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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Suffering Servant - High Priest

Jesus was a Suffering Servant.  He came to serve humanity through sacrifice and suffering (Isaiah 53:4).  As such, Christ is also a High Priest who perpetually offers Himself (sacrifices) for us.  All Christians are called therefore, to share in the priesthood of Christ by (offering themselves and their sufferings up) to the Father.  God makes this possible at Mass through the Sacrament of Holy Orders (our sufferings along with the priest's are sanctified and given meaning during the Mass).

By the power of his orders a priest acts in the person of Christ (Lumen Gentium ch. 2, no.10).  At his ordination, a man’s soul is mystically transformed and given a permanent mark – also called a “character” – that empowers him to do for the People of God what ultimately only Jesus can do.  When celebrating the Mass or other Sacraments an ordained priest doesn't merely "represent" Jesus or perform actions that are "Christ-like", he actually becomes Jesus in a metaphysical sense.  As a man who re-presents the sacrifice on Calvary a priest bases his life on the cross of Christ (present day altar).  He incorporates Christ's suffering with his own and the suffering of his flock unto himself and continually offers it up to God.  It is spiritually vital for a Christian to maintain a Sacramental relationship with a priest.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel C.F.R. is a fine example of this.  Through his own personal suffering Fr. Benedict has served Our Lord as a priest for over fifty years.  Over the past thirty he has offered unique insight into the Passion of Jesus (through talks, retreats and conferences).  Fr. Groeschel is a best-selling author, spiritual director, and psychologist.  As a Franciscan, Fr. Groeschel shows great compassion for the struggles many people face.  He doesn't just "talk the talk" but "walks the walk"

Fr. Benedict gently instructs us in God's love.  Despite falling to sin through human weakness, Fr. B reminds us that God is in our corner to help us through the struggle.  Through his many tapes, CD's, and videos, Fr. Groeschel shows us ways to develop virtue while facing adversity and helps us to see beyond the moment.

This September is Catholic Speaker Month, intended to highlight Fr. Benedict and other men and women inspired by the Spirit and to promote the sharing of the Christian faith.  

The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith states that the search for truth "cannot be accomplished entirely on one's own, but inevitably involves help from others and trust in knowledge that one receives from others".  This being said, these speakers (as well as Christians everywhere) are indeed called to evangelize as well as participate in evangelization.
Fr. B 1

Fr. B 2

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