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Jean-Jacques Olier. 1608 - 1657 AD

Jean-Jacques Olier

1608 - 1657 AD

Note. Olier knew St. Francis of Sales and St. Vincent de Paul personnaly. He himself exercised a great influence on his contemporaries as founder of the Seminary and priestly Society of St.Sulpice in 1641 AD. The seminary not only sent apostolic priests into all parts of France, but became the model according to which seminaries were founded throughout the country and abroad. Its rules, approved by the General Assembly of the Clergy in 1651, were adopted in many new diocesan seminaries.

Texts quoted in French by Réné Laurentin (in Maria, Ecclesia, Sacerdotium, Nouvelles Éditions Latines, Paris 1952, pp. 278-282; 360-377) and translated into English by John Wijngaards.

Fr. Olier at a procession

Mary fulfilled the functions of the priesthood

“Mary as a child of three [in the temple of Jerusalem] renewed her vows of victim and servant with an even greater love . . . than she had done in the sacred temple of Anne’s womb . . .
“ In the temple of Jerusalem she assisted at the sacrifices of the Old Covenant and, more enlightened than the priests . . . saw, adored and contemplated Jesus Christ under all these symbols since she was already without knowing it performing the holy functions of the priesthood which she would have to exercise on Calvary.
For there the Father associated her with Jesus Christ, priest of the exalted sacrifice which she must offer with him on Calvary. . . and communicated to her the priestly spirit in an eminent manner”. Vie intérieure de la très sainte Vierge, 1650 (?), ed. Migne 1856, c. 3,1-3.

Mary acted as confirming bishop at the Visitation

“At this feast, the Blessed Virgin performed two principal functions of Jesus’ apostles: she carries knowledge of Jesus Christ to St. Elizabeth and sanctifies the soul of St. John [the Baptist]. ‘Teach all nations and baptise them’, Jesus Christ ordered his apostles. ‘Teach them’. It indicates the faith and the light which they have to carry everywhere. ‘Baptise them’. This signifies the sanctification of souls. It is true that the Blessed Virgin’s words had the effect in John of the sacramental words of baptism, sanctifying him and doing even more, . . . namely what confirmation brings about in the hearts of Christians who, illuminated by reason, receive the fulness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit who illumines them and takes possession of them, who guides them and consumes them in perfection and fulness of holy love.
The Blessed Virgin, as Bishop in the Church, sanctified the son of the highpriest Zachariah. She sanctified St. John and through the imposition of her power, using her right as Mother of God and spouse of the Father, she imprinted the Holy Spirit on St. John . . . ” Recueil, manuscript in Saint Sulpice, Paris, Rue du Regard, p. 64.

Mary acted as a priest at the Presentation in the Temple

“Simeon predicted something which she had not learnt of so far, namely that the pains and the sufferings which had been foretold by the prophets would affect herself, and that the saim suffering that had to kill this victim [=Jesus Christ] would also kill the priest who presented him that day in the Temple, namely herself.” Recueil, manuscript in Saint Sulpice, Paris, Rue du Regard, p.80.

Mary offered Christ on Calvary

“Mary was destined to form with her divine Son but one victim of expiation and one same sacrifice of praise . . . ” (c. 9,5)
“In her quality of the New Eve, while the universal sacrifice is offered on the Cross in the person of Jesus Christ, the most holy Virgin on her part offered this divine victim for people, and felt herself too charged with their sins and obliged to make satisfaction for their sins.” (c. 12,3) Vie intérieure de la très sainte Vierge.

Deacons and priests find a model in Mary

“Deacons who offer the sacrifice with the priests, should contemplate the Blessed Virgin on Calvary offering with Jesus the victim of redemption.
Priests will emulate the Blessed Virgin who herself offered her Son to God through her hands, in the Temple at the mystery of the Purification.” Recueil, manuscript in Saint Sulpice, Paris, Rue du Regard, p.101.

Mary is a priest ‘in Jesus Christ’

[Instructions regarding a painting of the Presentation scene in the seminary chapel.] “ . . . One should write the followings words on it: ‘Christ who is priest in the Virgin offers himself as a victim to God the Father through her hands. May the life of the most Blessed Virgin, priest in Jesus Christ, reign in this house until when, during all eternity, we shall be consumed in her while offering in her and with her the Son of God to the Father . . . .’
One could put these words over the entrance to the chapel: ‘Dedicated to the priesthood of the Blessed Virgin’.” Mémoires pour servir à la vie de Monsieur Olier, manuscript of Saint Sulpice, Rue du Regard, vol 4, p. 348.

Mary is the Queen of priests

“One should honour the Blessed Virgin as the Queen of the clergy, a quality acquired by birth through her primary grandeur as spouse of the eternal Father. Mary manfiests all the zeal which a spouse should have for the glory of her husband. Therefore the eternal Father has given her the clergy as her members and subjects, as persons who should be consumed continually in works of zeal for his glory.” Journée chrétienne, Paris, vol. 2, col. 233.

Mary possessed the spirit of the priesthood, even though she lacked the sacramental character

“This divine Mother, though filled with the fulness of the spirit of the priesthood, did not possess its [sacramental] character and thus could not by herself exercise the priestly functions.” Extrait VII, Oeuvres, Paris, Migne col, 1106.

Though lacking the visible priesthood, Mary possessed its spirit

“God has willed that, though the his mother was not present at the last supper to offer the sacrifice and to be visibly made a priest according to the order of Melchisedech, she was in the room of the last supper [at Pentecost] to receive there the spirit and grace of the apostolic ministry, to teach the Church that she will never be renewed except through association with and participation in Mary’s spirit, a spirit which she received in fulness . . . ” Recueil, manuscript in Saint Sulpice, Paris, Rue du Regard, p. 104.

Though lacking the external deputation of priestly ordination, Mary was a priest interiorly

“Her superior quality and her gender did not allow God to call the Blessed Virgin to a mystery which only men could offer externally and to which only men could be deputed by the Church. Although she was a woman, the Blessed Virgin carried all the invisible grace of the apostles and priests in herself. She had already been anointed with the fulness of grace. She had already publicly fulfilled the function of a priest in Jerusalem when she offered him in human form and not as sacrament, and when she offered him later on Calvary, since the sacrifice needed to reflect her own property. And if she was absent at the last supper and did not offer the mystery under the sacramental signs as the apostles and priests according to the order of Melchisedech do, she offered it interiorly through the universal spirit and fulness of grace with which Jesus Christ had filled her.” Recueil, manuscript in Saint Sulpice, Paris, Rue du Regard, p. 230.

Mary occupies the highest hierarchical rank in the priesthood

“It is a general rule which God observes, that even the top rank in any hierarchical order is always united to and dependent on the higher order. As we see among the angels where nature and grace are always linked and various [hierarchical] orders are related to each other, in the same way Our Lord linked the clergy as a lower hierarchical order to the most Holy Virgin who is the only one to belong to a higher order, using both nature and grace. He made her to be born, in nature from the tribe of Levi, the family of priests, and he made her enter soon almost immediately at birth into the ministry of the priesthood . . . .
There is no status or hierarchical order among the clergy that does not see the Blessed Virgin exercising its own ministry and she does nothing externally for which she did not possess the interior grace in abundance . . . .” Recueil, manuscript in Saint Sulpice, Paris, Rue du Regard, pp. 100-101.

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