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Homily upon the Ordination of a Chartusian Father

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Below is part of the Homily that Monsignor Bagnard gave for the Ordination of Father Christophe at the Charterhouse de Portes. We thank Christian for the rough translation. Only the part of the homily dealing with the ordination was translated.

Monsignor Bagnard's Homily upon the Sacerdotal Ordination of Fr Christophe
Chartreuse de Portes - Tuesday September 14. 2004

The eucharistic liturgy preserves its power of fecundity even when the
priest is alone to celebrate it. It is the supremely effective mystery
of the Eucharist which is the raison d'être of ordination. You expressed
it, Frère Christophe, in your letter of request for ordination:
"the priest reaches the top of his ministry when he pronounces the same
words that Jesus pronounced at the Last Supper : "This is my Body...
This is the cup of my Blood... ", words which he pronounces while being
identified sacramentally and mystically with Christ, words that are
endowed with the same effectiveness as those of Jesus. It is Him,
actually, the High Priest Eternal who offers at this time his own
sacrifice through the ministry for the priest to associate with it the
Church, the sufferings and the efforts of Man. The fruits of the mystery
of the Redemption are thus communicated with abundance by this oblation,
while making our lives present and the world of today there take part in

Finally, the way indicated as with no exit makes it possible to meet the
One who says to humanity: "I am the Way - I am the Door - No one goes to
the Father except through me."

The words of Jesus take an incomparable density in the life of the
Carthusian monk, and more still the day when he becomes priest, since,
by his silent ministry, he introduces all humanity by this Door which is
the Sacrifice of Christ.

This way, the existence of the Carthusian priest reminds all the other
priests engaged directly in the service of the Christian communities
that the offering of oneself is included in the presidency of the
Eucharist. Each priest is itself "host" in the very act when he presides
for the service of the community. And this is why it is led to revive in
its own person the mystery of the slain Lamb which gives its life in the
gift of itself to men and in the filiality open to the being of the Father.

This way to become priest evacuates any risk of "officialism" because
the call to a dedication of all his being is a part of ordination, and
one of its essential components. On this point, I do not feel the need
to express differently what you wrote:

"If the Carthusian priest does not have an external ministry, it is to
enter more deeply into the heart of this mystery. He must endorse in a
special way the universality of the sacrifice of Jesus. The complete
offering of the Carthusian monk, by perpetual consecration to Christ,
allows a greater interiorization and a deeper intimate union to Christ,
Priest and Victim, who assumes it in his. The life of contemplation and
oration of the Carthusian monk, acquires a renewed ecclesial value from
it. It must be an overflow of the overflowing charity of Jesus, drawn
from the identification of the priest to Christ offering himself by love
for us. This divine life will flood out in the Mystical Body of Christ,
like blood in the arteries of the body. The priest Carthusian monk has
the sublime and frightening mission, and the responsibility to
contribute to divinise the souls, in the secrecy of the Face of God, by
the power and the fervor of his interior life. This mission is all the
more urgent as the world bricks up a steel wall between the earth and
Heaven, and entangles itself in terrestrial realities. Thus, our
separation from the world, in solitude and silence, far from being a
contempt of the world, is a call with a more total dedication to God
alone, to let itself be invaded by the Spirit of love and light, for a
greater spiritual fruitfulness, for the benefit of the whole Church and

Finally, the Carthusian father, in the daily celebration of the
Eucharist, can endorse fully and particularly put to work these words
which the Council Vatican II addresses to all the priests: "the
spiritual gift that the priests received with ordination prepares them
not with a limited and restricted mission, but with a mission of
universal salvation, "till the confines of the world.""

This "mission of universal salvation", related to ordination, could let
escape the new Carthusian priest in a kind of mystical dream, far from
daily realities. This is why, by finishing your letter, you take care,
Christophe brother, of rooting this mission in your community of Portes,
with the Fathers and the Brothers quite alive who make it up. I let to
you say it to us:

"This ministry is expressed and concretized above all in the community
in which the priest Carthusian monk lives. The intimacy with the Lord is
an invitation with an interior transformation, to reproduce in the heart
of the priest, in my heart, the very face of Christ. I must let It
radiate in me while applying myself to the service of my brothers and
community, reflect the image of the Good Shepherd who gives his life for
his ewes, to express his infinite mercy and his kindness. All my life
must conform to the mystery of the cross of the Lord to be a true
witness of the Redemption. Only the power of the Holy Spirit, which will
consecrate me and will confer to me the sacerdotal grace, can achieve
such an oeuvre, which is that of Christ Himself. I beseech Him, thanks
to your prayers, and with the intercession of the Virgin Mary and all
the saints, to let me be "as an added humanity in which it renews all
His mystery". "[...]

Carthusian Reflections

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