In this new work The Priest in Union with Christ the spiritual life of a priest and his special priestly functions are considered with a view to underlining the following three points. In the first place, the priest of to-day, no less than his counterpart of yesterday, must never forget for one moment the words spoken by Christ: "Make it your first care to find the kingdom or God, and his approval, and all these things (i.e. food and clothing) shall be yours without the asking" (Matt. vi, 33). In other words, the end of all our endeavours must not be a mere earthly happiness for the human race freed from every form of oppression, but eternal life-the Kingdom of God. True, it is the final thing to be obtained, but it must always be the foremost of all our intents and purposes. A certain amount of temporal well-being will help us along the road towards eternal life but it must always be subordinate to the final end. The second point I want to emphasize in the course of this work is that Christ the Saviour and high priest of mankind came on earth for the special purpose of revealing God's love for his creatures who stood in need of redemption. He came "so that they may have life, and have it more abundantly", to put within their grasp the perfect life of eternity as the full flowering of sanctifying grace, the seed of glory. This abundant life is f~lr and away superior to any earthly happiness and begins for the faithful follower of Christ even here amidst the difficulties of his present life in the following way (although the communist is violently opposed to such an idea): "Blessed are the poor in spirit, the patient, those who mourn; blessed are the merciful, the clean of heart, the peace-makers and even those who suffer persecution in the cause of right." These have received already an abundance of life as the prelude to eternal life. And thirdly, I want to point out that Christ desires to live in us as his members-especially in his priests-as a means of showing God's love for men in their need of salvation. Therefore the priest should never forget to live day in and day out and at every moment of the day in an ever-deepening union with Christ, whether he is celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, directing souls, or preaching, so that in all his work he is another Christ, the minister of Christ. Never should he be a mere functionary of the Church, since Christ himself has that ardent desire to live in him for his own sanctification and for the salvation of souls.
Rev R Garrigou-Lagrange OP, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1508857946, ISBN 13: 9781508857945