These are the Sacraments
as described by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D.
VI. The Sacrament of Holy Orders
Because Man lives-in a Society-of Free Men, there must be some 'Government' and 'Order' to make Justice
prevail. Since there is the Order of Grace, above 'Creature', it too must have Degrees, Order, Hierarchy, and
Government; this, Christ supplied-in the Sacrament of Holy Orders,
with its Three (3) ascending levels-of Deaconship, Priesthood, and Episcopacy.
Our Blessed Lord is the Mediator between
God and Man, being both God and Man. But in order to
Mediate His Redemption, He desires Human Instruments between
Himself and the World, each of whom will be "the Minister and Dispenser of the
Mysteries of God" (1Corinthians 4:1). And so, some Men are appointed-by God to deliver the
Sacraments to others, just as in Human Societies, One Group, Serves and Ministers-to another:
"The Purpose for which any High Priest is chosen from among his Fellowmen, and made a Representative of Men in their dealings
with God, is to offer Gifts and Sacrifices in Expiation of their Sins" (Hebrews 5:11).
The Call from God
In the Fifth Chapter of Hebrews, verse Four, there is written: "His Vocation comes from God, as Aaron's did;
nobody can take on himself such a Privilege as this". When a Priest receives the 'Call' from God,
something happens to his Soul, like that which happened to Peter
in his Barque, one dark night when Christ entered it. The young Man with a
Vocation, reacts as did Peter: "Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a Sinful Man". There is a
Double Tension: One (1) of Attraction
to the Divine, the Other, Subtraction, because of one's own
Unworthiness; a Desire to-approach the All-Holy, and a
Shrinking because of one's own Sense-of Inadequacy.
Then begins a Minimum of Six (6) Years of Difficult Study, and
Moral and Spiritual
Discipline, as one asks himself a Thousand Times, if he is Worthy. Either with the
Crucifix that hangs-on the Wall of his Simple Room, or to the Crucifix
on his Desk, he carries-on a constant Dialogue.
The Seminarian knows how Human he is, and yet, like Christ on the
Cross, suspended-between Heaven and Earth, Abandoned-by
One, and Rejected-by the Other, the World expects him to be more-than Human. Called to be as
Pure and as Holy as an Angel, he is
conscious-of his own Weakness, bearing-about as he does, the Rich Treasure
in a Frail Vessel. And yet he must fulfill the Words-of his Master:
"Thou hast sent me into the World on Thy Errand, and I have sent them into the World on My Errand" (John 17:18).
From now on, he no longer takes the Short-breaths of the World; he must draw-in Strength from the
World-of the Spirit.
The Priest and Celibacy
Our Lord wished to have a Group-of Men, who would have the 'Freedom' to give Full-time to
His Service; hence He
Ordained, in order that they who 'Served' the Altar, were to 'Live-by' the
Altar. Celibacy, in the Latin Rite, stresses
this Quality-of Total Dedication. The Priest is a Celibate, in order that he might not have the
Cares-of Family and therefore, not be Afraid to
Minister-to People in Plague, or to give the Last Rites to
Soldiers Dying-in Battle. Saint Paul, speaking-of Celibacy
as a spur-to 'Undivided' Service, writes: "And I would have you Free from Concern. He who is Unmarried, is concerned
with God's claim, asking how he is to please God" (1Corinthians 7:32).
Priests must Minister-to People in Plague and Battle
Only Four (4) Military Chaplains have ever received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the
highest Military Decoration awarded by the United States of America. All Four (4) of those Military Chaplains were Roman Catholic Priests,
ready to shed their Blood for their Comrades-in-Arms. As Members of the Body of Christ (Church Militant) here on Earth, you and I are called
to do the same.
Father Angelo J. Liteky
Father Joseph T. O'Callahan
Father Charles Joseph Watters
Father Vincent R. Capodanno
Jesus Christ Died in Battle
Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his
friends. (John 15:13 - Douay Rheims Bible)
Maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet ut animam suam quis ponat pro amicis suis.
(John 15:13 - Latin Vulgate Bible)
Chastity, however, is not something Cold or Negative. It is, as Francis Thompson called it,
"a Passionless Passion, a Wild Tranquillity". A Man cannot live without Love,
though he can live without Romantic Love or the Eros. The
Divine Command, "Increase and Multiply" (Genesis 1:28), may be verified
not only with reference-to the Body, but also to the Soul.
There can be increase-of Man in the Cultural, Moral, and Religious Spheres. The Priest is called a "Father", because he
begets Souls in Christ. As Saint Paul wrote-to the Galatians:
"My little children, I am in Travail over you afresh, until I can see Christ's Image formed in you" (Galatians 4:19).
The 'Purer' the Mirror-of his Humanity is, the 'Better' he Reflects the Image-of Christ.
Though a Priest is called a "Father", nevertheless, he is also a "Mother"
of Children. Our Blessed Lord used Two (2) Analogies to-describe
His Attitude-toward the City that He Loved, and also to all Humanity.
He said that He Loved Jerusalem as a Hen, who gathers her Chickens,
but the City Refused His Love. The Night of the Last Supper,
He used the similitude-of a Mother about to bring-forth a Child, implying that
He would be in-Labor, in His
Crucifixion, but would bring-forth New Life in His Resurrection.
The Ordination of the Priest
The dress of the Priest, takes one back-to the Classical Days of Greece and Rome, when the Church
became the Spiritual Israel. The early Clergy wore no Distinctive Dress, but rather clothed
themselves in the garb-of the Ordinary People. Later on, when the Classical Roman dress began to be superseded-by the dress-of the Barbarians, the
Conservativeness-of Religion asserted itself, and in consequence, the Priest wore Vestments which were no-longer in Secular use.
When the Deacons enter the Cathedral to be Vested, they wear an Amice, which was originally a White Linen Kerchief, worn about the Neck
and the Shoulders. When he put it on his Head and Shoulders, he said the Prayer: "Place,
O Lord, the Helmet of Salvation on my Head, to the defeat of Diabolical Invasion". Over the Amice, he wears the Alb, which was the original
Roman Tunic with long-sleeves, around the waist-of which he ties the Cincture, which is the Symbol-of Chastity.
Over the Alb is worn a Maniple, which in the early days of the Greeks and Romans, was a kind-of Handkerchief worn-on the left Forearm, used
at Meals for wiping Mouth and Hands. The Consul, during the Roman Empire, used it as a Sign to start the Races in the Circus. The
Church, First used it to-wipe Communion Vessels and Hands, in the Celebration-of the Mass.
The Symbolism-of the Maniple is to remind the Priest of the Bonds which once held the Hands of the
Savior. This is Signified-in the Prayer which is Offered,
when the Maniple is put-on, begging that the Cares and Sorrows
of Earthly Life, should be borne-with Patience, in-view-of Heavenly Reward.
Now we come to Two (2) Vestments which are worn-by Deacons, when they come-to the
Altar for Ordination; namely, the 'Stole' and the 'Chasuble'.
The Stole originally was a loose-Robe, worn-by the Ancients, and in this sense, the word is still used by the English Poets. Thus, Milton 'pictures'
Melancholy as having "a Sable Stole of Cypress Lawn, over her Decent Shoulders drawn".
In the Old Testament, the Levites were described as being clad-in Stoles, when conducting the Sacred Ark to Jerusalem. In the
"Book of the Apocalypse" the Saints are "Clothed
in White Stoles" The Stole is worn only by Deacons, Priests, and Bishops, but each wears it in a different-way, and it is associated-with
Sacred Orders. When, however, the Deacon enters the Church, the
Stole is carried only on One (1) Shoulder, while over the Left Arm, the Deacon carries a
folded-Chasuble. In the Right Hand, he bears a Lighted Candle, and in the Cincture is a Linen Cloth, which will eventually be used-for Tying the
Hands, after they have been Anointed-with
During the Ceremony-of Ordination, the Bishop draws a part-of the Stole, which rests-at the Back-of the
Candidate's Neck, over the Breast and lays the Two (2) ends, Crosswise. The Chasuble, which he carries, and which is a
Symbol-of Charity, is 'Folded' at the beginning-of the Ordination Ceremony,
as an indication-that, the one who wears it, is not a Priest. At a later-point in the Ceremony, the Chasuble is 'Unfolded'. The Symbolism-of this is that, in the
First Part of the Mass, the Deacon is made a Priest and given
the Power-of Offering Sacrifice-to God. In the
Second Part of the Ceremony, the Chasuble is then let-down, when he is Empowered-to Preach, and
Forgive Sins. This indicates the more-complete Powers of the Priest.
