Epistle of Saint Alphonsus Liguori

2 Timothy 2:1-7

Dearly beloved, be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus, and the things which thou hast heard of me before many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others also. Labour as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No man being a soldier to God, entangleth himself with worldly business: that he may please Him to Whom he hath engaged himself. For he also that striveth for the mastery, is not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth, must first partake of the fruits. Under stand what I say: for the Lord will give thee understanding in all things.


Verse 1. The grace which is in Christ Jesus; i.e. which is in thee by Christ Jesus. Wi.

Verse 2. Before many witnesses. Some expound it, in the presence of many witnesses; others, of the witnesses and testimonies which S. Paul had brought out of the Scriptures, when he instructed Timothy. Wi.

Verse 3. Labour. The Greek word implies, take pains in suffering; as C. i. 8. — As a good soldier, &c. The apostle bringeth three comparisons: 1. of a soldier; 2. of one that strives and runs for a prize; 3. of a husbandman. Wi.

Verse 4. No man…entangleth himself with worldly concerns: with other affairs of the world: much less must the soldier of Christ, who striveth, (better than fighteth) which belongs to the first comparison. Wi.

Verse 6. The husbandman who laboureth must first partake. Both the Latin and Greek texts admit of two interpretations: the sense may either be, that it is fitting the husbandman partake first and before others of the fruits of his labours, or that he must first labour and then partake. Wi.

Verse 7. The Lord will give thee understanding. In some Greek copies, may he give thee. Wi.


2275: The Effects of the Order of the Priesthood

Pope Pius XI
From the Encyclical "Ad catholic) sacerdotii,"
December 20, 1935

The minister of Christ is the priest; therefore, he is, as it were, the instrument of the divine Redeemer, that He may be able to continue through time His marvelous work which by its divine efficacy restored the entire society of men and brought it to a higher refinement. Rather, as we customarily say rightly and properly: “He is another Christ,” since he enacts His role according to these words: “As the Father has sent me, I also send you” [John 20:21]; and in the same way and through the voice of the angels his Master sings: “Glory to God in the highest,” and exhorts peace “to men of good will” [cf. Luke 2:14].… Such powers, conferred upon the special sacrament of the priesthood, since they become imprinted on his soul with the indelible character by which, like Him whose priesthood he shares, he becomes “a priest forever” [Ps. 109:4], are not fleeting and transitory, but stable and permanent. Even if through human frailty he lapse into errors and disgraces, yet he will never be able to delete from his soul this sacerdotal character. And besides, through the sacrament of orders the priest not only acquires the sacerdotal character, not only high powers, but he is also made greater by a new and special grace, and by special helps, through which indeed—if only he will faithfully comply, by his free and personal cooperation, with the divinely efficient power of these heavenly gifts, surely he will be able worthily and with no dejection of spirit to meet the arduous duties of his ministry.…

From holy retreats [of spiritual exercises] of this kind such usefulness can also at times flow forth, that one, who has entered “in sortem Domini” not at the call of Christ Himself but induced by his earthly motives, may be able “to stir up the grace of God” [cf. 2 Tim. 1:6]; for since he is now bound to Christ and the Church by an everlasting bond, he can accordingly do nothing but adopt the words of St. Bernard: “For the future make good your ways and your ambitions and make holy your ministry; if sanctity of life did not precede, at least let it follow.” The grace which is commonly given by God and is given in a special manner to him who accepts the sacrament of orders, will undoubtedly aid him, if he really desires it, no less for emending what in the beginning was planned wrongly by him, than for executing and taking care of the duties of his office.

959: The Order of the Priesthood is Truly a Sacrament

PIUS IV 1559-1565
SESSION XXIII (July 15, 1563)

Since from the testimony of Scripture, apostolic tradition, and the unanimous consensus of opinion of the Fathers it is evident that by sacred ordination, which is performed by words and outward signs, grace is conferred, no one can doubt that order is truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of the Church [can. 3]. For the Apostle says: “I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands. For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sobriety” [2 Tim. 1:6, 7; cf. 1 Tim. 4:14].

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