Volume 3, Chapter
of Mgr. Lefebvre
on the Occasion of the Ordination of Fr. Michel Simoulin
20 September 1981
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
My dear friends,
Have we not said all there is to say concerning the sacred priesthood
since the time that ordinations began to be given here in this chapel?
It would be a serious error to believe that one could speak of the
priesthood of this extraordinary grace communicated to men in a
is the priesthood? Is it not the participation of the priest, a
man chosen by God, in the great mysteries of Our Lord Jesus Christ?
If then the priesthood is truly the union of a human creature with
the mysteries of Our Lord Jesus Christ, how then can one limit the
considerations which one could make concerning the priesthood? One
could never exhaust all there is to say of this mystery of Our Lord
Jesus Christ, this divine mystery which surpasses us all ! Thus
it is that the more we deepen our knowledge of the mystery of the
priesthood, the more it seems there is to say and the more profound
are the realities to seek of this mystery. The priest is so assimilated
to Our Lord that he lives all these mysteries.
mystery of Our Lord is that of His Mission: a mysterious Mission.
Jesus is sent by His Father; He "leaves" in a certain
manner the bosom of the Blessed Trinity. He is sent by His Father:
Sicut to me misisti in mundum, et ego misi eos in mundum
"As Thou,"' says Our Lord to His heavenly Father in the
magnificent sacerdotal prayer, "as Thou hast sent Me into the
world, thus also I have sent these apostles and these disciples
into the world." Sicut misfit me Paten et ego mitto vos
" As the Father hath sent Me, I also sent you." There
is therefore a special mission which is incumbent upon the priest.
This mission is realized in a special way by an election: Non
vos me elegistis, sed Ego elegi vos "It is not you who
have chosen Me,' says Our Lord, "but I who have chosen you."
He has chosen us and yet, my dear friends, have we not sometimes
the impression that we have chosen ourselves, that we have decided
upon our own vocation, to have said, "Personally, I want to
be a priest and I have chosen the priesthood." What an illusion!
It is indeed to misunderstand the omnipotence of Divine Providence;
it would be to misunderstand the omnipotence of God Himself, Who
has led us far more than we have led ourselves.
on earth has a certain path, a vocation. Our Lord has led us to
the seminary and has chosen us for this priestly vocation. Thus
we are truly chosen; we are sent into the world by Our Lord Jesus
Christ. Furthermore, you will hear in a few short moments the words
which the bishop is going to pronounce at the time of the sacerdotal
ordination of your colleagues. These words speak often of this election:
"Thou hast been chosen."
This is a
great consolation for us. A consolation because, faced by the enormity
of this vocation, which surpasses all that one can imagine for a
human creature, we are confident that we have been chosen by Almighty
God and consequently that we shall be sustained by Him in our priestly
activity and our priestly sanctification. This is a great aid for
participates not only in the mystery of the Divine Mission of Our
Lord but also to a certain measure in the mystery of the Incarnation,
and this in a truly special manner. The mystery of the Incarnation
was realized by two graces, two extraordinary gifts of Our Lord.
The first gift is the union of God Himself with a human body and
soul, of the Person of the word of God with the body and soul of
Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is grace of Union, of the Hypostatic
Union. This is unique to Our Lord, for He is the Christ, the anointed
One of the Lord. It is this anointing by which the Divinity has
come down into this body and soul. It is that Our Lord is endowed
with privileges which are entirely unique. By this fact alone He
is the Savior, Priest and King. He cannot cease to be King.
Our Lord Jesus
Christ is then a priest by the grace of the Hypostatic Union and
not by the second gift with which His soul was endowed: sanctifying
grace. God alone knows the immensity of this sanctifying grace!
We all participate in sanctifying grace by the Sacrament of Baptism.
It is St. John who, in the first chapter of his Gospel, tells us
that we all participate in this extraordinary grace of Our Lord
but the priest, by his priestly character, participates in this
grace of union, this unique grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He participates
in this grace because he is a priest, and Our Lord was made priest
by this union of divinity with humanity. The priest too is associated,
in a very intimate manner, as you see, with Our Lord in a manner
more intimate than all other creatures even more intimate than other
baptized creatures, all the other faithful; he is chosen to participate
in a very intimate manner with the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
in His Priesthood.
It is obvious
that the priest also participates in the great mystery of the Redemption.
