20140714 ‘A priest forever’ 永恆司祭

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (the future Pope St. John XXIII) was ordained a priest Aug. 10, 1904.
During his retreat in preparation, he reflected on detachment. He wrote that the saints “practised holy detachment: they were willing to listen to the voice of God, Who spoke to them as He speaks to me; they did not measure what they had to do by considering their pride, but cast themselves blindly into all that God wanted them to do.”
“Above all else, there was at that time ripening in my mind a lively desire and determination to annihilate the self completely in the presence of the Heart of Jesus, in order that when I had become quite stripped of all that was myself, my divine Master would find me more obedient to his commands and a worthier tool for doing some good, some great good in the Church, not in places and ways chosen by my pride, but in simple, blind abandonment to the will of my superiors.”

Day of ordination
During his ordination ceremony, Deacon Roncalli experienced the maternal love of Our Lady. He wrote, “When all was over and I raised my eyes, having sworn the oath of eternal fidelity to my superior, the bishop, I saw the blessed image of Our Lady to which I confess I had paid no attention before.
“She seemed to smile at me from the altar, and her look gave me a feeling of sweet peace in my soul and a generous and confident spirit, as if she were telling me she was pleased, and that she would always watch over me. In short she sent a gentle calm and peace into my soul which I shall never forget.”

His ordination day was very prayerful: “In the afternoon I was alone, alone with my God, Who had raised me so high, alone with my thoughts, my resolves, and the joys of my priesthood.
“I went out. Utterly absorbed in my Lord, as if there were no one else in Rome, I visited the churches to which I was most devoted, the altars of my most familiar saints, the images of Our Lady. They were very short visits. It seemed that evening as if I had something to say to all those holy ones, and as if every one of them had something to say to me. And indeed it was so.”

First Mass
The next day, Father Roncalli celebrated his first Mass, in St. Peter’s Basilica. He wrote, “I said the votive Mass of St. Peter and St. Paul. Ah, the joys of that Mass!
“I remember that among the feelings with which my heart was overflowing the most powerful of all was a great love for the Church, for the cause of Christ, for the Pope, and a sense of total dedication to the service of Jesus and of the Church, and of an intention, indeed a sacred oath, of allegiance to the Chair of St. Peter and of unwearying work for souls.”
That same day, Father Roncalli was received in special audience by Pope St. Pius X. Father Roncalli told the Pope briefly of the intentions which he had offered during his first Mass over the tomb of St. Peter.
St. Pius X said, “Well done, well done, my boy…. This is what I like to hear, and I will ask the good Lord to grant a special blessing on these good intentions of yours, so that you may really be a priest after His own heart. I bless all your other intentions too, and all the people who are rejoicing at this time for your sake.”
On Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption, Father Roncalli celebrated Mass in his home town, Sotto il Monte. He counted that day among the happiest of his life.

 

安哲路.若瑟.龍嘉利(後來的教宗聖若望二十三世),於1904年8月10日晉鐸。

 

晉鐸前的退省,龍嘉利沉思有關「脫俗」。他寫道:「聖人們實踐神聖的脫俗,他們都願意聆聽天主的說話,就如祂對我說話一樣。他們不以驕傲去計較自己要做的,只顧投身於天主要他們做的事情上。」

「在一切以上,我腦海活現一個渴望,但求在耶穌聖心內,完全擊敗自我,徹底聽命於我主,堪當成為祂更具價值的工具去行善,帶給教會更大的裨益,不以我自己因驕傲而選擇的地方與方法,卻純樸和盲目地順從我長上們的意願。」

 

晉鐸日

 

晉鐸聖儀期間,龍嘉利感到聖母對他的慈愛。他記述道:「當一切完成了,我已起誓對我長上主教效忠,我舉目看看聖母像 –––– 坦白說,先前我並沒有注意過 –––– 似乎她從祭台上向我微笑,使我的靈魂感到一陣甘飴,激起我的慷慨與信賴,聖母似乎告訴我她因我而喜樂,答應會看護著我。那陣的祥和,我永不忘記。」

他晉鐸當天,洋溢靈益:「那天下午,我單獨與主同在。祂把我高高提升,讓我的心志,沐浴於聖職的喜悅。我外出,整個羅馬我旁若無人,完全浸在我主內。我走到幾所我喜愛的聖堂,凝視聖母像和我熟悉聖人的聖像。作的是簡短的拜訪。當日黄昏,我感到有話對每一位聖者說,而每一位聖者又有話對我說。事實卻又是如此。」

 

 

首祭

 

翌日,龍嘉利在聖伯多祿大殿舉行晉鐸首祭。他憶錄著:「我為恭敬聖伯多祿和聖保祿宗徒舉行這聖祭。啊!聖祭的喜悅!我還記得,我心澎湃,激起對教會、對基督、對教宗的熱愛,全心全意奉獻給基督和教會。的確,那是一個誓言,我要貞忠於聖座,為所有靈魂不懈地工作。」

 

同日,龍嘉利獲得教宗聖庇約十世的特別接見。他向教宗坦述在聖伯多祿墓上首祭時的意願,聖庇約對他說:「做得好!做得好,我兒!… 我很高興聽到這些話。我會向我主祈求,特別降福你的意願,好讓你能作一個合祂心意的司鐸。我也祝福你其它的意向,和所有此刻因你喜慶的人。」

 

8月15日、聖母升天瞻禮慶日,龍嘉利在他的故鄉、索托.伊爾.蒙泰鎮,舉行彌撒聖祭。他形容那是一生中,其中最快樂的一天。

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