Saint John Chrysostom explains-well the Reason why Priests wear different Vestments at the Altar, than on the
street: "When you see a Priest, Offering the Sacrifice, do not think of it as if it were he, that is doing this; it is the Hand
of Christ, Invisibly stretched-forth" The Priest is really only a Tool, but he is a Tool in the sense that Aristotle called Man
a Living-Tool. The Vestments 'Hide' and 'Submerge' his own Personality, so that Men may know it is Christ Who
'Teaches', Who 'Governs', and Who 'Sanctifies'.
The Call from the Bishop
No Man can be Ordained, unless he has been called-by
Christ, through the Bishop. When Our Lord, called
His Apostles, He called them by-Name, and this Ceremony is repeated-in the
Sacrament of Holy Orders. The Latin Rite, begins-by the Archdeacon, presenting the Deacons,
saying that the Holy Church asks them to be Elevated-to the Rank-of Priest. The Bishop, reading-from the
Pontifical, reminds them of the Old Custom-of the Church, when
the People were-consulted, concerning the Life, Conduct, and Morals-of the Clergy before they were Elevated-to the Priesthood. He then tells them
that, as Moses elected Seventy (70) Elders from the different Tribes-of Israel, to Aid him in the Government-of
the People of the Old Law, as Our Lord chose Seventy-Two (72)
Disciples to-Preach the Gospel, so are they to-Aid the Bishop in the
Sacred Ministry of Sacrificing, Blessing, Presiding, Preaching, and Baptizing.
The Bishop, seated-on the Foldstool at the middle-of the Altar, begins the Ceremony-of
Ordination. The Archdeacon summons the Future Priests, with these words: "Let all
those who are to be Ordained Priests, come forward". As they 'Advance', their names are Read-out, One (1)
by One (1). Each answers: Adsum ("I am
Present"), and then Steps-forward. The Calling-by Name, means that there shall be no Intruders, and that
the Priesthood is a Divine Vocation, or Calling.
Our Lord "Calls His Sheep by name", even now, as
He did in Galilee.
After the Bishop calls-out the Names, there follows a very Solemn Warning, that they come not
under False Pretenses, that they are under no Penalties of the
Church, and that they be not Illegitimate:
"Most Reverend Father and Lord in Christ, [name of Bishop] by the Grace of God and the Apostolic See, Bishop of [diocese]
Commands and Charges under Pain of Excommunication, that no one here present for the purpose of taking Orders, shall presume to come forward for
Ordination under any Pretext, if he be Irregular, Excommunicate in any Law or by Judicial Sentence, under Interdict or Suspension, Illegitimate or
Infamous, or in any other way Disqualified, or of any other Diocese, unless he has the License of the Bishop; and that none of the Ordained shall depart
until the Mass is over, and the Bishop's Blessing has been received".
The Archdeacon then bids the Bishop to Ordain these Deacons "to the Burden of
the Priesthood". The phrase that is used is 'Onus' or 'Burden'. The Priesthood and the Episcopacy are both called 'Burdens', not 'Honors'.
This is because the terrific 'Burden' or 'Responsibility', of saving Souls entrusted to them, is laid-upon them there.
Such was the idea given to Moses when he complained-to the Lord: "Must I carry a Whole People,
like a Weight on my Back?" (Numbers 11:11).
As if still 'Hesitant', as to whether-or-not the Deacons should be Ordained, the Bishop then asks
the Archdeacon, the question: "Do you know them to be Worthy?". To which he answers: "So
far as Human Frailty allows one to Know, I do Know, and I Testify that they are Worthy to undertake the Burden of this Office". The Bishop then
answers, "Deo Gratias" ("Thanks be to God).
Moral Certitude about the Worthiness-of the Candidates, is
required like the Certitude that Moses was to have, when God told
him to gather Seventy (70) Men among the Ancients-of Israel, whom he Knew to be Worthy. This concern for the
Worthiness-of the Candidates has always been present-in the Old Testament and the New, for Saint Paul tells
Timothy that before he Ordains any Priests, he should be very certain-of their
Worthiness: He must bear a Good Character, too, in the World's Eyes; or he may fall into Disrepute, and become a
Prey to the False Accuser" (1Timothy 3:7).
The Bishop, as-if not Satisfied-with Assurance-of the Archdeacon, asks the People if they know any reason why the Deacons should
not be Ordained. There follows a Moment-of Silence, in which the People are given an Opportunity
to-Protest, if need be, against any One-of the Candidates.
