Sunday, 17 June 2012
ST. AUGUSTINE ON THE PRIESTHOOD O venerable brothers, ye priests of God above, I pray ye hear the message I speak to you in love; Ye heralds of the Highest, ye shining lights of day. Who beam with hope enduring, and charity's pure ray. Ye do to God your service in His own holy shrine; And Christ hath called you branches, Who is Himself the Vine; O see ye be not barren, nor bitter fruit ye give, If with the Root that bears you ye would for ever live. The Catholic religion yours is it to uphold. The world’s true light and ransom, the shepherds of the fold; The walls of Jacob’s dwelling, the art of Life who teach; Who judge the Church in meekness, who to the nations preach. The Catholic religion is lost if ye betray; The salt that lacks its savour serves but to cast away; The path of life is doubtful unless the light shine clear; Except the Shepherd watcheth, the robber draweth near. The care of God's own Vineyard is given unto you. That with the streams of doctrine its soil ye should bedew ; The thorns and choking thistles should root from out the ground. That so the faith of Jesus may flourish and abound. Ye are the patient oxen who tread the threshing-floor, The wheat and chaff with caution to part for evermore : The laymen frail and simple, and all inconstant still, Have you for an ensample to shew them good or ill. Whatever they shall notice is grievous unto you, That doubtless they will argue they must with care eschew; Whatever they shall see you by holy deeds proclaim, That they will reckon lawful, and free from sin or shame. Since ye have been appointed the shepherds of the sheep, Oh, see ye be not slothful, nor silent watch ye keep; Be loud and plain the warnings ye raise when harm is nigh— The wolf sees folds in safety with jealous rav’ning eye. A threefold food the faithful have need of day by day— The Body of the Saviour, to keep their life for aye; The Word of due instruction, the which discreetly give; The earthly meats that perish, whereby their bodies live.