To participate in the mystery of the Redemption is the purpose of
his priesthood, it is the raison d'etre of his priesthood.
life, his entire apostolic life, his entire priestly life, is nothing
other than to spread the graces of the Redemption, to spread the
graces of the Cross. The principal act by which he participates
in the Redemption and by which he spreads the graces of the Redemption
is, as you undoubtedly know, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The
priest is made, above and beyond all else, to offer the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass in order that the graces which descend from the Heart
of Our Lord Jesus Christ pierced through by a lance spread by His
Blood: qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur "which
is shed for you and for many." These are the essential words
which the priest pronounces at the moment of the consecration of
the Mass; this Blood which is shed for you, for us, for many. Alas
! Why is it "for many"? Precisely because many have refused
it; many refuse the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the graces of
the Redemption. This is not because Our Lord did not will to shed
His Blood for all it is said at the Offertory "we offer this
chalice pro totius mundi salute for the salvation of the
entire world," but, alas, in reality, countless souls refuse
the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
Thus we see
the role of the priest, the essential role of the priest: to offer
the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ and to spread the graces by all
the sacraments, particularly by the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament
of Penance. Moreover, we have seen how a holy priest such as the
Cure of Ars spent his life at the altar spreading God's graces by
his words, and in the confessional spreading the graces of the Redemption
for souls. There you have the priest. What a beautiful and sublime
priest truly participates in the mysteries of Our Lord in such an
intimate and profound manner it is easily understood why he is called
an alter Christus "another Christ." It is indeed true.
If, therefore, he is to be another Christ, he must have in his soul
the particular dispositions necessary to receive these graces. In
order to know what these dispositions must be, these dispositions
which must be in the hearts of all priests in order that they be
well disposed to profit from the grace of the priesthood, let us
address ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary, for she also is intimately
associated with Our Lord Jesus Christ. She is associated in a manner
even more sublime than that of the priest. Although she did not
have the particular graces of the priesthood she nevertheless participated
greatly in the Mission of God, for without her, God would not have
descended to earth. It was necessary that she pronounce her fiat
in order that the Mission of God be accomplished here on earth.
She participated in an essential manner in the salvation of the
world. Our Lord is, of course, the Savior, but if there is one person
who greatly participated in the salvation of the world, it is indeed
the Blessed Virgin Mary, and if there is one person who is the Co
Redemptrix and who participated in the Redemption, it would also
be the Blessed Virgin Mary.
we wish to know what our dispositions must be, let us go to the
Blessed Mother. Let us ask the Blessed Virgin what our dispositions
disposition of the Blessed Mother is that she remained a virgin.
This is perhaps not an essential disposition for the priest, since
exceptions have been made through the course of the centuries; it
is, however, just. It is a usual condition for entry into the priesthood.
The Church has always considered the celibate state necessary for
the priest precisely because he approaches Our Lord in such an intimate
manner. He must no longer have concerns other than those of and
for Our Lord Jesus Christ. All his thoughts, all his heart, all
his activities must be oriented towards Our Lord just as the Blessed
Virgin Mary's were, just as St. Joseph's were, just as St. John's
were. Those who were closest to Our Lord were all virgins.
quality which the Blessed Mother teaches us is humility; respexit
humilitatem meam, says the Blessed Mother in her Magnificat,
"He has looked upon my humility and He has exalted the humble."
Twice she insists upon this quality of humility which is especially
required and she says that it is because of her humility that she
has been chosen. This is precisely because humility is the disposition
which best enables us to see God, to comprehend God, to have the
wisdom of God, to be with God. Pride blinds, pride closes the heart,
closes the intellect, closes the mind; it limits them to creatures.
Humility, on the contrary, is as a great opening to the omnipotence
of God, to the greatness of God, to all the attributes of God. The
humble soul is filled with God and it is for this reason that the
Blessed Virgin Mary teaches us humility: Et exaltavit humiles.
consideration to be made concerning the Blessed Mother is taken
as well from the Magnificat: Esurientes implevit bonis,
says she. Esurientes. What does she mean by esurientes?
Souls of desire, souls which aspire to God: esurientes
those who thirst for God, who desire God, who live for God these
souls Almighty God has filled with good things, et divites dimisit
inanes "and the rich He has dismissed with nothing."
hearts are filled with things of this world, those who are attached
to things of this world they also have their hearts closed, their
hearts hardened by all the goods of this world. It is for this reason
that the grace of God does not descend upon them: et dimisit
inanes! Almighty God has sent them away with nothing. They
are deprived of everything. Deprived of God, they will remain without
God. Is this not what we see all too often unfortunately, in the
world: souls so attached to the things of this world that they have
forgotten God? The priest must therefore imitate the Blessed Virgin.
He must have a pure soul entirely attached to God. He must have
a soul entirely detached from things of this world in order that
his soul may be filled with God. This is what the priest must be,
in order that he should be able to give God to others.
If the priest is a man without God, then where will we find God
upon earth? What will the faithful do? What will the Church do if
priests are without God? The priest is a man of God; the priest
must be a man of God. It is the priest who must bear God upon the
earth and who gives Him particularly in Holy Communion and prepares
souls to receive Holy Communion.
My dear friends,
my dear brethren, let us ask today that our dear friend, Father
Michel Simoulin, may be filled with these dispositions in order
that the grace of the priesthood, which will be given to him in
just a few minutes, should fill his soul with the gifts that Almighty
God wants to give by this priestly grace, and in order that united
to the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose praises we sing in a particular
moment at this Holy Mass, he may be able to spread Jesus Christ
In the Name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109