the Second Vatican Council – The Priestly Vocation

From the decree on the ministry and life of priests of the Second Vatican Council The priestly vocation to perfection

By the sacrament of Orders priests are formed in the image of Christ the Priest, to be ministers of Christ the Head in constructing and building up his whole Body, the Church, as fellow-workers with the order of bishops. In the consecration of baptism they have already received, in common with all Christians, the sign and gift of so great a vocation and grace that, even in their human weakness, they have the power, and the duty, to seek perfection, in accordance with our Lord’s words: Be perfect, then, as your Father in heaven is also perfect.

Priests are obligated in a special way to acquire this perfection. By receiving holy Orders they have been consecrated in a new way, and made living instruments of Christ the eternal Priest, so as to be able to continue through the years Christ’s wonderful work which, by divine power, has restored to wholeness the entire family of man.

Since each priest acts, as far as he may, in the person of Christ himself, he is given special grace to help him grow toward the perfection of the one whose role he plays, as he ministers to his flock and the whole people of God. He receives grace for the healing of human weakness from the holiness of Christ, who became for us a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners.

Christ, whom the Father sanctified, that is, consecrated, and sent into the world, gave himself for us, to redeem us from all sin, and to purify for himself an acceptable people, zealous for good works. So, through his passion he entered into his glory. In the same way, priests, consecrated as they are by the anointing of the Holy Spirit and sent by Christ, put an end in their lives to the sins of our selfish nature, and give themselves wholly to the service of mankind, and so are enabled to grow to perfect manhood in the holiness with which they are enriched in Christ. As they exercise the ministry of the Spirit and of holiness, they are strengthened in the spiritual life, provided that they are docile to Christ’s Spirit, who gives them life and is their guide. By the sacred actions they perform daily, and by their entire ministry in communion with their bishop and fellow-priests, they are set on the way that leads to perfection.

The holiness of priests is itself an important contribution to the fruitfulness of their ministry. It is true that God’s grace can effect the work of salvation even through unworthy ministers, but God ordinarily prefers to show his wonders by means of those who are more submissive to the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and, who through close union with Christ and holiness of life, are able to say with Saint Paul: I live, but no longer is it I who live, it is Christ who lives within me.

By the sacrament of Orders priests are formed in the image of Christ the Priest, to be ministers of Christ the Head in constructing and building up his whole Body, the Church, as fellow-workers with the order of bishops. In the consecration of baptism they have already received, in common with all Christians, the sign and gift of so great a vocation and grace that, even in their human weakness, they have the power, and the duty, to seek perfection, in accordance with our Lord’s words: Be perfect, then, as your Father in heaven is also perfect.

Priests are obligated in a special way to acquire this perfection. By receiving holy Orders they have been consecrated in a new way, and made living instruments of Christ the eternal Priest, so as to be able to continue through the years Christ’s wonderful work which, by divine power, has restored to wholeness the entire family of man.

Since each priest acts, as far as he may, in the person of Christ himself, he is given special grace to help him grow toward the perfection of the one whose role he plays, as he ministers to his flock and the whole people of God. He receives grace for the healing of human weakness from the holiness of Christ, who became for us a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners.

Christ, whom the Father sanctified, that is, consecrated, and sent into the world, gave himself for us, to redeem us from all sin, and to purify for himself an acceptable people, zealous for good works. So, through his passion he entered into his glory. In the same way, priests, consecrated as they are by the anointing of the Holy Spirit and sent by Christ, put an end in their lives to the sins of our selfish nature, and give themselves wholly to the service of mankind, and so are enabled to grow to perfect manhood in the holiness with which they are enriched in Christ. As they exercise the ministry of the Spirit and of holiness, they are strengthened in the spiritual life, provided that they are docile to Christ’s Spirit, who gives them life and is their guide. By the sacred actions they perform daily, and by their entire ministry in communion with their bishop and fellow-priests, they are set on the way that leads to perfection.

The holiness of priests is itself an important contribution to the fruitfulness of their ministry. It is true that God’s grace can effect the work of salvation even through unworthy ministers, but God ordinarily prefers to show his wonders by means of those who are more submissive to the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and, who through close union with Christ and holiness of life, are able to say with Saint Paul: I live, but no longer is it I who live, it is Christ who lives within me.

Via divineoffice.org

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