In dit Jaar van de Priester heeft Romanus Cessario O.P. (klik hier voor meer info en publicaties van zijn hand) zonet in het tijdschrift Nova & Vetera een prachtige bijdrage geschreven over de roeping van het priesterschap in het licht van Thomas van Aquino, getiteld:
Aquinas on the Priest: Sacramental Realism and the Indispensable and Irreplaceable Vocation of the Priest
Deze bijdrage is nu ook hier in zijn geheel te lezen.
"Once the seminarian and priest begin to cherish the world, then they will discover the freedom to redeem the world. He will ﬁnd the cause for Redemption in the lives that people live, that is, their sins, an invitation to preach to them the Good News of Jesus Christ. Above all, the priest will ﬁnd new satisfaction in his vocation inasmuch as he will come to appreciate the indispensability of his Headship, his Shepherding, and his Bridal love in a world that mistakes power for authority, relativism for moral truth, and egoism for love. This noble vocation imposes grave responsibilities on those who aspire to it and who exercise what they have already received. Each must examine his conscience: does the responsible exercise of priestly authority suffer from my lack of fortitude? Does the charge to instruct in the moral life provide me with an excuse to tinker with moral truth? Finally, the tough one. Does my pledge to love as Christ loves suffer diminishment when I ﬁnd myself unloved?"
"Preaching is not ordered ﬁrstly and foremostly to stirring up the sentiments of believers, making hearts strangely warmed. It is not ordered to supply ersatz psychological counseling on how to get along in life without too much chagrin. It certainly is not ordered to providing your hearers with an Everyman's guide to the academic exegesis of the text assigned to be proclaimed on a given day in the Church of Christ. Preaching is ordered to return creation to the Master. In its entirety. This challenge is more than daunting. Just think of all the things that go wrong. Think of the mistakes people make. Think of the errors that men try to validate. No wonder the priest can never go it alone. To return everything to the Master, the priest must remain united with the Church."
"Many things that the priest is counseled to observe reﬂect his unique, sacred, graced relationship to the temporal. Celibacy of course affords the best example. The priest removes himself from the rhythms of marriage, in all their complexity, so that Christ's people can encounter a man whose heart and mind are set exclusively on God, his Truth, his mysteries. People today do not talk much about celibacy for contemplation. The fact of the matter is that the Christian tradition considers it the principal reason for the Bishop and priest and monk to forego marriage. Marriage is a thing of this earth. Very much of this earth. Indeed, even the most sanctiﬁed of marriages remains of this earth. Married life is pleasurable, but it is also distracting from pondering those revealed truths that can only be received in the purity of faith. Clerical attire is another. The priest dresses differently. Black suits and collars. Cassocks. Sacred vestments. This apparel is not a uniform. What the priest wears provides external signs of his priestly consecration. Removing them without a clear and compelling reason creates ambiguity in the minds of the people and, in all likelihood, in the mind of the priest. Evangelical "simplicity" is another. The priest lives outside the ordinary attachments of the consumer society inasmuch as he knows that his real treasure resides in a place that only the Resurrection allows entry. Ecclesial obedience also reveals that the priest cherishes his privileged relationship with the local bishop."