Many people often skip over the introduction to a book, eager to get to the “meat” of the story. However, when done properly, the Introduction should get the reader excited to read the rest of the story. The introduction sets the stage for the book and encourages the reader to move ahead with an open mind and heart, allowing himself or herself to truly enter into the pages. Cardinal Dolan’s introduction does just that. It sets the scene of excitement for the priesthood, while Hahn delivers page after page, chapter after chapter of reinvigoration for the glory of the priesthood.
The early chapters take the reader through what it means to be a man and what it means to be a priest. This is expanded upon as Hahn gently reviews the Old Testament view and role of the priest, highlighting the book of Genesis, Exodus, Judges, Chronicles, and Kings drawing on the examples of Abraham, Noah, Moses, David, and others.
As the book progresses, Hahn speaks to the specific roles of the priest and how Christ changes, or rather fulfills, those roles during His life and ministry. He illustrates how those who are called to the priesthood in the early days of the Church as well as today continue to fulfill the role of the priest as mediator, provider, teacher and other traits God has given to men.
This book dissects the meaning of the word “father” and how our priests live up to that name through their spiritual fatherhood and their teaching through word and example. It excites the reader by giving examples of courageous and heroic priests on literal battlefields in war and those spiritual wars fought in our parishes. The book explores the wisdom and counsel of priests both in the early Church and today, turning the readers’ attention to the glory of the priesthood.
One of the most intriguing chapters notes the complementarity of marriage and the priesthood, highlighting the beauty of priestly celibacy. As a former married Protestant minister, Hahn explains his personal experience with “balancing” devotion to two spouses—his wife and his congregation. He also states that it is through his vocation of marriage that he has come to a great appreciation for priestly celibacy. Drawing on God’s plan for men through creation and the complete gift of self He calls all men to, Hahn explains that neither vocation devalues the other, but they compliment each other.
Hahn delivers, once again, a real, readable, relatable look into the beauty of Christ’s Church, namely the priesthood of Jesus Christ. I would recommend this book for anyone, especially someone considering a vocation to priesthood. It is not limited to those individuals, however. This book can be of great use to the lay faithful who, after years of scandal and attacks on the priesthood, need a reminder of the true beauty and glory of Christ’s priesthood and those He calls to share in it.
Some notable quotes:
“In the priest, we come to see fatherhood that goes beyond the biological dimension. In a mortal man, we encounter a priesthood whose offering is eternal”
“The Almighty, after all, can give himself as simple bread. It’s no trouble for him to send his Word by way of the simplest words, even when they’re stammered out and stumbled over.”