Benedict XVI: The Priest is a friend of Jesus and a man of prayer


Celebrating today  the chrism Mass in the Basílica of Saint Peters, Pope Benedict said that “the nucleous of the priesthood is to be a friend of Jesus." He invited the priests present to "offer their hands to Christ and be guided by Him.”

In his homily during the chrism Mass, in which the priests renew their vows and bless the Oils, the Holy Father affirmed that “to be a friend of Jesus, to be a priest, means being a man of prayer. We can only be friends of Jesus in the communion with Christ.”

He refered to the priesthood as a moment in which Jesus Himself becomes a friend and us to himself. He, truly gave himself  to our hands. He makes us participants in the conscience of the misery  of sin, and of all darkness of this world, and gives us to key to open the doors of the Fathers house.”

He rejected activism, as something that doesn’t bear fruit, declaring that: “Simple activism can be heroic," he told the priests. "But in the end, external actions remain fruitless and ineffective if they are not borne of a deep, intimate communion with Christ."

“The priest- he followed- should be above all, a man of prayer. The world in its actions and capacities becomes destructive if prayer is not considered.” He defined as well this reality of priesthood as a “movement back and forth in which God offers a gift to us, and we, in return  filled by this gift, become more like Him: the creation returns to the Creator.”

“This way the priesthood becomes a new thing: It is no more a question of descendence, but rather an encounter with the mystery of Jesus Christ. He is always the One who gives and lifts us to Him.”

Addressing the Priests, he said that “the mystery of the priesthood  lies in the fact that we, miserable  human  beings, by the virtue of the Sacrament can speak in his I: in persona Christi.”

Moreover, the Holy Father gave a thorough explanation of the signs of the Sacrament of the order, affirming that as priests “We have the need to return to that hour in which He laid his hands over us and made us participants of his mystery.”

“The human hand -he followed- is the instrument of his action, the symbol of his capacity to face the world. The Lord laid  his hands over us and wants our hands not to exercise power or to gather possessions but to become instruments of outreach, giving, creativity and love.”

He later referred to Jesus, as the one who “presents himself  today in the  Gospel as the anointed of God, this means that he works for the mission of the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Let’s put our hands again at his service and let’s ask him to always take our hand to guide us.”

Following on the specific moments of a priests life, Pope Benedict again addressed  the priests affirming  “Holding firmly onto Jesus, he said, we will not drown, but will be servants of that life which is stronger than death and that love that is stronger than hatred. He supports us. We ask him never to let go of our hands,” the Pope said.

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