The heart of the priesthood

The priest ascends the altar every morning to celebrate the holy mysteries. The Mass is the center of his priestly life.

An extract from Priestly Holiness by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.


The words which the priest pronounces over the Holy Eucharist contain both a re-actualizing of the sacrifice of Our Lord, and at the same time this extraordinary, admirable, mysterious divine Sacrament of the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, to be given to us for our nourishment.

There, ultimately, is the heart, the essence, the very goal of ordination: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. That is the teaching of the Council of Trent. The goal of the priesthood is to consecrate, to offer, to administer, to consecrate the Eucharist and make Jesus, Who is God, come down on our altars; to offer Him anew to God His Father for the salvation of souls and then to give Him to souls. What a tremendous thing, so simple and so sublime!

When he pronounces the words of consecration, the priest makes our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, descend onto the altar. Poor creature, little insignificant creature, he has the power by his words to bring down to the altar Him Who is the Creator of all things, the Redeemer of the universe, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

As the Blessed Virgin by her fiat was able to bring the Son of God into her womb, so the priest, every time he pronounces the words of consecration, brings down upon our altars Our Lord Jesus Christ in His body, His blood, His soul, and His divinity. That is the power of a priest, an incredible, inconceivable power.

That Our Lord should have given this power to creatures is an act of His omnipotence and of His great charity toward us, in order that His Redemption might be applied to us.