By "Anne," A Lay Apostle
The priest must allow himself to be grafted to the vine that is Christ.
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine-dresser…Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:1, 4-5).
Consider please that the act of allowing oneself to be grafted to the will of another is heroic, all by itself. It is an acknowledgement by a man that alone he is of less value than he will be if he is attached to the divine. This acknowledgement, when made with honesty, is a lovely and sublime act of humility that enables Christ to begin the transformation. You might say, actually, that this acknowledgement is the beginning of the transformation.
Pride is the enemy of this acknowledgement, of course, but this is not a work on pride, but on the power of Jesus Christ to transform and as the self-will diminishes, so does the pride.
We ask God constantly for the discernment to identify His will, then reduce our will and replace it with the divine will. That is the daily goal, the ongoing cooperation with the process of transformation.
I understand that God's priests are called to this process in a profound way. I do not have words to distinguish the call to holiness that is the priest's from that of a lay person or even a female religious, but I know that there is something here that, like Our Lady's role, is distinct. I am in no way minimizing the heroic call to holiness of others. I am simply concentrating in this moment on the call to the priesthood.
A priest offers his whole life for service to us, God's children. How many of us look to Jesus and say, "Take my life, Lord. Use it. I am willing to sacrifice myself so that my brothers and sisters might know you and be saved?"
This is what a priest gives to God for us, his whole life.
Brothers and sisters, this is a complete sacrifice. Jesus, always mindful of nourishing the Body of Christ, accepts each of these offerings with indescribable reverence and hope. He understands that the man who offers himself to the priesthood is giving everything in the name of the Invisible Reality. This is such a big offering. Can we take it in at all? Possibly not. Possibly this will require the divine vision that is available to us only after we die in our bodies.
I am at peace with the inability to understand the scope of this offering but our limited understanding should not prevent us from marveling at and seeking to protect each vocation to the priesthood.
For further information regarding the Lay Apostolate of Jesus Christ the Returning King, or to purchase Heaven Speaks booklets, please contact Direction for Our Times on the Web at www.directionforourtimes.com , or mail inquiries to the following address: 9000 West 81st St., Justice, IL 60458, U.S.A.