C4: Ignite Your Catholic Faith – What are Holy Orders?

By | August 23, 2019


Exactly what are holy orders? Why do we have bishops, priests and deacons? Do they really need all these different titles? When I was 16 years old,
I was working my first restaurant job… bussing tables, washing dishes, frying chicken. It was 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning-
I was up to my armpits in chicken grease, scrubbing up fryers and I had
the radio on-to keep myself awake. It was during the Pope John Paul II’s first
pastoral visit to the United States, October of 1979. That was a trip that lit this country on fire! Over the radio, comes an excerpt from his homily that day, and he’s talking to the young people
of America. He’s talking to me. I was 16. He said, “Young people of the United States,
God is calling you to a life of radical holiness,” “and God is calling many of you to the
priesthood and religious life to serve the Church.” “So, when you hear that call,
don’t be afraid of it, but say ‘yes’ to it.” “Because, when you say ‘yes’ to Christ,” “He will do things with you, through you,
for you, that you can’t even imagine.” At that moment, I felt as if the pope had come out of the radio and was standing in front of me in that kitchen saying, “God wants you. The Church
needs you. Christ is calling you.” At that moment, I was absolutely convicted
that God was calling me to be a priest. The priesthood, obviously, is linked to Jesus Christ, as priest. A priest is a mediator, a point of connection,
a bridge between God and humanity. So, Christ is that eternal high priest that links us to God. He extends that connection, he continues his priesthood
through the ordained priesthood in the Catholic Church. So, he commissioned the Apostles,
and they go forth to proclaim the Gospels, celebrate the sacraments, serve God’s people. So, we see the bishops as the successors
to the Apostles continuing that mission. Then priests are helpers to the bishops. And deacons come along in terms of their proclaiming the Gospel, serving the sick and being ministers to the poor. So, all three dimensions of the sacrament
of holy orders: bishop, priest, deacon… that’s a continuation of the priesthood of Jesus Christ… the continuation of his life and presence in this world. So, the hierarchy, the ordained priesthood, only exists
to serve the baptismal priesthood of the laity… to help the laity go into the world and to sanctify the world for Christ. So, if the Church is a hierarchy, it’s an inverted hierarchy because those that we might be tempted
to say are at the top, are actually at the bottom… working to build up and support the whole Church. For, we are all ministers and servants
of Christ in that power of baptism. Just like me, Christ is calling you. Be open to that call, be open to the power of the Holy Spirit. When you say ‘yes’ to Christ,
He will do amazing things through you. It’s the Year of Faith and we’re connecting
Christ and the Catechism of the Catholic Church! Ignite your faith! Share this video with a friend and
spark-up a spirited conversation today! So what’s the next C-4 all about? We invite you to come back and “C-4” yourself!

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