An Incalculable Gift

As his ordination to the priesthood draws near, Frater Gerard reflects on the grace that has carried him to this joyful moment, and the significant gift that the priesthood is.

Ed. Note: this reflection was written by Frater Gerard in June 2024, on his approaching Ordination to the Priesthood.

“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

With the day of my sacred ordination fast approaching, these words from the Sacred Gospel come to mind. While the path to the priesthood at St. Michael’s Abbey started when I entered as a postulant in 2015—nine years ago now—it was all the way back in seventh grade when the Lord first started tugging on my heart to come follow Him. First, I look back in gratitude on the many people who have supported me in my journey: my parents and family, my parish priests and school chaplains, people of the parish, my teachers, and my friends and brothers in the Fraternity of St. Michael in college, not to mention the guidance, support, and charity of my confreres—both priests and peers—at St. Michael’s Abbey.

Looking back all these years, it is so evident that I only stand here, about to approach the altar, thanks to God’s grace and the prayers of so many who have sustained me. You cannot become a priest on your own. And so, while the grace of ordination will be bestowed on this man, and not on those in the pews on my ordination day, nevertheless, the priesthood is only possible through the encouragement and prayers of so many in Christ’s Mystical Body. In this sense, I have received so much from you all. The Lord has a way preparing a man to be his instrument in the sacred priesthood by burning away his faults, purifying his heart, and helping him grow in the virtues and docility to the gifts and workings of the Holy Spirit.

The second thing that strikes me as I approach the sacred priesthood is that the priesthood is a gift. The sacred priesthood is an incalculable gift, but it is not a gift for me, at least not primarily for me. The priesthood is a gift for the Church. Through the priesthood, Christ continues His work in the world of saving souls, since a priest becomes an instrument through which Christ works in the sacraments. What comes to mind here is “a priest is not his own” in the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, or in the words of St. Norbert’s homily on the priesthood, “What are you, priest? You are everything, and nothing."

In other words, the priesthood is not only a gift for me, such that I should be grateful, but it is a gift for all the faithful. So on ordination day, all the faithful ought to be filled with gratitude for receiving the gift of the priesthood, that, although they do not become priests, they reap the benefits of the priesthood even more directly than the priest does. Do you still not believe me, that the priesthood is more a gift for others that for the man ordained? Think about this: a priest cannot absolve himself of his sins. A priest cannot anoint his soul on his deathbed to prepare himself for the next life. A priest is a man for others, to be a channel of God’s grace to the rest of the Church.

In the weeks leading up to ordination, I have been inspired to pray this prayer adapted from the book In Sinu Jesu, and I invite you to pray it with me and for me, that I may be not just a priest, but a holy priest after Jesus’s Most Sacred Heart:

“O my beloved Jesus, unite him to Thyself, his body to Thy Body, his blood to Thy Blood, his soul to Thy Soul, his heart to Thy Heart, all that he is to all that Thou art: So as to make him with Thyself, O Jesus, one priest and one victim offered to the glory of Thy Father, out of love for Thy spouse, the Church--

For the sanctification of Thy priests, the conversion of sinners, the intentions of the Pope, and in sorrowful reparation for my innumerable sins against Thee in Thy priesthood and in the Sacrament of Thy love.


Priestly Ordinations will be held this year on Saturday, June 29, in the abbey church. You can find more info and a livestream broadcast of the Mass by following this link.

These upcoming ordinations--and, indeed, all of the work we do at the abbey--are the fruit of the prayer and support of generous men and women from around the world. If you are not currently supporting the work of St. Michael's Abbey, please consider becoming a member of the Abbot's Circle.

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