31. PRIESTLY APOSTOLATE IN THE SPIRIT OF MARY MOST HOLY (II)
To mistrust ourselves and to trust in God. Humility and trust constitute the holiness of the soul. The Lord wants to give you, to give, to give! You accept, but keep in mind that he cannot give this up: that everything is to be done only for his glory.
God has the heart of a father and a mother at the same time:1 all the paternal and maternal qualities are in Him, so infinitely perfect for our good. However, when we are proud, he cannot act. Then, He permits the person to make mistakes, to fail, in order that he/she may acknowledge being wrong and becomes humble; and He may continue to give as before and more than before.
How miserable are we and how good is the Lord on the other hand! We will never understand God's goodness, no matter how much we study it.
May you have the trust that God has forgotten and forgiven the past mistakes: trust that he shall make you saints, inspite of everything. After St. Peter's serious fault, God chose him as Pope, but first, He asked of him repentance, tears and humiliation.2
Did the Lord not prove how good he is with you? Why have you not learned yet to trust in his word, in his promises?
Knock and the door will be opened to you; ask and it will be given to you. What father among you will give his son a stone, if he asks for bread? and hand him a scorpion if he asks for a fish?1 The Heavenly Father is very, very good than the earthly fathers; he shall give the holiness you desire if you ask for it with trust. The other things he shall give you in so far as they are for his glory and for your good.
God's glory, our sanctification, salvation of souls. The first two graces are always obtained, the third, in as much as there is correspondence in the persons who are being prayed for.
Ask especially for you the grace to understand and accom-plish better your priestly apostolate.
First, let us set the foundations: Jesus Christ is the great Priest, Mary is the great Woman. Mary is the Mulier of Genesis1, of Cana,2 of the Cenacle,3 of Calvary,4 of the Revelation5. In the greatest moments, Jesus called her so: Woman! The Woman who even now in Paradise has the power to obtain from God's heart and is the Mediatrix.
The Priest is like Jesus, the Pious Disciple is like Mary. The Pious Disciple must accomplish beside the Priest, the duty that Mary Most Holy accomplished beside Jesus, the first Priest. Jesus and Mary were companions in life, at work, in sacrifice; so must the Priest and the (P)Disciple. You are to accompany the Priest up to the Sacrifice and to share with him the eucharistic bread. You will pray to obtain Priest, you will accompany him in life, assist him in sickness, follow him after death, until you find yourself with him in Paradise, in the eternal Tabernacle.
In the earthly Paradise, in the beginning of humanity, God had instituted marriage. He said: It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.1 It was not good that Jesus should be alone and he had Mary Most Holy nearby. In the Church, it is not good for the Priest to be alone, he must have the collaboration of the woman.
God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And while he slept, he took one of his ribs...he built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. Adam greeted her, calling her Woman:2 God wanted that from the union of the man with the woman, mankind shall increase in number. Therefore, marriage was blessed by God since the beginning of humanity and Jesus Christ had consecrated it in Cana.
God also acts similarly in the supernatural state. From the mission of Jesus and Mary, persons have life and salvation.
It follows that the Priest must have the great esteem for the (P)Disciple and the Disciple, for the Priest. I tell you: consider the Priest according to nature and according to the priestly character.
According to nature. He is a man like any other else. Therefore, always have the proper distance. The straw cannot be near the fire, otherwise, the fire consumes it and then dies out; the destruction of the straw and of the fire being extinguished, would be a ruin. Holy water and soil do not go well, mud is formed just the same. It is not written that Mary was a pampering Mother of Jesus. She always treated him with dignity.
It is easy that you see the material side as you live in contact with the Priests. He has to dine, he experiences the common needs. Jesus also had wanted to subject himself to such needs and our Lady served him.
You can also esteem the Priest for his natural gifts, but you are not to dwell on this. The Priest can be gifted, healthy, young, active, he can be your relative. These qualifications, however, do not count, they are not the essential reasons. There is another good basis; otherwise, when the Priest becomes old, deaf, sick, will you not like him anymore? On the contrary! the more you must like him.
According to the priestly character. The Priest is God's minister; his dignity surpasses that of the Angels. St. Theresa 1 always kissed with veneration the place where the Priest had passed. In Church history, the fact is always impressive of St. Efrem,2 St. Nicholas of Flüe3 and above all, of St. Francis of Assisi,4 who renounced to become Priests because of their humility.
The Priest is alter Christus.5 He baptizes and gives the supernatural life; he absolves and gives back the grace; he teaches and enlightens the soul; he administers holy communion and gives Jesus; he governs and directs souls. The guidance, prudence and work of the Priest, lead persons to God and make them holy.
Therefore, have a great esteem for the Priest; never judge him unjustly; never speak ill of him, that could be unbearable: Nolite tangere Christos meos1 (touch not my Christ); that would deprive you of many graces.
Always have the proper distance; avoid every superflous or useless contact; be very brief even in confession; deal with certain points with special prudence and quickness. I count on your intelligence and good sense and I hope that you may understand me properly, even if I do not go into other details and explain any further.
When you will see the Priest on the altar, in the confesional and will have the proper distance, you will esteem him more and he shall esteem you to a greater extent.
Your duty towards the Priest is great and sublime. Implore God to have many priestly vocations. The conviction that it is a great honor for a family to consecrate to God a daughter or a son, has not yet entered in the Christian world. The devotion to the Queen of the Apostles must also bring this fruit, this conviction, this ambition: to give God one's own children, to make of them Priests, men and women religious. Spread this concept: if the Lord shall deign to select and pick a flower in a family, to bring it near his Tabernacle, at the service of his altar, this is a big grace, a great merit and a pledge of eternal salvation. Those of the family who have offered and consecrated a son or a daughter to the Lord, are not lost, if not for wanted obstinacy.
Give to the Lord the best subjects. The devil does not get much irritated if the daughters who become nuns are merely good women, and if young men of little importance join the men religious. The devil obstructs especially those who do great good.
A calendar is printed this year, with a beautiful picture of the Queen of the Apostles on the cover. The offerings shall be for the construction of the church. However, we desire that before building the material temple of Our Lady, she may reign in the souls and obtain and multiply vocations.
1 Cf. Is. 49, 15.
2 Cf. Jn. 21, 15-19.
1 Cf. Lk. 11, 9-13.
1 Cf. Gn. 3, 15.
2 Cf. Jn 2, 4.
3 Cf. Acts 1, 14.
4 Cf. Jn. 19, 26.
5 Rev. 12, 1ff.
sup>1 Gn. 2, 18
2 Gn. 2, 21-23.
1 St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), Doctor of the Church.
2 St. Efrem, syrian (306-372), Doctor of the Church.
3 St. Nicholas of Flüe (1417-1487).
4 St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1209).
5 Common expression of St. Pius X, Pope.
1 Ps. 104, 15.