on the forthcoming solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 15, 2012), as usual, we shall celebrate World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of the Clergy .
The expression found in Scripture “This is the will of God: your holiness!” (1 Thess 4:3), though addressed to all Christians, refers to us priests in particular, for we have accepted the invitation to “sanctify ourselves” and to become “ministers of sanctification” for our brothers.
In our case, this “will of God” is, so to speak, doubled and multiplied to infinity, and we must obey it in everything we do. This is our wonderful destiny: we cannot be sanctified without working on the holiness of our brothers, and we cannot work on the holiness of our brother s unless we have first worked on and continue to work on our own holiness.
Ushering the Church into the new millennium, the Blessed John Paul II reminded us that this “ideal of perfection”, which must be offered to everyone , is normal indeed: “To ask catechumens: ‘Do you wish to receive Baptism?’ means at the same time to ask them: ‘Do you wish to become holy?’” 1
On the day of our Priestly Ordination the same baptismal question surely resounded in our heart, calling for a personal answer; but it was also entrusted to us so that we might address it to the faithful, cherishing its beauty and preciousness.
This does not mean that we are not aware of our personal shortcomings, or of the faults committed by some who have brought shame upon the priesthood before the world.