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34. The Sacrament of Orders

1. Orders, or holy orders as it is more generally called,is the sacrament by which bishops, priests, and deacons are giventhe power to perform their sacred functions.

2. Peter the Lombard defines the sacrament of orders as:"A seal of the Church by which spiritual power is conferred onthe person ordained." Rightly understood, this is a gooddescription of orders. The sacrament is a sign or seal. It is"of the Church" in the sense that Christ instituted itand consigned it to the Church for administering; our Lord did thiswith all the sacraments; hence it is common to hear the expression,"the sacraments of the Church," even though the Churchcannot institute or abrogate any sacrament. The definition of Peterthe Lombard indicates the effect of this sacrament in therecipient, namely, spiritual power.

3. A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ,while he was here on earth before his Ascension into heaven, whichboth signifies and confers an inward grace. The sacrament of orderssquares with this definition. It is therefore a true sacrament.

4 & 5. This sacrament is conferred by the imposing of thebishop's hands upon the recipient (this constitutes thematter of the sacrament) followed by prescribed prayers(the form) which indicate the meaning of the matter orsign, and constitute it a sacrament.

"This is the greatest wisdom -- to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"A person who rails at God in adversity, suffers without merit; moreover by his lack of resignation he adds to his punishment in the next life and experiences greater disquietude of mind in this life."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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