The Deacons now Prostrate themselves, flat-upon the ground and become-as Dead Men, while over them the
Church, chanting the Litany of the Saints, invokes
Heaven to-intercede, or Pray for-them, to be
Merciful to-them, and to make them Good Priests.
The Prostration-of the Deacons during the Litanies, is a slightly-different form-of
Prayer, than that which was used in the Old Testament, when the Jews generally stood, to
Pray. It was only in times-of Great Stress, that they ever knelt (Acts 7:59 and Acts 9:40), such
as when Stephen and Peter knelt. The Jews, however, did lay-prostrate before the High Priest, for a Solemn Blessing on the Day-of Atonement (Ecclesiates 50:19-26),
and as Our Lord did, in the Agony in the Garden. But the reason for
the kneeling is somewhat related-to a Prayer that went before, where the 'Ordinandi' were told
"as they Celebrate the Mysteries of the Lord's Death, they must be earnest in Mortifying their Members of all Vices and
Concupiscence". Being Prostrate is a Symbol-of their Spiritual Death,
in which they Die-to their Flesh and its
Concupiscences, at the same time that they invoke all the Saints in
Heaven, to let them have a Resurrection, worthy-of being Ministers-of
As the Body of Adam came-from the Slime-of the Earth, when
God breathed-into it a Living Soul, so each Priest, yielding his
Body to-be an Instrument-of Christ, Prays
fervently that it may never be a Blunt Instrument. Then, when he rises-from the ground, his
Hands are bound-with a Purificator, tied together in Slavery, but that Sweet Slavery-of
Love. With Paul, he says "I am Alive; or rather, not I; it is Christ that Lives in me"
The Laying-on of Hands
The Bishop lays Hands-on the Priests, without saying anything. When a Bishop is Consecrated,
the Hands of the Consecrating Prelates are Laid-on him, with the words:
"Receive the Holy Spirit", but in Ordination, these words are
omitted. This Laying-on, or Imposition-of Hands, is what is called the "Matter", of
the Sacrament, and is part-of the Ritual-of other Sacraments,
like Baptism, Confirmation,
Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick.
There are many instances in the Old Testament of Laying-on of Hands. Jacob put his
Right-Hand on the Head-of Ephraim, and his
Left-Hand, on the Head-of Manasse, and pronounced a
Blessing (Genesis 48:14, 15). Aaron and his Sons, placed their Hands
on the Heads-of Victims to be offered-in
"He is to lay his Hand on the Head of the Victim, and it is to be Immolated at the entrance of the Tabernacle that bears
record of me, the Priests who represent Aaron's Family pouring its Blood upon the Altar". (Leviticus 3:2).
God told Moses to-Lay his Hand on Joshua
(Numbers 27:18) and Aaron, after Offering Sacrifice. In the Old Testament, it Signified that a
Victim, or a Person, was dedicated-to a Holy Purpose, and also that there was a
Flowing-out of Power from the One, who Laid-on the Hands.
Investiture of Priesthood
The Bishop chants a Preface, invoking the Holy Spirit upon those who are to be
Ordained; then follows what is known-as the "Form", of the
"We beseech Thee, Almighty Father, invest these, Thy Servants, with the Dignity of the Priesthood. Do Thou, Renew in their
Hearts, the Spirit of Holiness. Help them to be Steadfast in the Office of Second Priestly Rank, received from Thee, O Lord, and to Inspire others to
strive for Perfection by their example. May they become Zealous fellow workers in our Ministry. May they shine in all the Christian Virtues, so that
they will be able to give a Good Account of the Stewardship entrusted to them, and finally attain the Reward of Everlasting Life. Through the same Jesus
Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord, Who Lives and Reigns with Thee, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen".
The Bishop arranges the Stole, in the Form-of a Cross, over the
Chest, saying: "Take the Yoke of the Lord, for His Yoke is Sweet, and His Burden light".
Then he invests each with the Chasuble, still Unfolded, saying: "Receive, the Vesture of Priesthood, which is the Symbol of
Charity. God is well able to increase Charity in you, and make Perfect, your Works".
