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Monday, June 21, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 20 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI celebrated Mass this morning in the Vatican Basilica, during the course of which he conferred priestly ordination on fourteen deacons from the diocese of Rome.

In his homily the Pope explained how, "in prayer, the priest is called to rediscover the ever-new face of his Lord, the most authentic content of his mission. Only one who has an intimate relationship with the Lord can be seized by Him, can bring Him to others, can become His envoy. This involves a kind of 'remaining with Him' which must always accompany, and be the core of, priestly ministry, also and above all during moments of difficulty when it seems that 'the things to be done' must take priority. Wherever we are, whatever we do, we must always 'remain with Him'".

"The priesthood must never represent a way to achieve security in life or to attain social position. Anyone who aspires to the priesthood in order to increase his personal prestige and power has radically misunderstood the significance of this ministry. Anyone whose main goal is to realise an ambition of his own, to achieve success, will always be a slave to himself and to public opinion. In order to be noticed he will have to adulate; he must say what people want to hear, he must adapt to changing fashions and opinions. In this way, he will deprive himself of the vital relationship with truth, reducing himself to condemning tomorrow what he praises today.

"A man who organises his life like this", the Holy Father added, "a priest who sees his ministry in these terms, does not truly love God and neighbour, he loves only himself and, paradoxically, ends up by losing himself. The priesthood - let us never forget it - is founded on the courage to say yes to another will, with the daily-growing awareness that - precisely my conforming ourselves to the will of God, 'immersed' in this will - not only is our originality not cancelled but, quite the contrary, we increasingly enter into the truth of our being and our ministry".

"When we celebrate Mass", said Benedict XVI, "we have the bread of heaven in our hands, the bread of God Who is Christ, the grain broken to be multiplied and become the true food for the life of the world. This cannot but fill you with a sense of inner wonder, of living joy and immense gratitude because now the love and gift of the crucified and glorious Christ pass through your hands, through your hearts! It is an experience of wonder, ever new, to see that in my hands and in my voice the Lord achieves this mystery of His presence".

The Pope asked God to give the new priests "the grace to achieve a profound experience of all the beauty and power of your priestly service and, at the same time, the grace to be able to live this ministry coherently and generously, every day.

"The grace of the priesthood", he told the newly-ordained priests, "will unite you in the depths of your hearts to the sentiments of Jesus, Who loved unto the end unto the total gift of self, it will unite you to His becoming bread multiplied for the holy meal of unity and communion".

The Holy Father concluded by explaining that "care over the celebration of the Eucharist must always be accompanied by commitment to Eucharistic life; that is, a life lived in obedience to the one great law, the law of love that gives completely and serves with humility, a life that the grace of the Holy Spirit makes ever more similar to that of Jesus Christ, High and Eternal Priest, Servant of God and of man".

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