A priest is a man after God’s heart. God allows Himself to be physically present at his command.
Gratefully we value, treasure and know the power of the hands that God uses to transform mere bread and wine into Lord’s body and blood. Priesthood is God’s gift to oneself, to one’s own family, society and to the universal Church.
Vocation to the priesthood is a call to dedicated service and sacrifice. Every priest is called by God, no one chooses for himself the honor of being a priest. When God makes the choice, He chooses the weak and humble like Saints peter and John Mary Vianney so that He could manifest His power and glory through them. God chooses the weak and empower them to perform great wonders and service in the lives of God’s faithful people. Every priest is called by name, is commissioned and is blessed by God. In the book of Exodus we see how God calls Moses by name out of the bush, ‘Moses Moses’ (Ex. 3:4). Then God commissioned him saying, “come I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt’’ (Ex. 3:10). Finally God sends him blessed and empowered for the mission, “I will be with you” (Ex.3:12).
Every call to priesthood has these threefold qualities – called by God, entrusted with the care of his sheep and is blessed by God. Every priest is anointed forever, no matter what his weakness is, God accepts him with all his weakness, if so who are we to find fault with him? St. John Mary Vianney is the patron and model for our priests. He was a humble priest hidden in a small remote village. By his earnest preaching, personal mortification, prayer and charity he renewed the church in a wonderful way. His help to those who came to the sacrament of reconciliation was renowned and people flocked to him from all sides to obtain his advice. He is a role model for our priests today, whose feast we celebrate on 4th August. Fondly and gratefully we remember and pray for our holy priests on this occasion. Christ is the Great High Priest (Heb.4:14) and He is represented by priests in the Church. God’s blessing comes down to us through the hands of our priests. The hands of the priests play a vital role in the lives of every Christian.
Gratefully we remember our dear priest for their beautiful hands at the altar to transform mere bread and wine in to Christ’s body and blood – a holy act rather a miracle which no hands in the world can perform but only the hand of a priest. The holy hands of the priest make his whole body sanctified, for his fingers care the most holy bread and wine transformed in to the Lord’s body and blood. Every morning God’s faithful long for the holy hands of a priest, for his hands feed us with the living bread of heaven at the Eucharistic meal.
The holy hands of the priests are raised to invoke the Trinitarian God and folded to adore the creator where ever the Church is gathered. It is to the beautiful hands of the priests, we bow our heads for blessing every day – we need their blessings to keep going day by day. We venerate the holy hands of the priests which bring, proclaim and break the Divine Word to God’s holy people. Through the holy hands of our priests, at the sign of their cross, we were welcomed to the Holy Church at our infancy.
At every Banquet the hands of our priests absolve us, bless us and sanctify us again and again to strengthen us to face the realities of life. The beautiful hands of the priests are entrusted with the keys of the Tabernacle, for the Divine Vision of the Lord to His people. No one can give us the peace of the Lord at the Banquet, except the beautiful hands of the priests. Gratefully we value the beautiful hands of our priests, for our noble families take its origin by the blessings of the priests at matrimony. When we lie helpless on the sick-bed, the holy hands of the priests lay their hands, anoint and extent the healing touch of the Lord. At death-bed the holy hands of the priests grant absolution for our sins and failures and strengthen us to face death as a reality and face the Final Judgment. At our final journey the holy hands are sure to be there, at the body to give away the last blessings.
If every priest knew the greatness of their call and the beauty of their holy hands!
Pray for our priests : Lord Jesus, the Great High Priest of our faith, we thank you for gifting us your priests with beautiful hands to bless us always – from birth to death. Eternal Priest, help our priests, to live their commitment in the spirit of service and dedication. Enkindle all our priests, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, put your Word on their lips and your love in their hearts to bring good news to everyone and healing to the broken-hearted. In loneliness and pain, Lord keep them safe and comfort them with your presence and grace. Eternal High Priest, we ask you to fill our priests with the fire of divine love that their ministry may reveal your presence and blessings in the Church and let your power shine out through their weakness. May mother Mary shield them from all evil and harm and form every priest into the divine image of the Great High Priest. Amen.
- – - written by Sr. Mercy Pottokaran OSB