The Progeny of Christ
Not an established document of many philosophies, theologians, or dogmas printed in an orderly fashion. But, through the passion of Christ and the structure of the Church this will sit as the ominous description of the life that still stands on the Cross at Calvary.
When we reach out to a struggling Church where the only true existence lies within the Tabernacles of the world, the true Presence of Christ is found in its priesthood.
Looking at a lonely cross in the twilight of day with the rays of sunlight silhouetting this lasting image of love one can almost visualize the sacrifice that created a vestige of humanity that to this day reaches the lost and lonely through the priesthood that Christ ordained to spread his word.
It is a collection of humanity without halos existing overhead. Within these human vessels lies the reflection of the three days of a passion no one else could have endured. Yet, as he ascended to heaven preparing a place for us, he sent forth the weakest element of creation, men who would pick up the remnants of the blood shed to redeem this world from sin.
As our eyes fixate on the horizontal wood of the cross we see from one end to the other God’s chosen call of men; beginning with deacons who first reach a ministry to serve; the very words of Jesus; “For the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk 10: 45).
Moving across this horizontal structure we find the next hands received by Christ, his brother priests. Their call to grant forgiveness through sacramental anointing. Reaching the end of this orderly place of holy orders is the bishop; the very persons of Apostolic Succession to Peter. Over all of these imminent offices is the direct heir of Peter, the Holy Pope of the Catholic Church.
This process we call Holy Orders is not the role of the Catholic Church, it is the structure that the Holy Mother Church has adopted just as Christ instructed. “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28: 19 - 20). This teaching was directed to the upcoming ministry of the priesthood
One part of the cross we must not forget is the vertical structure that the priesthood is sent for; the souls of the saints and martyrs upon whose lives we rely on for God’s Grace. Without them our ministry means little; with them they stand as the goal for all that we do. A unifying Communion of Saints.
Through his Cross, his Passion, his death/resurrection the plan of his Father all comes to fruition and the mechanics of this ministry has been placed in the hands of simple men who love the Lord and are willing to give of themselves through a similar passion of suffering. The word that signifies this suffering is the priesthood in all three levels of ordination; deacon, priest, bishop.
Upon the cross that stands alone on that hill we see the future of sacrifice through suffering. Without that acceptance to follow Christ through his passion our ministry will have no impact. The result will be a loss of our own soul if we reject our calling.
This again is a solid call of those who answer the very road that Jesus took through his Incarnation. A glorious path to stand for him in his suffering, death/resurrection.
Ralph B. Hathaway