Men discerning a vocation need to know what the Priesthood is and also what Priests do. Fr. Brett A Brannen in his book “To Save a Thousand Souls,” has a very good explanation in chapter two which is well worth reading and studying.
He uses two Latin terms, in persona Christi Capitis and ex opere operato. The first term means that the Priest acts in the Person of Christ. The Priest always uses the first person when he speaks in administering the Sacraments. When he baptizes he says: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” During the words of Consecration at Mass he says: “Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you.” Finally in the words of Absolution the Priest says: “I absolve you from your sins…” These three examples show the Priest acting in the person of Christ.
The second Latin terms ex opera operato means the ‘sacraments confer the grace they signify, regardless of the virtue of the priest (or recipient) of the sacrament.” page 26 To Save a Thousand Souls. As long as the Priest is validly ordained and is using the correct matter (bread and wine for Mass for example), the sacraments are always valid whether the Priest is a Saint or a sinner.
It is important to learn about what Priests are and what they do. This information will assist you to discern your vocation and to discover what God wants you to be.
Kind regards and God bless
Fr. Eamon Kennedy
23rd May 2014