Presbyterorum Ordinis


Chiara Lubich
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We report here the second part of an article published in the immediate post-conciliar period in the Italian magazine, Città Nuova. Even in our changed cultural and ecclesial context, we think that it may bring light even to many of today’s situations.

Among the divine words [Jesus] spoke there is a phrase that makes your head spin when you think it was pronounced by God and it helps us to understand the privilege of being chosen. It is a paradoxical comparison, as well as true and deeply mysterious. Christ directed these words to those who over the centuries were to be his priests: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

Who then is the priest?

A person chosen by Christ to continue his presence in time.

Unfortunately the priest is not always like this. On the other hand, if the priest is not Christ, he is very little indeed. His sermons are empty words and the churches are deserted.

For the word that Christ gave was He himself.

If the priest first of all lives what he preaches and then speaks, his words will be Christ and he too will be another Christ. Then, his talks will attract the crowds and the churches will be overflowing.

What makes a priest is not so much the knowledge he has as the charism revived by love.

In the same way his works for the benefit of those who are entrusted to him, must be works of Christ in him.

Then Christ will work miracles, achieving the impossible through prayer. He will enlighten his entire pastoral activity with wisdom, which suggests an inexhaustible number of ways to bring, with today’s means, the eternal Word of God to his contemporaries.

Today the times demand authenticity more than ever: men simply ordained priests are no longer enough: Christ-priests are needed, victim-priests for humankind.

Authentic Christs, always ready to die for all.

If this is the measure of love in the priest’s life, then he should not fear of having time to spare, nor should he worry about having to change tasks.

He will see that part of the Church entrusted to him become a garden: with weeds, of course, with hatred, but also with fruitful love which will radiate even beyond his field.

As happened in Ars, yes, like in Ars: where the parish priest was everything for his people after God, and the people came from far away to breathe in the perfume of Christ, to feed on him, to live.

Let it be said clearly and emphatically, to live!

Because without Christ, without Christ-priests, even today’s world, with its magnificent, extraordinary discoveries is not living. It is in agony, it is dying.

Only Christ is Life.

Translated into English from: “Città Nuova” 10 February 1970