Holy Orders

The whole Church is a priestly people.  Through Baptism all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ.  This participation is called the “common priesthood of the faithful.”  Based on this common priesthood and ordered to its service, there exists another participation in the mission of Christ:  the ministry conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders, where the task is to serve in the name and in the person of Christ the Head in the midst of the community.   (CCC 1591)

St. Gregory of Nazianzus, as a very young priest, exclaimed:

“We must begin by purifying ourselves before purifying others; we must be instructed to be able to instruct, become light to illuminate, draw close to God to bring him close to others, be sanctified to sanctify, lead by the hand and counsel prudently.  I know whose ministers we are, where we find ourselves and to where we strive.  I know God’s greatness and man’s weakness, but also his potential.  [Who then is the priest? He is] the defender of truth, who stands with angels, gives glory with archangels, causes sacrifices to rise to the altar on high, shares Christ’s priesthood, refashions creation, restores it in God’s image, recreates it for the world on high and, even greater, is divinized and divinizes.”

St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio