Bishop Fellay preached at the first Mass of Fr. Ian Palco, explaining the dignity of the priest and the mystery and value of the Mass.
The Lord expects from his priests a love that is infinite, ever-growing, and unlimited: not a mere human love. Christ wants the priest to adore God in a perfect way, to give thanks to God at all times, to make reparation for the sins man has committed, and to intercede for mankind in all their intentions. This sermon was delivered on Saturday, July 8, 2017, the day after the priestly ordinations at the new seminary in Dillwyn, VA.
The main points of His Excellency's sermon are provided below - the video provides audio of his sermon explaining the four ends of the Mass.
The First Duty of Man is to Adore God
The act of adoration means that man recognizes the authority of God and that he freely accepts the rights God has over man. But, all men being sinners, and their acts being limited by their senses, they cannot go beyond this world on their own. Incapable of exceeding the sphere of the simply natural and to reach out to the infinite, man, by himself, cannot offer to God due adoration. Only Jesus Christ, being the Son of God, makes us understand the narrowness of human life. He offers himself in the Holy Mass and, through the priest, we can offer to God adoration that is fully acceptable to Him.
Justice, Thanksgiving, and Piety
Many times in life, man rejoices at important gifts which he is never able to give back in full: what we have received from our parents, our country, and God is invaluable. We are never truly able to thank our parents and adequately express what we owe them. It is the same with God. We owe him our life! He cares about us unceasingly, He gave His Son, and offered us the possibility of becoming His sons. Never could we thank God as we should if it was not for the Holy Mass. Being elevated to God’s instrument, the priest offering Mass can say thanks to God the way God desserves to be thanked.
The sacrifice the priest offers at the altar -- “my sacrifice and your sacrifice” -- “the sacrifice of the priest and the sacrifice of the faithful” (Offertory), united with the sacrifice of Christ, becomes a sacrifice with an infinite dimension, impossible to be understood by man, a sacrifice that is pleasing to God.
The satisfaction that one Holy Mass gives to God, being an act of Christ, is sufficient to make reparation for all the sins of humanity. But this satisfaction must be allocated to man. The Holy Mass is the source of all graces that can easily fill a man’s heart. But the amount of graces to be received, and the forgiveness given to man, depends on how open he is to the action of grace. The more man is prepared to receive the graces, the more man will receive.
The Prayer of Our Lord during the Holy Mass is infinite and infallible. Again, since man prays with Our Lord, since he has a part in this prayer, the act by itself and the fruits coming from it, is tainted by the imperfection of man. If we had the faith and we knew the plan of God, there would be no unanswered prayer. The most efficient prayer we can ever present to God happens at Mass, thanks to and through the priest.
Care for the Faithful
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre called prayer the essential apostolate of the priest. Any apostolate aims to bring his people closer to God, to help them avoid sin, and to make them progress in virtue. None of this can happen without the graces of the Mass. The graces of Christ in the Mass are universal and know no borders or limitations. Even the angels have less power than the priest! Celebrating Mass means is the essence of the priesthood.
How Does God Expect the Priest to Help the Faithful?
There is a short prayer in the breviary: “Fac ut sim sacerdos secundum Cor tuum.” “Make my heart like unto your heart!” Jesus wants to be one with the priest and he wants the priest to be one with him. He wants to pour into the heart of the priest the love of God and, through the heart of the priest, he wants to approach the faithful. The priest should look at Christ at all times and ask: What do you want me to do? To say? The life of the priest is about the love of Christ and the love for the sheep he has entrusted to the priest. Human nature is such that man loves what he finds to be good. A priest, like Christ, who dies for all people, has to open his heart to all men and must be ready to die for the sinner.
Charity Summarizes all the Commandments
“We must love God with all our heart with all our strength.” There can not be any limitation to our love. This charity, the union we have now with God, is the same as the saints have for God in heaven. As long as we live on earth, our charity has to increase every moment. No man can say at any moment that he is loving God and his neighbor as much as he should. The progress souls make from one Communion to the next, following St. Thomas Aquinas, is exponential. Only God knows how much progress we make at every Communion, and what marvels God works in our soul.