At the Priestly Ordination of Faithful of the Prelature, Shrine of Torreciudad, Spain (September 4, 2016)
Dear brothers and sisters, dear ordinands:
In this magnificent sanctuary, planned in all its essentials by St. Josemaría, we are celebrating this great feast for the Church. We want to give heartfelt thanks to you, Lord God of the Universe, for the priestly ordination of these six deacons of the Prelature of Opus Dei. In your goodness and mercy, you make us all, both men and women, sharers in your priesthood: both ordained priests and—in an essentially different way—the others, with the common or royal priesthood. We realize that, despite our personal limitations, we can help carry out your marvelous mandate to go out into the whole world to spread your teachings of salvation and happiness.
St. Josemaría, the founder of Opus Dei, is helping us today in a special way with his intercession from heaven. And he is telling us—with the insistence he recalled it to us in his conversations on earth—that we have to live the new commandment Christ specified at the Last Supper: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34).
On this day, although we have a permanent duty to do so, let us be more generous in our prayer for the Pope, for the bishops, for the priests of the whole world, for these men who are receiving, in this liturgical celebration, the very great gift of the priesthood. At the same time, let us feel the obligation to pray and offer sacrifices for everyone else, with a joyful, active prayer, which leads us to serve joyfully our families, our colleagues and friends, the aged, the poor and the rich, the sick. With the clear idea that each and every one of us has to follow in the footsteps of the Master, who came to serve and not to be served (see Mt 20:28), let us consider how we are opening our soul, our being, to this Christian spirit of generous self-giving, in everything and in every moment, for others.
The Pope never stops insisting that we go forth, and even more so in this Year of Mercy, to meet the sick, the needy, the poor. And each and every one can see ourselves among these needy people; therefore, let us beg our Lord earnestly that his charity may shine forth in our conduct, practicing what the founder of Opus Dei preached: that “we have to get to know Christ, make him known, and bring him everywhere,” because this is a duty for all the baptized.
I would like to direct myself now to these sons who are receiving today the great sacrament of the priesthood. In first place, may you realize that the Trinity is giving you the greatest gift a man can receive, and that we are obliged to be at every moment, as St. Josemaría desired, “one hundred percent priests.” To attain this, have a great love for the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Holy Mass, in which Christ is both the Victim and the Offerer, the one who makes sacramentally present through his words the Sacrifice of Calvary, the Holy Cross. As the prophet Ezekiel proclaimed, realize that you have been anointed by the Holy Spirit, and are daily urged to transmit to souls the universal call to holiness, which Jesus proclaimed.
Ardently love the Sacrament of Confession, both when you receive it and when you administer it. I beseech our Lord that, as the Church teaches, you may love the confessional, so that there the faithful may encounter forgiveness—God’s merciful Love—and peace for their own conscience. If we all have to be apostles of this sacrament, which so greatly facilitates friendship and union with our Heavenly Father, to you falls the task—at times even physically difficult—of spending hours in the confessional, transmitting the loving forgiveness that Christ won for us on the Cross.
My sons, be dispensers of good doctrine; love the Gospel, and also the daily study of Theology, the Magisterium and the Fathers of the Church. Follow the example of St. Josemaría, a great pastor of souls, whose only desire was to speak about God and exalt him in all noble human realities. Have a deep filial trust in God, so that, as we heard St. Paul assuring us in his letter to the Ephesians, our Lord will always provide for our personal effort (we are well aware of our little worth) his grace, to add the increment for souls. You should also be aware that you are making present the only priesthood: that of Christ. Therefore you have to be good shepherds who each day seek out all of their sheep, who care for the needy and give their lives generously for their flock.
I would also like to congratulate your parents and brothers and sisters and relatives; your friends and colleagues, and so many other souls who are praying for each of you, asking that you may learn, with all priests, to spend your lives for the faithful, for all mankind.
Let us pray for the Pope, for my dear brother the bishop of Barbastro-Monzón, for the other bishops and for all the priests in the Church.
We also unite ourselves today to the joy in Rome, in the Catholic world, for the canonization of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Those of us in the Prelature recall her affection for the Prelature of Opus Dei, and her gratitude for the service that the priests of the Prelature offered in caring for her spiritual daughters.
My final wish is that we all, each and every one of us, may decide to go with greater determination and perseverance to our Mother, the Blessed Virgin. In this shrine, and in the most varied places, the founder of Opus Dei directed himself to the Mother of the Eternal High Priest, considering deeply how, with refined and total fidelity, and by God’s singular plan, Mary stayed—as the Second Vatican Council proclaimed—“juxta crucem Iesu” (Jn 19:25). Our Lady was internally and externally united to the Redeemer. Next to the Cross Mary received us as her children, each and every one of us; and next to the Holy Wood, intimately united to Jesus’ prayer, she begged the Trinity that the efficacy of the saving Sacrifice may fully imbue our Christian path. Some words of St. Josemaría spoken on the feast of the Assumption in 1961 are especially significant here: “Christ wishes to become incarnate in our daily activities, to vivify from within even our most insignificant actions” (Christ Is Passing By, no. 174).
Holy Mother, Queen of the Angels, Our Lady of Torreciudad, help us to correspond with complete generosity to God’s love for us. Amen.
Romana, No. 63, July-December 2016, p. 294-296.