Friday, August 22, 2014

Priesthood -- Part 3 of 3

In the hierarchy of holiness it is Mary as a figure of the Church that precedes all others in the path to holiness which is the call of all who participate in the royal priesthood of the Baptized. In her person, the Church has achieved perfection without spot or wrinkle. Within this Marian dimension of holiness the members of the Church, the Body of Christ, share in the Priesthood of Christ as Priest, Prophet and King. As priest, we unite ourselves to Him in our daily activities and lovingly offer them in union with the priest in Mass. As prophet, we accept and proclaim the Word of God in our daily lives. As king, we engage in spiritual combat by seeking to imitate Mary who embodies all virtues and holiness. The source of this common priesthood is Baptism and it is developed and strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation and sustained in the frequent and devout reception of Holy Communion where the Church receives from Her Bridegroom all her gifts. In this way, the Church fulfills her fundamental vocation to holiness for she is animated by the same Spirit who made Christ present in the womb of Mary. The Petrine dimension of Church involves the ministerial priesthood established by Christ which is ordered to the good of the royal priesthood of the faithful. It is through the manifold charisms in ministerial priesthood that Christ increases communion and love in the Church. At the end of John’s Gospel the Petrine dimension of the Church is presented as an act of love towards Christ as Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” As Christ the Head the Petrine dimension of the Church, preserving good order for the good of the members, guides the Members of the Church toward her Spouse Jesus Christ ever yearning for her mystical consummation and the fullness of her glorification as the Spouse taken up by the Lamb. Until then she journeys in time and in history awaiting Her Bridegroom to take her up as the glorified Church depicted in Revelation.

--Rev. Harold B. McKale

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