After the "Veni Creator Spiritus" has been Sung, in which the Holy
Spirit is Invoked, the Bishop proceeds-to Anoint the Hands
of each, in the Form-of a Cross. The Bishop's Right-Thumb is dipped-in
the Oil of Catechumens; with the Oil, he Traces a
Cross with his Right-Thumb —
a line-from the Thumb-of the Right-Hand, to the
Index-Finger of the Left, — and the Other, from the
Thumb-of the Left, to the Index-Finger of the Right. Then he
Anoints the Hands all-over, and as he does so, he says:
"Be pleased, O Lord, to Consecrate and Hallow these Hands, by this Anointing and our Blessing. Amen". He makes a
Sign (┼) over each. saying: "Whatsoever they Bless, may be Blessed, and whatsoever they
Consecrate, may be Consecrated and Hallowed in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ".
In the Old Testament, the Candidate was Anointed-with Holy Oil, which, in the case of the
High Priest, was poured-upon his Head, but in the case of the other Priests, it was merely put-upon his
Forehead. The Anointed Hands
of the Priests are Folded and tied-together with a Linen Cloth, so as to allow the Oil to Penetrate-into his
Hands. He then becomes Christ's Bondsman (Ephesians 3:1).
The Delivery of Instruments
The Bishop now presents each of the Newly Ordained, with a Chalice containing Wine and Water, and a Paten, upon the Chalice, with a Host.
Because the Anointed Hands of the Priest are Bound, he
Touches-with the Fore and Middle Fingers, both the Paten and the Cup-of the Chalice. During the Ceremony,
the Bishop says: "Receive the Power to offer Sacrifice to God and to Celebrate Mass, both for the Living and the Dead, in the
Name of Our Lord. Amen".
After the Offertory, the newly-Ordained Priests
begin-to Celebrate Mass with the Bishop, saying the Prayers
aloud with them. They even say the Words of Consecration with him. The meaning-of the Ceremony, is that as the
Apostles learned-to Celebrate Mass from Our Blessed Lord, at the
Last Supper; so too, in Con-Celebrating with the Bishop, the new-Priests learn a Ritual, from a Successor-of the
Apostles. As the newly-Ordained Priests Con-Celebrate with the Bishop,
so too, they Receive Communion, drinking-from the same Chalice,
and Consuming a Host that was Consecrated at the
Mass. (Click Picture at the Right, to see Full-Size. Only the Faithful Eleven (11) were Ordained by
The Commission to Absolve
Jesus appears before the Eleven Faithful Apostles, in the Upper Room,
after His Resurrection: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you
Forgive the Sins of any, they are Forgiven; if you Retain the Sins of any, they are Retained" (John 20:22).
Before the Communion Prayer is Read, the Mass
is Interrupted a Second (2nd) Time, to give the Priests a new-Function in the
Mystical Body of Christ. After the Profession-of Faith, the Bishop sits-down and lays both
Hands on the Head of each one kneeling-before him, and says:
"Receive the Holy Ghost; whose Sins you shall Forgive, they are Forgiven them; and whose Sins you shall Retain, they are
The Bishop does not wear Gloves for this Second (2nd) Imposition, but he does
for the First (1st). The Mass is Interrupted here, for the
Second (2nd) Time, to give the Power-to Forgive
Sins, because this Power was given-by Our Lord, at a time distinct-from that of the Authority-to
Offer the Mass. The Night-of the Last Supper, Our Lord Ordained
His Priests, after having Offered the Sacrifice of Bread and
Wine, saying: "Do this in commemoration of Me". But, it was after His
Resurrection, that He gave them Priestly Power to Forgive
Sins, and the Power-of 'Binding and Loosing'. This corresponds also to the Double
(2) Ceremony-of the Chasuble:
First (1st), the putting it on as-Folded, for the pre-Resurrection
Power; and Secondly (2nd), the Unfolding, to-Indicate the giving-of additional Priestly
Powers of Forgiveness. When the Chasuble is Unfolded, the Bishop Prays: "May the
Lord clothe you with the Robe of Innocence".
The Promise of Obedience
The newly-Ordained Priests now come-up for what is called the
"Stipulatio". There is not a clasping-of Hands here, for that
would signify 'Equality'. The Hands, being the Instruments-of Action and Service, are put inside the Bishop's
Hands, to Signify his Will to be put-at the Service-of the Bishop. It is
a Commitment-of the Young Priest, to his Father-in Christ.
The Consecration of a Bishop
The Bishop too, must be called-by the Vicar-of Christ, and cannot be
Consecrated, without his express-Permission. The Consecration Ceremony begins with the question, "Have you
the Mandate?"; i.e., has the Holy Father, the Successor-of Saint Peter, given us the Authority to Number this Priest among the Apostles?
