The newest Retreat Guide from RC Spirituality, Bridge to Eternity: A Retreat Guide on the Sacrament of Holy Orders, is now available at www.RCSpirituality.org.
For many years, my religious order followed a tradition of ordaining our members to the priesthood on Christmas Eve. I remember preparing for my own ordination: eight days of silent retreat full of prayer and penance as Christmas approached; and then, on Christmas Eve, becoming a priest of Jesus Christ for all eternity. It’s hard to forget an experience like that.
But why schedule priestly ordinations for Christmas Eve? Why not choose a date more convenient for families traveling to celebrate their sons’ ordinations? What’s the point of piling such an important celebration onto a day that is already overflowing with liturgical significance?
It’s all about the symbolism. The sacrament of Holy Orders, instituted by Jesus himself, is meant to be an extension throughout history of Christ’s own incarnation, of his priestly mission to this fallen world, which begins to shine out with the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem on Christmas night. In a sense, every ordination truly is another Bethlehem: the birth of a messenger and bearer of God’s saving grace into a world needing redemption.
Bridge to Eternity: A Retreat Guide on the Sacrament of Holy Orders, will explore this mysterious reality.
- In the first meditation, we will prayerfully reflect on God’s vision for the Holy Orders of deacon, priest, and bishop.
- In the second meditation, we will look at how Jesus the Good Shepherd is the model of every priest.
- And in the conference, we will examine some of the reasons behind the discipline of priestly celibacy.