Archbishop Lefebvre: The Priest is the Minister of the Good Shepherd

May 07, 2019

It is Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who says, “Ante eas vadit.” (Jn. 10:4); the shepherd goes before the sheep. He leads them. And because He is the good shepherd, the sheep listen to His voice and recognize the voice of the true shepherd, and they follow it. And He will lead them to green pastures where they will find food. What a beautiful image of the good shepherd!

In contrast, the sheep do not know the one who is a mercenary, the one who is a thief: they run away, and the mercenary, who does not know his sheep and who does not love them, disperses and ruins the flock.

You will be this good shepherd. You will lead souls to Jesus Christ. You will lead them to the altar so that they may find spiritual restoration there.

Then, descending from the altar, you will find the pulpit of truth. You will have to preach.

You will preach Our Lord Jesus Christ, like St. Paul, who said that “for I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (I Cor. 2:2). Judǽis quidem scándalum, géntibus autem stultítiam” (I Cor. 1:23). For the Jews, the Cross of Jesus is a scandal; for the Gentiles, for the pagans, for worldly men who live without God, who distance themselves from Our Lord Jesus Christ, it is folly. And so, you will preach Our Lord Jesus Christ, this scandal and this folly, in order to draw souls to Our Lord, to convert them to Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Continuing along your way in your church, you will find the baptistry where you will give spiritual life to souls who will come to you asking for the grace of baptism.

And turning towards the baptistry, you will pass before the confessional, before the tribunal of penance wherein you will have to sit and judge those who will come to you bringing their misery, their sins. Doubtlessly, this tribunal will be a court of justice, but also and above all, a court of mercy. You will look into souls so as to give back to them the spiritual life they have lost, or to encourage them in their spiritual life.

This is the ministry of the priest. So, when you enter this church, all your ministry will be present before your eyes, and the source of this ministry will be the Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ present on the altar.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, September 21, 1980—sermon on the occasion of the Mass of a new priest, (from the book : Intégrale des sermons de Mgr Lefebvre à Ecône)