Has your faith made you whole and holy? Leprosy is a strange disease which discolors the skin that it infects. It is one of the first signs that one is diseased. Ten lepers stand at a distance crying out as one: "Master have mercy on us." Their discolored skin indicates an attachment to heresy and hence the need for the Master Teacher to make them whole. What does He say to them?
"Go and show thyselves to the priests."
The priesthood is required to corroborate the faith of the individual. The priesthood is the key to the Church of Our Lord. The Roman Catholic Church requires the holy and eternal priesthood in order to carry on the mission of salvation through the sacrifice of the eternal Lamb of God identified also as the Eternal High Priest. Hence there is an identity uniting the one who sacrifices and that which is sacrificed.
The doctrine is clear when the Mass of All Ages is offered upon the altar by the priest who shares in the priesthood of Our Lord.
In each and every priest the "Incarnational principle" is active and carries itself through their lives. Consider the action of the good Bishop Sheen when he visited the leper colony and brought 300 silver crucifixes to give to the lepers. When he saw the hand of the first leper reach out for the cross of Christ, the Bishop dropped it into that "foul, fetted mass of corruption." Then the awful thing that he had done dawned upon him. He had taken Christ's identification with mankind and separated himself from its expression in his brother. He had become the 301st leper. He reached down and took the crucifix up and kissed it and pressed into the hand of that leper.
This is the doctrine that heals and sanctifies the Catholic. It is a priestly church that acts in just the same manner. The priesthood must be renewed or the church will die. St. Pope Pius X in his outstanding encyclical "Pascendi" remarks that the "most pernicious error" in the Church is to make the laity the guides of progress in the church. In doing so it negates the action of Christ who chose the "Twelve".
Today the church and the traditional units within the Church have become leprous. No longer do the Bishops bishop nor the priests teach by sacrifice. Everyone lives in a state of confusion due to the obscurity of the central doctrine presented by our Lord: The Sacrifice of His Divine Life. "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin." (Heb. 9:22) If the true sacrifice is not offered then sins cannot be forgiven and death comes. We will go to war and fulfill the pattern: either shed the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, or you will shed the blood of your brother in war.
One leper alone returned to the feet of the Lord, prostrated himself in worship and gave thanks. Were not ten made clean asked the Lord and where are the other nine. One became whole and holy; the other made clean failed to follow the pattern that leads to wholeness and holiness. What pattern are you following? Do you, as the saints did, meditate upon the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary? Examen your life and come back to the love of the priesthood. Pray for the priests to be truly united in the Sacrifice of Calvary. This is your greatest gift to the holy Catholic Church.
In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Fr. Richard Voigt