“The Priest, His Dignity And Obligations” by Saint John Eudes. He was a priest and parish missionary in 17th century France, the most renowned and effective preacher of his day. Paperback: 306 pages.
Today, as always in this perpetual battle for the salvation of souls we call the “history of the Church” the Royal Priesthood of Jesus Christ, and those men whom God has chosen to share his priesthood are under attack from the world, the flesh, and the devil. Part of the duty of the laity is to pray constantly for priests, as Christ prayed for Peter, that his faith should not fail him and that he, turning, would confirm his brethren. We, being the brothers of Christ and therefore of his priests, must do all in our power fulfill that duty.
The priest, in the meantime, has many dignities and obligations that he, too, must spend his life maintaining and fulfilling. How great and glorious is the life of a priest. John Eudes knew the grave responsibilities of the priesthood and to what standards each priest will be held accountable on the day of his judgement. It was out of deep love for his fellow priests and profound zeal for the salvation of souls that he produced this work to illustrate, with great love and clarity, what those standards are.
Herein are delineated not only the standards, but also sound advice on how to maintain them and how to achieve, for the greatest possible glory of God, the heights of efficacy and sanctity possible through the sublime office of the priesthood. Primarily directed to the priest, this incomparable series of treatises and meditations should also be profitably read by all Catholics and even those non-catholics who are interested to discover what the Church holds and teaches regarding the priesthood. Nothing but good can come from a wide dissemination and a thorough understanding of the principles and admonitions enunciated here by one of the great French priests of the 17th century.
St. John Eudes was a priest and parish missionary in 17th century France, the most renowned and effective preacher of his day. At the age of 14 he consecrated his life to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which became his segue into the priesthood.
In his endeavor to strengthen the priesthood, he wrote the following regarding the qualities of a holy priest:
“A holy priest is a saviour and another Christ, taking the Master’s place on earth, representing Him, clothed with His authority, acting in His name, adorned with His qualifications, exercising His judgment on earth in the tribunal of penance. He is consecrated to exercise the highest functions Christ ever performed on earth, to continue the work of salvation. In imitation of His Redeemer he gives himself, mind, heart, affections, strength, time, all for God. He is ever ready to sacrifice his very blood and even life itself to procure the salvation of souls, particularly those of his own flock.”