Thursday, November 10, 2011

Leo the Great, Fatima, and Priesthood of the Faithful

Today is the feast of St.Leo the Great, the pope who is famous for meeting Attila the Hun at the gates of Rome and talking him out of sacking the city. 

In the Office of Reading, we get a sermon from St. Leo, which addresses both the kingship and the priesthood that we all received at baptism. He makes distinctions, of course, between  ordained priests and the laity, but stresses the connection between the two:

For all, regenerated in Christ, are made kings by the sign of the cross; they are consecrated priests by the oil of the Holy Spirit, so that beyond the special service of our ministry as priests, all spiritual and mature Christians know that they are a royal race and are sharers in the office of the priesthood. For what is more king-like than to find yourself ruler over your body after having surrendered your soul to God? And what is more priestly than to promise the Lord a pure conscience and to offer him in love unblemished victims on the altar of one’s heart?....For indeed one sacramental priesthood is celebrated throughout the entire body of the Church. The oil which consecrates us has richer effects in the higher grades, yet it is not sparingly given in the lower.

Meditating on this priesthood of ours, and the offering of "victims on the altar of one's heart", I can't help but thinking of the message of Our Lady of Fatima, which was above all else to "offer up" in reparation for sin, all the sufferings, great and small, that come our way each day. We have the privilege and ability to do this because, belonging to the body of Christ, our sufferings can be joined to our great High Priest, and actually allowed to "count" for the salvation of sinners. Because, incorporated into Christ, our sufferings are His sufferings. This, in turn, shows why it makes perfect sense to pray the psalms of suffering and desolation in the voice of Jesus in His agony. 

Don't you just love it whenever you see—yet again—the elements of our faith clicking together so perfectly?