[The priestly commission of the lay faithful equips them to] produce in themselves ever more abundant fruits of the Spirit.
For all their works, prayers, and apostolic endeavors, their ordinary married and family life, their daily labor, their mental and physical relaxation, if carried out in the Spirit, and even the hardships of life, if patiently borne—all of these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Pt 2.5).
During the celebration of the Eucharist, these sacrifices are most fittingly offered to the Father along with the Lord’s body. Thus, as worshipers whose every deed is holy, the laity consecrate the world itself to God — Lumen Gentium 34.
In the living waters of Baptism, by the fragrant chrism of Confirmation, made perfect through the ministerial priesthood in the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice, and joined with my bride in our sacramental life-giving one-flesh union, I am called to be, and to act, as a royal priest who consecrates and up-offers his whole embodied existence to God as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1f).
This is the whole purpose of life.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matt. 6:19-21
This priesthood I have become sweeps my every action into its liturgical ambit, permitting God’s transforming Fire to enter and burn in the heart of creation, like magma beneath the crust, preparing it for transfiguration in a new creation. I found all this in the symbol of the lit Paschal Candle:
On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.
My priestly hands, held aloft by the Church, are to be twined with the World and joined to the labor of bees in making wax to feed the Fire of God. My priestly hands are to be twined with both earth and vine in making bread and wine for the for the life of the World, while heavy laden with alms for the poor. Through these Gifts, Creation finds its perfection. Finds its tetelestai (Jn. 19:30) in becoming, through love, a sacrificial banquet filled with all the fullness of God.
My priestly offering is to be found in
Sweat. Laughter. Exhaustion. Fear. Calm. Prayer. Long labor. Stupidity. Failure. Anxiety. Heroism. Feeding. Fasting. Sleeping. Keeping vigil. Insomnia. Sin repented. Singing. Dancing. Staring. Fixing. Confused. Numb. Joyous. Forgiving. Repairing. Playing. Bedridden. Reading. Writing. Pleasure. Agonizing. Doubting. Trusting. Loving. Serving. Imprisoned. Sick. Weak. Forgetting. Exercising. Waiting. Stressing. Comforting. Reprimanding. Patiently enduring. Celebrating. Grieving. Cleaning. Gardening. Visiting. Impatiently fretting. Lonely. Delighted. Visiting. Addiction withdrawing. Smiling. Crying. Wondering. Beautifying. Dying. Nothing. All. My, our, His whole messy lot.
The material readied for this Sacrifice should be great, for all is in our reach, no matter our limits. By a single act of the will, by a simple intention of faith in love with hope, all is consecrated. Drench it all now, O Christian, in the torrent of mercy gushing from the side of our dead God (cf Jn. 19:30-37).
Pray your epiclesis in simple faith with Elijah…
“Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. — 1 Kings 8:37-38
This post came to me while my wife made dinner for an elderly woman who lives alone. She delivered it just now, and sat with her for a time. While she was away, the Fire fell. I heard it roar, and it took everything up into the Banquet. Even before Mass had begun. My God. Yet we will finish this only then.
Listen outside. The Fire! It’s falling up, everywhere…