The Angel of the Lord, Part Two
We are well aware that the validity of the Sacrament does not depend on the sanctity of the celebrant, but its effectiveness for himself and for others, will be all the greater to the extent that he lives it with profound faith, ardent love, and a fervent spirit of prayer.
Throughout the year, the Liturgy presents us with examples of saintly ministers of the Altar, who drew the power of imitating Christ from daily intimacy with him in Eucharistic celebration and adoration. Some days ago, we recalled the memory of St John Chrysostom, patriarch of Constantinople at the end of the fourth century. He was defined as “mouth of gold” for his extraordinary eloquence; but he was also called “Eucharistic doctor” for the vastness and the depth of his doctrine on the most holy Sacrament. The “divine liturgy” which is most commonly celebrated in the eastern Churches bears his name, and his motto: “one man full of zeal is enough to transform a people”, evidence of how effective Christ’s activity is through his ministers. In our era, the figure of St Pio of Pietrelcina stands out; we will commemorate his memory on Friday. Celebrating Holy Mass, he relived the mystery of Calvary with such fervour that he edified the faith and devotion of all. Even the stigmata which God gave him as a gift were an expression of intimate conformity with the crucified Jesus. Thinking about priests in love with the Eucharist, one cannot forget St John Maria Vianney, the humble parish priest of Ars at the time of the French revolution. With the sanctity of his life and his pastoral zeal, he managed to make his small environment into a model Christian community animated by the Word of God and the Sacraments.
Good examples, indeed.