1 Peter 2:9 Says we're all priests... What does this mean?


For us who haven't received Holy orders, how can we be priests?

Thanks, and God Bless!


Exodus 19: 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.

1 Peter 2: 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Peter is quoting Exodus. Everyone who is in the covenant serves a priestly role in virtue of being equipped to be God's messenger to the nations. But we also know that the Jews had a Levitical Priesthood and a High Priest, something that was only reserved for certain people.


Catechism of the Catholic Church #1268 "1268 The baptized have become "living stones" to be "built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood." By Baptism they share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission. They are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that [they] may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [them] out of darkness into his marvelous light." Baptism gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers."

As you can see, the Church teaches that there is a common priesthood of all believers that have been baptized. Through Baptism into union with Christ, we share in his Priesthood, Prophecy, and Kingship. Then, there is a special identification with that Priesthood, the ministerial priesthood, given through the sacraments of Holy Orders, whereby one in endowed to act in the person of Christ and consecrate the Eucharist, absolve people, etc etc.

So there is a common priesthood of the Baptized, and a ministerial priesthood.


Have you ever prayed the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy?

In it we say: "Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ." We follow this with another prayer: "For the sake of his sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world." When you say this prayer you are offering the value of Christ's sacrifice which you partake of through the Eucharist and share by means of your sufferings on behalf of this sins of the world.

We also do this if we make a morning offering like members of the Apostleship of Prayer do.

We pray for the world, preach to the world, forgive the world. All these things are the actions of an intermediary--a priesthood.

We, as members of the Body of Christ, are an offering in and of our own selves. As it is written in Romans 12:2:

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.

This offering is not our sinful selves but is Christ in us. With this understanding, St. Paul viewed even his suffering as connecting with the everlasting value of Christ's Passion being lived out in his own time, writing:

I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church.--Colossians 1:24.

Now the apostle was not saying that the sufferings of Christ were not enough to save the world and thus required the sufferings of other members of his mystical body, like those of Paul's. On the contrary, St. Paul was saying that since we are baptized into Christ we become Christ to the world making our sufferings His. Since His sufferings have redeeming value then by extension ours do too.

It was predestined from eternity that the Christ would suffer for all humanity. This offering was not bound by time or place but continues in the offering of the Eucharist at Mass. But not only through the hands of ordained priests does this happen. It happens more often though us who save the world by our sharing in Christ's Passion along the way of living out our lives.

And since we share in the Passion, we share in the offering. And if we share in the offering then we are all priests whether we literally suffer with Christ or we offer the value of this sacrifice by our ministry in the many ways we offer Christ to others.


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

1547 The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, "each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ." While being "ordered one to another," they differ essentially.22 In what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace - a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit - ,the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. the ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders


In addition to what others have said (and someone correct me if I am wrong), a priest offers sacrifice. The ordained priesthood in the person of Christ the High Priest offers the sacrifice of Christ the Victim, which is the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

But we are all called to offer ourselves as an acceptable sacrifice to God in union with that Sacrifice:

Romans 12 [1]I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.


In the New Covenant there is one Priesthood. Jesus Christ.

The Bishops share in that Ministerial Priesthood of Jesus' quite deeply.

Ordained Priests share in this priesthood too, but to a "lesser" extent than Bishops.

All Baptized Christians also share in Christ's Priesthood (but differently or "lesser" than the ordained Priests and Bishops). You and I are priests in this sense (the Priesthood of all the faithful of "the priesthood of all believers"). This is sometimes called "the common priesthood".

All of these below share to a different extent in the one Priesthood of Jesus Christ
*]Baptized (The "Common Priesthood")

1 Peter 2:9 draws on this ancient concept from the Old Covenant and applies it to the New. Now instead of based on nationality it is based upon Jesus Christ and brought to its fulfillment.

1 Peter 2:9 refers to the priesthood of all believers.

CCC 1141 The celebrating assembly is the community of the baptized who, "by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, that through all the works of Christian men they may offer spiritual sacrifices."9 This "common priesthood" is that of Christ the sole priest, in which all his members participate:10

[INDENT]Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy, and to which the Christian people, "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people," have a right and an obligation by reason of their Baptism.11[/INDENT]

Bold CCC above mine


Thanks everyone for your great answers!

God Bless!


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