The Lord gave us Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry. (Ephesians 4:12)
To equip the people for the work of ministry. Ergon diakonias. The diaconal work, the work of serving.
Aimed at what? Building up the Body of Christ.
We serve Christ to build up Christ.
Christ our King, Whom we serve as ministers—He Himself needs no building up. He reigns eternally in heaven, having conquered death and evil by His perfect work of ministering to the Father.
We build ourselves up by serving Him. He needs nothing from us. But what He desires, what He wills—that is clear. He wills that everyone would reign with Him, that everyone would share His eternal peace.
How? By serving the Father just as the Christ has served Him. Christ, by serving the Father in us, builds us up into fullness—the fullness that He has had with the Father since before the world began.
At the holy altar, the Lord gives us Himself, His Body, Blood, soul, divinity. He instituted the sacrament so that His will could be fulfilled: that He and we would become one holy, immortal, blessed Body.
We priests of Christ, we sacred ministers, have the unique privilege of ministering to Christ by standing in His place, speaking His words, receiving His Body from heaven through the holy offering we make on behalf of the people.
From this sacred ministry–which we priests do, in spite of our manifest unworthiness–from this, all the ministry of the Church flows. So what can our ministry together be, then, other than zealous love, aimed at fostering the true communion that we can have with God in His Church?
Jonathan Firth as Fred Vincy
The dutiful minister always runs the risk of letting familiarity with the master lull us into taking things for granted. We’re faithful Catholics, sure. Ho. Hum. Mass every Sunday. Ho hum.
But what if we tried to recite the Nicene Creed this Sunday, as if we had never recited it before? What if we tried to make an act of faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, as if this were the first time we ever prayed at a Catholic Mass?
Then maybe we could behold again the fact that the Holy Mass is the most important, most wonderful thing that anyone could ever do. The Mass is where heaven and earth meet.
And the most loving act of kindness anyone could ever do for someone else would be to help him or her share in this.
ADDED BONUS! Line of the day from young Mr. Fred Vincy, as to why he prefers not to enter the clergy:
I don’t like divinity, and preaching, and feeling obliged to look serious.
PS. The funniest thing I have seen in a long time: The facebook-wall version of Middlemarch (by Ms. George Eliot). Click HERE.