The scientist and statesman, Enrico Medi (1911-1974), once expressed the expectations of lay people in a fiery open letter to priests:
“I am not a priest, nor have I ever even been worthy enough to be an altar boy.
“I have always wondered how you manage to stay alive after saying Mass. Every day you hold GOD in your hands. As the great king, St. Louis of France, used to say : ‘You have in your hands the King of Heaven and at your feet an earthly king.’
“Every day you receive a power that the archangel Saint Michael does not have. With your words you transform the substance of a piece of bread into the Body of Jesus Christ in person. YOU FORCE GOD TO DESCEND TO EARTH! YOU ARE PRODIGIOUS! YOU ARE AWESOME CREATURES! THE MOST POWERFUL THAT CAN EXIST! One can say that those who say that you possess angelic powers, in a certain sense, say too little.
“Priests, we implore you: BE HOLY! If you are holy, we are saved; if you are not holy, we are lost. Priests! We want you to be at the feet of the altar. For building things, factories, newspapers, work, for running here and there…. ‒ we [lay people] are capable of all that. But for making Christ present and forgiving sins, YOU ALONE are capable.
“Be close to the altar: go and accompany THE LORD. Let your daily round be prayer and the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle and prayer. This is what we need. Our Lord is alone and has been abandoned. Churches only get filled, so to speak, when Mass is celebrated. Yet Jesus is present there all twenty-four hours a day and calls souls. To all, to us but especially to you, the priest, he says continually: “ Keep me company. Say a word to me. Give me a smile. Remember that I love you. Just say “My Love, I dearly love you”: I will fill you with every consolation and with every strength”.
“Priests, talk to us about GOD! Just as Jesus, Paul the Apostle, Benedict of Nursia, Francis Xavier, little Saint Thérèse used to speak.
“THE WORLD NEEDS GOD! We want GOD, GOD, GOD!”