Two (2) Things hang-together there: Apostolic Succession, and the Primacy-of Peter. The Night-of the Last
Supper, when Our Lord Consecrated His Apostles, He reminded them of
how they were bound-together in-Peter, whom He had chosen as the Rock, the Leader and the First, not
only in Honor, but in Jurisdiction.
What is very Singular (1) about the Words of Our Lord, is
that He did not Pray for all of the Apostles as Equals:
He Prayed for them, in-and-through Peter. It was through their Oneness (1)
with Peter, that they would share-in His Prayer of Victory over the
Evil of the World. This is brought-out in the way Our Lord addressed Peter in the
'Second Person Singular', in-distinction-to the Apostles, whom He
addressed-in the 'Second Person Plural':
"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has claimed Power over you all, so that he can Sift you like Wheat:
but I have Prayed for thee, that thy Faith may not Fail, when, after a while, thou hast come back to Me, it is for thee to be the Support of
thy Brethren". (Luke 22:31, 32)
He told Peter that he would Deny Him, but
afterwards, would return and be the support-of his Brethren.
When the Communists in China, attempted-to Destroy the
Church, they cleverly sought to insert a Division, between Apostolic Succession and the Primacy-of Peter. Brainwashing a few Bishops,
they succeeded-in Inducing them to Consecrate a few Priests. The Priests would then, because they were
Consecrated by Bishops, be in the Line-of Apostolic Succession; the
Communists thus hoped-that the Faithful would accept them. But, because they had
not the Authority or the Mandate from the Holy Father to do so, the Communists thereby
denied the Primacy-of Peter. As it turned out, the Catholics refused-to accept the Bishops who may have been
in the Line-of Apostolic Succession, but certainly were not embraced-in the Prayer-of Christ, for Peter.
Both Apostolic Succession and the recognition-of the Primacy-of Peter, go-together. It is very much like the Problem-of Lighting a City, by
Electricity. Suppose in this City there were a Thousand Houses. The Wire from One House ran only a foot; another, Twenty (20) feet;
another, Five Hundred (500) feet; another, Fifteen Hundred (1500) feet; another,
Eighteen Hundred (1800). But suppose that the Dynamo that supplied all of this Power was about
Two Thousand (2000) feet away from the Houses. It would follow that none of the Copper Cables would be able to Light a House; regardless
of how close they came to the Dynamo, they would not be in Actual-Contact with Power.
So it is with the Transmission-of Priestly Authority and Power. Any Organization which starts Today, or which started
Fifty (50) years ago, or Five Hundred (500) years ago, or
One Thousand (1000) years ago, is incapable-of Transmitting the Divine Power of
Christ's Passion, unless there is a Contact-with
Christ Himself, and under the Conditions Christ Himself
laid-down. As in Biology, Life comes-from
Life, so in Theology, Divine Life comes-from
Divine Life. An Unbroken Succession-of Authority and Power, is essential-for the
Divinization-of Souls in the Twentieth Century.
The Bishops, who are Successors-of the Apostles, are One (1) in Peter and his Successors, to whom Alone,
Christ promised that the "Faith would Fail not".
During the Ceremony, after the Bishop-elect has been Interrogated concerning his Fidelity,
Submission, and Obedience-to God,
and the Church, and all the Truths of Faith, the
Consecrating Prelate, accompanied-by Two (2)
Co-Consecrators, tells him at the beginning-of Mass: "It is the Duty of
a Bishop to Judge, Interpret, Consecrate, Ordain, Offer, Baptize, and Confirm". After all the Saints of
Heaven have been Invoked-in the Litany, the
Consecrator and his Co-Consecrators, successively
Touch, with both Hands, the Head of the
Bishop-elect, saying: "Receive the Holy Spirit". These Words 'Constitute' the "Matter"
of the Sacrament. Then comes the Prayer that is known as the
"Be Propitious, O Lord, to our Supplications, and Bestowing the Abundance of Sacerdotal Grace upon this Thy servant, pour upon
him the Power of Thy Blessing, through Our Lord Jesus Christ Who Liveth and Reigneth with Thee in the Unity of the Holy Ghost".
He Anoints the Head of the
Consecrated, kneeling before him, making First the Sign-of the
Cross, on the Crown, and then Anointing
the whole Crown of the Head, saying: "May
the Head be Anointed and Consecrated by Heavenly Benediction, in the Pontifical Order, in the Name of the Father +, in the Name of the Son +, and of the
Holy Ghost. + Amen".
