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Holy Thursday: Pray for Priests

By Fr. James Farfaglia
March 31st, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Holy Thursday reminds us that we possess an immense treasure. Without the priesthood there is no Eucharist. So, is it any wonder that there is such a frontal attack on the Catholic priesthood today?

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX. (CATHOLIC ONLINE) - Holy Thursday reminds us that we possess an immense treasure.  When a Catholic priest takes a little piece of unleavened bread and repeats the words that Jesus spoke at the Last Supper, "This is my body", and when he takes a small of amount of wine in a chalice and says, "This is my blood", the bread is no longer bread and the wine is no longer wine. 
 
At every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we participate in a marvelous miracle, the miracle called Transubstantiation. 

Transubstantiation is not proven through scientific experimentation. It belongs to the reality of faith.  Faith does not contradict reason.  Instead, the gift of faith that we receive at Baptism, gives us a superior vision. It provides a light.

Transubstantiation means "change of substance", or "change of reality."  When the priest repeats the words that Jesus spoke at the Last Supper, the bread is no longer bread, and the wine is no longer wine.  Instead, the entire substance of the bread and the entire substance of the wine have been changed into the substance of The Body and Blood of Christ.   Transubstantiation occurs by the power of God, and in a way that we cannot empirically detect.  We know that transubstantiation takes place through the certainty of faith. 

Jesus, the Son of God; Jesus the Messiah; Jesus the Lord and Savior of the universe said: "This is my body"; "This is my blood".  Faith is a vision superior to reason, but it does not contradict reason, precisely because faith relies upon the authority of God who does not deceive, nor can be deceived.  Jesus is the truth and thus is incapable of lying.

"I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.  Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world" (John 6: 51).

Without the priesthood there is no Eucharist.  So, is it any wonder that there is such a frontal attack on the Catholic priesthood today? Why is it that despite the continual calls to obedience from John Paul II and Benedict XVI that the Catholic liturgy is still engulfed in a continual battlefield? 

Since the arrival of the Pope Paul VI missal, much damage has been done to the fabric of the unity of the Catholic Church by irresponsible innovators who have confused and even scandalized the Catholic lay faithful. 
 
But, what causes some Catholic priests to disobey the Church and commit liturgical abuses?

When discussing the 9th Commandment, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The sixth beatitude proclaims, īBlessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.ī  Pure in heart refers to those who have attuned their intellects and wills to the demands of Godīs holiness, chiefly in three areas: charity; chastity or sexual rectitude; love of the truth and orthodoxy of faith.  There is a connection between purity of heart, of body, and of faith" (#2518).

 A true renewal of the Catholic priesthood is needed.  We desperately need holy priests and courageous bishops. Pray for our priests. 

Despite the fact that priestly vocations are on the rise and many wonderful things are happening in the Catholic Church both in this country and throughout the world, there is an undercurrent that seems to be constantly working against the work of God and his Church. 

Two Popes were able to identify the problem.  One Pope lived many years ago.  His name is Pope Leo XIII.  On October 13, 1884 he had just completed celebrating Mass when he suddenly collapsed on the floor.  He had been given a vision of the future of the Church that he deeply loved. 

After recovering from what seemed like a coma he said "Oh, what a horrible picture I was permitted to see!"  Later, he described to his closest associates that he was allowed to see into the future what would occur both within the Catholic Church and in the world.  Based on his vision, he composed the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Years later, on June 29, 1972, Pope Paul VI shocked the Catholic world when he said that, "the smoke of Satan has found its way into the Church through the cracks". It was an anguished warning that caused great shock and scandal.

My dear friends, we do live in difficult times. But, let us never be discouraged.  On this Holy Thursday let us renew our love for the Eucharist and the Catholic priesthood.  Let us pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Michael Archangel so that the clergy may always be holy, faithful and courageous.

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Father James Farfaglia is the pastor of Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Father has a hard hitting blog called Illegitimi non carborundum.  He has also published a book called Man to Man: A Real Priest Speaks to Real Men about Marriage, Sexuality and Family Life.  He is a contributing writer to Catholic Online.

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