What exactly is ordination? And what is the priesthood it confers? These are questions that were raised again in the disputes of the last few years and for which we must relearn the answer. The Church’s liturgy gives the answer in prayer and meaningful actions, which it outlines beforehand in four questions that inquire into the preparedness of the candidates and thus sharpen their interior awareness of what the priesthood demands of them and gives to them. The last question summarizes, in essence, all the others. “Are you prepared to unite yourself daily more closely with Christ, our High Priest, and to become with him a sacrificial offering for the glory of God and the salvation of mankind? Although it is not expressly stated, the concept of the eucharistic ministry as the center of the priest’s existence is at the root of this question. The transcendence of the Eucharist over all other institutions in the world lies not in that which we ourselves have fashioned, however interesting it may be, but in that which anticipates our efforts – the fact that the Lord himself acts in the universal prayers and actions of the Church that have been handed down to us by history. The first and main requirement is that the priest make himself the servant of the God who is greater than he is, that he learn to transcend himself and for which we are all waiting; for whether we know it or not, we all long to transcend the works of our own spirit, our own hands, and to receive the festive gift. This last question: “Are you prepared…to become a sacrificial offering…?” means “Are you prepared to let yourself be drawn into this mystery and so to drink the festive wine of Jesus Christ, the wine of the Godhead…?
From: Ordinariatskorrespondenz, no.24, 07/06/1978