After a Prayer, the newly-Consecrated Bishop has
his Hands Anointed with Chrism,
in the Form-of a Cross. The Consecrator draws
Two (2) lines with the Thumb of his Right
Hand, One (1) from the Thumb of the
Right Hand to the Index Finger of the Left, the
Other from the Thumb of the Left
Hand, to the Index Finger of the Right; then the Whole
Palm of the Consecrated, is Anointed, while these Words
are said by the Consecrator:
"May these Hands be Anointed with the Sanctified Oil and the Chrism of Sanctification; as Samuel Anointed David to be King and
Prophet, so may they be Anointed and Consecrated in the Name of the Father +, the Son +, and the Holy Spirit +. We make the Sign of the Holy Cross of Our
Savior, Jesus Christ, Who Redeemed us from Death, and led us to the Kingdom of Heaven".
The newly Consecrated Bishop, Con-Celebrates
the Mass with his Consecrator, even drinking-of the same
Chalice. Passing over many other Details, for want-of Space, his newly-Acquired Powers are Symbolized-in his
Crozier, Mitre, Ring, and Gloves.
Because the Bishop is the Father of a Spiritual Family, or a Shepherd, he is given a
Shepherd's Staff. Our Blessed Lord called His Bishops and
Priests, to be both Shepherds and Fishermen. Because the Bishop is the Spouse-of the Church, he is
given a Ring, to indicate that Espousal. Because he is to be a Mediator-of the Old and the New Testament, he wears the Helmet of
Salvation, which is the Mitre. Because he Hopes to receive the Blessing-of the
Heavenly Father, as Jacob received the Blessing -- thanks to
covered hands -- he wears Gloves.
After the Enthronement, the Consecrated Bishop then gives his
Blessing. He goes-to the Epistle-Corner of the Altar,
Kneels and Sings, "For many Years"; then going-to the Middle-of the Altar,
he again Kneels and Sings in a Higher Voice, "For many Years". As he approaches the One Who
Consecrated him, Kneeling a Third Time, he Sings in a still Higher Voice, "For many Years". Then he
receives the Kiss of Peace from the Bishop Who Consecrated him,
and from the other Bishops.
The Keynote-of the Bishop's Mission is not Administration, but Life -- the
Communication-of the Life that
Christ brought to this Earth. If there is Administration -- and Administration there must be -- it is in the Service-of
Divine Life. All the Bishop's Powers are directed-to the Formation-of
Christ in the Souls of the People. Others may be Instructors, but in each Diocese,
there is only One (1) Father, the Bishop. As Saint Paul said: "Yes, you may have
Ten Thousand Schoolmasters in Christ, but not more than One Father; it was I that begot you in Jesus Christ, when I Preached the Gospel to you"
Father he-is, because he has the Right and Power to Administer all the
Sacraments. Father he-is, because his Government is in the exercise-of the Heavenly Fatherhood.
Father he-is, because his Domain is Universal. He is sent First, to the World, and then, only for Jurisdictional Reasons, assigned-to a Diocese. The Reason is,
that the Universal Church is not the sum-total of all the Dioceses, throughout the World; rather, the
Dioceses derive-from the Church, not the other-way-around. The
Church preceded them. It has been founded entirely-on the Episcopacy, and its Mission to make Disciples-of all Nations. The Bishop is not
primarily the Pastor-of a Single Flock. He is a Pastor of the Universal Church, in union-with the Supreme Head of the
Church, Peter and his Successors. Hence, One of the Primary Responsibilities of the Bishop, is to the
Missions-of the Church.
The Bishop is a Father also, because he alone, has the Power to-Generate Priests,
though Priests have the Power to-Generate Christians. No
Priest, has the Power to-Ordain another Priest, though he has the
Power to-beget the Faithful.
The Priest, or the Bishop, in his Daily Round, is a Minister-of God, a Messenger-from another World,
bringing upward-to God, Prayers and
Adoration; and bringing down-from God, Graces and
Blessings to the People. He is to lay-hold-of Anything and Anybody who
Wills to be Ennobled Curiosity, or an Accountant, like Matthew at his desk, or a Fellow-traveler with the
Enemy. His Feet are Scarred-from Thorns, where the
Lost-Sheep or the Fallen-aways have become Entangled; they are to be Dusty, from Searching and Sweeping for the Lost Coin of Spiritual Wanderers.
