is true God, then He has the power to do such transformation (God’s power is infinite), changing the bread into His Body and the wine into His Blood; if one rejects this mystery, does he really believe that Jesus is true God?


In the history of the Church, most heretics ended up by denying the Holy Eucharist, especially Protestants. The disrespect with which modernists handle the Blessed Sacrament is also a sign that these recent changes in the Liturgy are wrong. To Jesus indeed are due the highest honours, supreme honour, true worship!

So as St Paul told us today, the priest is “the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:1-2). Speaking precisely on the Liturgy, St Paul writes to the Corinthians: “Be ye imitators of me, as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).


There again we should pass on that which we have received: in the same chapter a little bit further, St Paul writes: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread.  And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body…” (1 Cor. 11:24).


Thus in liturgical matters also, we should not innovate, but rather faithfully transmit that which we have received: in the same chapter St Paul writes: “keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you” (1 Cor. 11:2).

This fidelity has been the great principle of Archbishop Lefebvre from the beginning of this crisis of the Church: to remain faithful to the Catholic Faith handed to us by Tradition from the beginning, to remain faithful to the Catholic Morals of the Saints of old, to remain faithful to the Catholic Liturgy passed on to us from antiquity.

The great drama of the current crisis of the Church comes from the fact that some – the modernists – pre¬tended to be able to do better than what the Church had transmitted to them; they wanted to improve on the Liturgy, to make a better liturgy, but they changed it according to their little human ideas, and that fell very short from the “Mysteries of God” which the Church – the Bride of Christ – had transmitted.


What the Church needs today is a return to that fidelity to the Catholic faith, morals and liturgy. This complete fidelity is embodied in the Traditional Roman Catholic Mass: hence the importance to keep it and promote it.

There are many relations between the mystery of Christmas and the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. As St Justin said above, it is the same flesh that the Word of God took and which was born at Christmas (“and the Word was made flesh” Jn. 1:14) and that is really present in the Holy Eucharist (“this is my flesh” Mt. 26:26).


As Christ was “wrapped up in swaddling clothes” (Lk. 2:7), so is Jesus hidden in the Holy Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine, which are like swaddling clothes containing the very Flesh of the Word of God. As Christ was “laid in a manger” (Lk. 2:7), so He comes on the altar to be eaten by us. So when you look at the image of the baby Jesus in the crib, remember that in a Christmas crib, you only have an image of the Baby Jesus, but in the Holy Eucharist you have much better, you have His real Presence: it is the Lord! Hence as the Magi adored Him in Bethlehem, so you adore Him in the Holy Eucharist.

My dear brethren, if the shepherds or the Magi could have taken the Baby Jesus with them, how happy would they have been! And you do receive that same Jesus that they adored, and He comes within you and stays with you! Your life cannot be the same as before! As the Magi returned “by another way”, so your life must be become a heavenly life, a life filled with God, a life of absolute fidelity to God: to the Faith, the morals and the liturgy of God.

 May the Virgin most faithful obtain that grace for us! Amen.


Fr. F. Laisney (sspxasia)