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Catholic Northwest Progress
Seattle, Washington
April 6, 1962     Catholic Northwest Progress
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April 6, 1962

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April 6, 1962 Catholic Northwest Progressml7 the hospital draws the spirit of her charitable dedication. It is from his part in each morn- ing's Mass that the seminarian learns to met the challenges of each day. For the Lamb of God gathers up into His hands all their sacri- fices as His own. And from His sacrifice there flows the strength that makes all these others possible. From His death on the Cross there flows the strength for others to die daffy that they may live. The Sacrifice of the Priest There comes a day when this seminarian is ordained. Now all the sacrifices that combined to aid him toward this goal bear their fruit. For they have made it possible that the sacri- fice of the Mass will go on. They have helped to find for Christ another mind, another will, another life willing to loan itself to Him that His work might be done. And, moreover, this vocation, the fruit of many sacrifices, is or- dained to live a life marked by many sacrifices. When Our Lord told his disciples: The Son did not come to have service done him; he came to serve others. (Mark 10, 45), he set the pattern. And the priest must model his life after that pattern. For this is so because his life is for the benefit of others. He is equipped to preach the Word of God, to give the Sacraments, and to offer sacrifice in his own name and in that of each of his people. As is obvious, these abilities exist for the benefit of people other than himself. So the priest must be ready to sacrifice his personal ambitions to be ambitious for the work of Christ. And he must learn to spend him- self, not for his own needs but for those of his people. He stands where God and man meet. He is the bridge through his priesthood between d I a.  .-,,. neaven and earth. If he does not spend himself keeping that passageway open, for a time at least, it is closed. The Mass of the Priest Above all else that he does, the priest is ordained to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In that action he is most a priest. Then he most actively works with Christ in Christ's most holy work. And so when the priest bends over the bread and wine, he stands alone with Christ. For he alone can pronounce the words that make the Sacrifice of Calvary be present here in this parish church. But in another sense he is not alone. For through his hands the whole Church and each of its members offers himself and all he does to God the Father. Through him this sacrifice of praise becomes a prayer for the needs of the whole Church and for each of its members. And though they may be about their work, they are present here in the offering of this Mass. Here is a wonderful thing. This priestly vo- cation, born of sacrifice, strengthened through sacrifice, repays this debt by giving these sac- rifices a voice in the great sacrifice of Christ, the Mass. These sacrifices first drew t h e i r strength from the Mass. And the fruit of that strength was a vocation that assures the Church that the Mas will go on giving its strength to the new sacrifices found in each day's living. And consequently, in its turn, this priest's Mass bears its fruit in sacrifice. The Mass, the renewal of the Spirit of Sac- rifice. For this Mass becomes the source from which new sacrifices are made. The altar a the '... a treasured Christian heritage was handed on in the family rosary.' heart of his parish, there springs up a fountain of grace and strength. It flows into the homes cf his parish. There it gives the supernatural strength and virtue that enables his people in sickness and health to make their home a Christian one. There it fosters the love that makes the Catholic home a place where Christ dwells. There it enables fathers and mothers to rear their children in the fear and love of God. And from this normal, happy family life there go forth the solid Catholic young people who in their turn build homes in the image of that from which they came. From that same altar there flows the graces which make the parish a true Christian com- munity. For its waters the spirit of charity, the vital center of a living parish. The nuns draw from it the spirit that gives force to their teaching and the joy with which they offer to their Spouse another day of poverty, chastity and obedience. From his Mass flows the Christ- like spirit of love of the poor which moves the St. Vincent de Paul Society. From that same Mass springs the apostolic zeal of the CCD workers, anxious that the knowl- edge of God grows. The same sacrifice burns with fervor in the members of the sodality, stirs the. charity of the Legion of Mary, calls forth the self-sacrifice in all who, loving the Rdcemer in all his members, serve the parish in the numberless tasks which must be done if a narish is to run at all. The Sacrifice, Seed of Vocations But the circle comes fully round, when from the'altar of his Mass the stream of graces wa- ters the vocations in the hearts of the young men and women of the parish. Perhaps some quiet morning, when Mass goes on as usual, Our Lord through that sacrifice calls another young man to share His sacrifice with Him. Secretly another vocation is planted; secretly it grows--as did that of the priest who stands at the altar--on untold sacrifices, but most of all on the supreme Sacrifice of the Mass. On that stream of grace flowing from the altar of the parish Mass may stir in the heart of a young woman the desire to be a nun. It touches her unexpectedly. One moment, all is ordinary: classes, parties, the plans of her friends; then, none of these is enough. Her heart has suddenly learned that there is more, far more to its desires than any of these things can satisfy. For all at once joy is seen as the fruit of sacrifice. Happiness begins to mean the gift of herself. There are children yet to be born who will some day need her teaching. There are people today in the best of health who will one day reach out to a Christ-like hand to strengthtm them in their sickness. Men now in their prime will find in her a Veronica of strength when their strength has failed. Be- cause in this heart the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has found a response, the sick will be cared for, the untaught will be taught, souls in darkness of paganism will see the light, th poor and the outcast will find a heart of Christ open to them. And with a strength like that of Veronica she will face the difficUlties to be overcome; she must part from her family and friends; she must slowly adjust to a new and trying life; she must face the wondering ques- tion of the world. Slowly the face of Her Beloved becomes the face of all who need her. Her sacrifices are mingled with His. And her day becomes a ful- fillment of her morning's Mass. Her work be- comes a garnering of treasures to put into Christ's hands at tomorrow's Mass.