The vocation and mission received on the day of his ordination mark him
Since it is ultimately Christ who acts and effects salvation
through the ordainedminister, the unworthiness of the latter does not
prevent Christ from acting.
St. Augustine states this forcefully:
As for the proud minister, he is to be ranked with the devil.
Christ’s gift is not thereby profaned: what flows through him
keeps its purity, and what passes through him remains clear
and reaches the fertile earth. . . . The spiritual power of the
sacrament is indeed comparable to light: those to be enlight-
ened receive it in its purity, and if it should pass through
defiled beings, it is not itself defiled.
The grace of the Holy Spirit
The grace of the Holy Spirit proper to this sacrament is
configuration to Christ as Priest, Teacher, and Pastor, of whom the
ordained is made a minister.
For the bishop, this is first of all a grace of strength (“the
governing spirit”: Prayer of Episcopal Consecration in the Latin
the grace to guide and defend his Church with strength and
prudence as a father and pastor, with gratuitous love for all and a
preferential love for the poor, the sick, and the needy. This grace
impels him to proclaim the Gospel to all, to be the model for his
flock, to go before it on the way of sanctification by identifying
himself in the Eucharist with Christ the priest and victim, not
fearing to give his life for his sheep:
Father, you know all hearts.
You have chosen your servant for the office of bishop.
May he be a shepherd to your holy flock,
and a high priest blameless in your sight,
ministering to you night and day;
may he always gain the blessing of your favor
and offer the gifts of your holy Church.
Through the Spirit who gives the grace of high priesthood
grant him the power
to forgive sins as you have commanded,
to assign ministries as you have decreed,
and to loose from every bond by the authority which you
gave to your apostles.
May he be pleasing to you by his gentleness and purity of heart,
76 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1612; DS 1154.
77 St. Augustine,
In Jo. ev.
5, 15: PL 35, 1422.
Ordination of Bishops 26, Prayer of Consecration; cf.
CD 13; 16.