Jesus said, “Anyone who sees Me sees the Father.” Every priest is Alter Christus, Another Christ. This means that they are for us the most tangible image we have of our Heavenly Father. I cannot run up to God the Father and give Him a big hug and a kiss, but every time I have kissed the hands of a newly ordained priest, I feel I have expressed this filial devotion.
Dads are there every step of the way. So is the priest. If fact, our natural fathers can accompany us only so far. At a certain point, they must step aside. What a tragedy this would be if the only knowledge of our true Father came to us through these men! But as He has planned, we have other reminders, namely our beloved priests.
Some object to calling them, “Father.” After all, didn’t Jesus Himself say, “Call no one on earth your father?” This is more true than those who object really know. We do have one Father in Heaven, but He is not a miser with His power and glory and He wants us to know His love. We call priests “Father” because of their relationship with Christ and though Him with the Father.
My Daddy taught me a great love for these ordained, consecrated men. They do not take his place, but they do extend my experience of the love of God the Father which began with my Daddy. How blessed we are to have these fathers and through them may we always be drawn closer to Our Father.
Happy Father’s Day to all our priests, from all your Carmelites!!!