|Ever wonder why St. Jean Vianney looks dead in every|
picture of him? He never let any images of him be
made during his life. The only image of him
we have is his death-mask.
Feast of St. Jean Marie Vianney - III Class
What is the work of the priest? The work of the priest is to join God and man. The work of the priest is to offer sacrifice. The work of the priest is to gather the lost sheep and offer them up to God, offering up the Lamb of God and the sinners together that the union of Lamb and sinner might burn off sins. The work of the priest is to gather together the scattered flock. The priest joins sinners to God because God loves them. Love is a Divinely inspired desire to give yourself, sacrificing yourself, to care for another. It is in this way that God loves sinners and sacrificed Himself on the cross to destroy their sins. Because God loves sinners this much, sinners owe themselves to Him and He deserves to have them. The priest then offers up to God the sinners He rightfully deserves. The priest also offers the sinners up to God because, without union with God, the sinners have absolutely no way of avoiding Hell, no matter how much they go saying that they're "not really a bad person".
This is precisely the work done by St. Jean Marie Vianney. His parish was nothing but lost sheep. They were all fallen-away Catholics who slept in on Sundays, ate meat on Fridays, never went to Mass except for the occasional baptism or funeral, slept a round with whatever partner suited their lusts and passions, and were simply living a depraved, pleasure-seeking life. Everything they did was based on pleasure, which is selfish and manipulative, not on love, which is self-less and sacrificial. It took him 10 years of prayer and suffering, with everyone telling him he was crazy for doing this and the devil attacking his efforts to start to turn things around and eventually had everyone in confession, with people coming from great distances to have him hear their confessions. This work the Church desperately needs now much more that in St. Jean Vianney's time. Pray for more priests to do this work. It is this work that makes them priests. Pray for the lost sheep that they might return home. Many souls, both human and demonic, work very hard to discourage priests from this work. Support priests and their work by praying for the return of the lost sheep.