Holiness is to live as lovers of the Lord

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Archbishop Mauro Piacenza writes that holiness is our concern for today, not something we should put off until tomorrow. His letter to priests exerted below speaks of some elements that are important for those observing the Year of the Priest. Piacenza highlights the fidelity that Saint John Vianney had even when he wanted to abandon the ministry in Ars, that is, being faithful and not creating some ambiguous, heroic sensibility is not coherent to the ministry of Christ. This is what alerts us that Vianney is a model worth following: grace truly building on nature. A theological concept that I associate most with John Paul II in his theology of the body, that of "self-gift," is applied here in the context of the life of the priest and to the sacrament of the Church. In time we'll here more about the role of self-gift as it applies to priesthood because it is an essential fact in the "becoming" of a priest of Christ and the richness of giving and receiving of that particular grace. Plus, the theology of self-gift, if really lived, might eradicate some evident sacred cows that diminish the flowering of life of holiness. Finally, let me draw our attention to the archbishop's last sentence because it is worth the time reflecting on, not because he happens to be right but because he reminds us what we are made for--God.

The Curé of Ars stands before us as an outstanding figure of priestly holiness, demonstrated not in the extraordinary nature of his works but in his daily fidelity to the exercise of the Ministry; he became a model and a beacon for the France of the early nineteenth century, and for the whole Church, of every time and place; he is a source and consolation for each one of us, even in the midst of various "exhaustions" which can touch our priesthood.

His total dedication is a spur to our joyful self-giving to Christ and to the brethren, so that the Ministry may always be a luminous echo of that consecration from which comes the one apostolic mandate and, in it, every pastoral fecundity.

May his love for Christ, which was the bearer of his humanity and sincere affection, be for us an encouragement to love every more deeply "our Jesus": may His be the sight we seek in the morning, the consolation which accompanies us in the evening, the memory and the companionship of every breath we take by day. To live according to the example of St. John Mary Vianney, as lovers of the Lord, means to always maintain at a high level of missionary tension, becoming progressively but concretely living images of the Good Shepherd and of him who proclaims to the world, "behold the Lamb of God".

May the real spiritual enrapture of the Curé of Ars during the celebration of Holy Mass be for each one of us an explicit invitation to always have a full consciousness of the great gift which has been entrusted to us: a gift which leads us to sing with St. Ambrose: "And we can all, raised to a dignity such as to consecrate the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, hope in Your Mercy!"

May his heroic dedication to the confessional, nourishes by a real expiatory spirit and sustained by the consciousness of being called to participate in a "vicarious substitution" of the one High Priest, spur us on to rediscover the beauty and the necessity, even for us priests, of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. That sacrament is, as well we know, a place of real contemplation of the marvellous works of God in souls which He delicately captivates, guides and converts. To deprive ourselves of such a "marvellous manifestation" is an irreparable and unjustified privation for us, even more than for the Faithful, and for our ministry which is fed by the wonder which is born of every miracle of human liberty which says "yes!" to God!  


To live as lovers of the Lord ... I think so too, in the matter of fact I call the Lord my Divine lover.

Thank you Father Zalonski!

Thanks for reading and writing to me. Happy that you follow this blog. You point out an age-old image of God the Father and God the Son being known as Divine Lovers. How else are we to relate to the Mystery of Love? Blessings to you, Committed Adorer!

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.



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This page contains a single entry by Paul Zalonski published on August 5, 2009 8:30 AM.

Saint John-Baptist-Mary Vianney hymn was the previous entry in this blog.

Transfiguration of the Lord is the next entry in this blog.

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