Monday, August 21, 2006
Christ the Lord, High Priest taken from among (people),(Cf. Heb. 5, 1-5) made the new people "a kingdom and priests to God the Father".(Cf Apoc. 6,cf.S. 9-10) The baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated as a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, in order that through all those works which are those of the Christian (person) they may offer spiritual sacrifices and proclaim the power of Him who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.(Cf. 1 Pet.2, 4-10) Therefore all the disciples of Christ, persevering in prayer and praising God,(Cf. Acts 2, 42, 47) should present themselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.(Cf. Rom. 12, 1) Everywhere on earth they must bear witness to Christ and give an answer to those who seek an account of that hope of eternal life which is in them.(Cf 1 Pet. 3, 15)
The essence of the priest is to pray, be that priest ordained or not. The New Testament tradition contains several examples demonstrating the role of the baptized in the prayers to and the praise of God.
Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ.(Cfr. Pius XII, Alloc. Magnificate Dominum, 2 nov. 1954: AAS 46 (1954) p. 669. Litt. Encycl. Mediator Dei, 20 nov. 1947: AAS 39 (1947) p. 555.) The ministerial priest, by the sacred power he enjoys, teaches and rules the priestly people; acting in the person of Christ, he makes present the eucharistic sacrifice, and offers it to God in the name of all the people. But the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist.(Cfr. Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Miserentissimus Redemptor, 8 maii 1928: AAS 20 (1928) p. 171 s. Pius XII Alloc. Vous nous avez, 22 sept. 1956: AAS 48 (1956) p. 714.) They likewise exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity.
Though different in essence and degree, the two Christian priesthoods share an orientation to Christ. Note the brief definition of the priesthood of the faithful: sacraments, prayer, holiness, self-denial, and charity. That seems more than adequate to me; who needs a riverboat?