15 June 2010

The Image of Christ in Priests

As the Church has just concluded the ‘Year for Priests’, many wonderful reflections on the priesthood have come from the Church, most especially from our Holy Father. One last offering to priests, here at Secret Harbour, is from a letter written by Sister Nazarena. She has been featured here at Secret Harbour on several occasions. She was a gifted musician living in Connecticut in the United States. She felt called, however, to the desert and ended up in the Church’s most rare vocation, that of a recluse, which she lived out in Italy. In her ascetical life of solitude she wrote letters and offered advice to priests and religious, including the late Paul Augustin Cardinal Mayer, O.S.B., who went home to the Lord just this past April at the age of ninety-nine. In a letter to him, Sister Nazarena wrote:

God wants you to focus upon yourself in order to liberate yourself from yourself and deliver yourself with perfect docility into the hands of the heavenly Teachers, the Holy Spirit and the Immaculate Virgin. It was they who formed the perfect Ideal of the Priest, Jesus Christ, and this is how all followers of the great High Priest are formed. The principal agents in the transformation of a priestly soul are the heavenly Teachers. The Sanctifier of souls, the Holy Spirit, does not operate independently of the Virgin, in whose Immaculate womb was formed the Christ. Priests who abandon themselves blindly to their guidance and protection, who let them have free course to act in their own way, shall proceed not by giant steps, nor on eagles’ wings, but at a divine pace toward perfection.

If a priest is generous, docile, humble; if he withdraws and remains in silence so as to let himself be worked over, without wishing to know, understand, or see the work they are doing in his soul; if he holds himself in quiet and silence, trusting them like a little child; if he strives to silence the noise of the world, of creatures, and of the ego, and if he strives to learn the divine art of listening to God’s Voice, the heavenly Teachers will not cease to work in his soul, and quite soon, as a result, in him will be formed the adorable Image of Christ.