A retreat is a time for the priests to set aside all mediocrity, so as to place themselves humbly and devoutly at the service of Divine Providence, which has wondrous designs for each of them.
At the end of his life, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre entrusted to the Society of St. Pius X a small work penned by his own hand. It was entitled Spiritual Journey, and it constituted, as it were, the Archbishop’s last will and testament to his spiritual sons. Indeed, it was not until after the Archbishop had completed this little book that he said, “Now my work is finished.” Why? Because, as he states in the preface of this magnificent work,
There appeared to me the need, not only to confer the authentic priesthood, to teach not only the sana doctrina approved by the Church, but also to transmit the profound and unchanging spirit of the Catholic priesthood.
The Archbishop knew that, if his priests truly desired to be other Christs, they must drink deeply of the Spirit of Christ, the fount and source of all priestly holiness.
That is what Bishop Fellay has been presenting to the priests on their 5-day retreat in Phoenix during this Easter week. Drawing upon considerations from the Archbishop’s Spiritual Journey, he is simply showing them Christ: Christ the God-Man, Christ the Priest, Christ the Eucharistic Lord, Christ the Founder of the Church. For example, we know that Christ is God, but what are the consequences of that mystery in the everyday life of a priest? We know that a priest, though still a fallen human creature, is an extension of the Priesthood of Christ through time and space, but what are the most common dangers that will confront the priest in this sacred mission, and how must he combat them?
For the priest, these are mysteries and truths that deserve deep consideration. One of the main weapons suggested by Bishop Fellay for fighting priestly tepidity is the Holy Hour — to spend one hour each day in the Eucharistic Presence of the Divine Savior. If Christ is present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, not just by His Body and Blood but also by His Soul and Divinity — thus making really present all of Christ’s thoughts, His Infinite Love, His affections, His passions — if such treasures are truly contained at each moment in the tabernacle, how can the Holy Eucharist not be the very life and soul of the priest! Bishop Fellay has also been reminding the priests again and again of their duties towards the Church: the duties of love and respect that they owe to Her as Christ’s Mystical Body, but also the responsibility to be prudent and supernatural concerning the delicate situation in which they have been placed by Church authorities. He has pointed out that the Church, already in great agony during these last fifty years of crisis, now finds Herself forced to endure a veritable scourging from the scandals of Her very own priests and prelates.
A retreat, therefore, as Bishop Fellay has been explaining to his priests, must deepen the soul’s union with Christ. It is a time for the priests to set aside all mediocrity, so as to place themselves humbly and devoutly at the service of Divine Providence, which has wondrous designs for each of them. Every morning the priest ought to excite within himself that first fervor he had on the day of his priestly ordination, and each day he ought to strive harder and harder in his soul to have but one desire — a desire expressed by Our Lord Himself to His first priests — “abide in Me, and I in you, that you may bring forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
Please pray for your priests.