Friends of the Bridegroom: Reflections on Priestly Fatherhood in Light of Contemporary ChallengesAntonio López
The priesthood is a great gift and a profound mystery. Christ’s gratuitous calling of certain men to be with him and participate in his salvific mission is a grace of singular beauty. In the sacrament of holy orders, God makes these men his own and continues, through them, to give himself efficaciously to everyone. The ever-patient Father, rich in mercy (Eph 2:4), extends through priests configured to the Son his redemption of our bodily human existence. When, in the name of Christ, the priest repeats the words of thanksgiving over bread and wine, the Holy Spirit, “who blows where [he] wills” (Jn 3:8), obeys his epiclesis and transforms the eucharistic species into the body and blood of Christ. In Christ’s name, the priest may pronounce the words that absolve us from our sins and allow us to enjoy anew theFather’s love. Because he has been sacramentally allowed to do what no human being can do out of his own resources, to give God, the priest is also responsible for the whole human person: as a father, the priest helps the believer open up to the triune God and completely entrust his whole self to God’s ever-greater light and love. God remains close to us and our daily joys and troubles in a particular way through the ordained priesthood.
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