From Proud Tempers, he will meet Ridicule and
Insult; from the Blasphemer,
Blows; from the Oppressed, Entreaty; from the Poor,
a Pleading. But he is one, who after every contact, should Inspire others to say, as the Woman at the Well: "Come and have sight
of a Man Who has told me the Whole Story of my Life; can this be the Christ?" (John 4:29).
No case to him is Hopeless. Every Soul must be to him like
the Drop-of Water in the Ugly Gutter which, looked at closely, reflects the Deep Serious Blue, of the far-off Sky. He knows that he cannot convince others
that he comes from another World, unless he Acts as if he had been there. The World may see his Acts, but they do not, Know his Thoughts.
When he Mounts the Altar, he carries-with him all the
Woes and the Wounds of the World. His feet, that walk-up the
Altar Steps, must have on them the Imprint-of the Homeless, the
Refugees, and the Wanderers-of the Earth. His Face, as he kisses the
Altar, should bear within it the Faces-of those whose Eyes are Blasted-before Furnaces,
Darkened-in Salt Mines, Wet-with the Tears of Grief, and
Furrowed-with the Worry-of Sin. His Vestments should be Heavy-with
the Millions-of Souls who know-not
Christ, and yet who are clinging-to his Vestments, Hoping-for, they know not what. As his Fingers
lift-up the Body and Blood of
Christ, he asks that all the Sufferings of the World, be united-with
Christ, and that no Pain go-to Waste.
I give myself to God.
Here is my body. Take it.
Here is my blood. Take it.
Here is my Soul, my Will, my Energy, my Strength,
My Property, my Wealth - all that I have. It is Yours.
Take it! Offer it! Offer it with Thyself to the Heavenly Father
In order that He, looking down on this Great Sacrifice,
May see only Thee, His Beloved Son, in Whom He is Well Pleased.
Transmute the Poor Bread of my Life into Thy Divine Life;
Thrill the Wine of my Wasted Life into Thy Divine Spirit;
Unite my Broken Heart with Thy Heart;
Change my Cross into a Crucifix.
Let not my Abandonment, and my Sorrow, and my Bereavement go to Waste.
Gather up the Fragments,
And as the Drop of Water is Absorbed by the Wine at the Offertory of the Mass,
Let my Life be Absorbed in Thee;
Let my little-Cross be Entwined with Thy Great Cross,
so that I may Purchase the Joys of Everlasting Happiness in Union with Thee.
Consecrate these Trials of my Life which would go Unrewarded, unless United with Thee;
Transubstantiate me so that like Bread which is now Thy Body,
And Wine which is now Thy Blood, I too may be Wholly Thee.
I care not if the Species Remain, or that, like the Bread and the Wine,
I Seem to all Earthly Eyes the Same as before.
My Station in Life, my Routine Duties, my Work, my Family -
All these are but the Species of my Life which may Remain Unchanged;
But the Substance of my Life, my Soul, my Mind, my Will, my Heart -
Transubstantiate them, Transform them Wholly into Thy Service,
So that through me all may know how Sweet is the Love of Christ.
He will feel Sad, because he knows how Men are Bitterly
Losing the Good in their Lives, but he will be
Consoled, Knowing that God is near them, even if they Know it
not; around them, even though they Perceive it not. In his Conversations, he will seek to lift Flippancy
into Reverence, Controversy into
Thoughtfulness, Frivolity into Practical Life. When he mounts the Pulpit, he should be a Speaking-
Crucifix. But above all, he will not be just a Priest, but a Victim, for
Christ was that, Offering
Himself for our Salvation. There will be no Tear,
shed-by Fellow Man, that does not Bedew his own Cheek; no Mourning Parent who will not
Pierce his Heart with
Grief; no Sheep who will be without a Shepherd. And because he knows that he is too-often a Priest, Offering
Christ, and too-seldom a Victim, sharing His
Cross, he will Daily, Pray to the
Mother of Christ:
"Since you Formed Christ the Priest and Victim in thy Body, Form Him, I beg thee in my Heart. Do this, that in addition to
the Words of Consecration at Mass, I may say them, as thou didst gaze on thy Son on the Cross: 'This is my Body; this is my Blood'. Then I shall,
through thy Help, Live and Die with Him".