On My Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Priesthood

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Misa San Gregorio.jpg

I was ordained a priest on November 16, 1986.
Looking back over the twenty-five years of priesthood
that Our Lord has given me,
I have but one desire: to give them all back to Him.

I give them back to Him to be purified and sanctified.
I would hold each one of these twenty-five years
under the torrent of Blood and of Water that flows from His Open Side.
I would surrender each one of them to the purifying fire of the Holy Ghost.
I would give each one of these twenty-five years
to His Immaculate Mother,
the Woman to whom my whole life belongs.

One's anniversary of priesthood
-- so many years of Mass, anni di messa, the Italians rightly call it,
is a bittersweet commemoration.
Bitter, because of the sins
that have marred the beauty of it all that could have been,
and sweet, because the Mercy of God leaves no bitterness in Its wake.

I detest and regret those sins of mine
that have marred my priesthood
and disfigured the adorable Face of Jesus
in the sight of men.
I pray for tears to weep over the wrong that I have done,
and over the good that I have left undone.

This twenty-fifth anniversary of my priesthood is, in some way,
like a preview of the particular judgment that awaits me
at the hour of my death, whenever, wherever, and however it comes.
It is a searchlight leaving no corner in darkness,
no sin disguised as something that it is not.

Made bold by Saint Benedict's injunction,
"Never to despair of the mercy of God,"
I beg Jesus to repair whatever harm I may have done to souls.
I implore Him for those whom I have alienated
from the light of His Face and the embrace of His Spouse, the Church.
I beseech Him to comfort those whom I have afflicted,
to sanctify those who looked to me for holiness
and found a stumbling block instead.
I ask Him to give joy to those whom I have saddened.

I kiss His wounded feet,
I weep over them,
lay hold of them
and will not let them go
until nothing remains of the evil I have done,
until all that I so regret
is swept away, utterly dissolved, in the tide of His Blood.

What is my prayer after twenty-five years of Mass?
It is this:

"Convert Thou me entirely, O my beloved Jesus,
that I may live every moment
--up to and including the very moment of my death--
with my eyes fixed on Thine adorable Face,
and with my heart hidden
in Thy piercèd Heart.

Thou hast called me to be the priest-adorer
of Thy Eucharistic Face;
make me, I pray Thee,
what Thou hast called me to be.
Let me so love Thee and adore Thee
that I may be for Thine afflicted Heart
the consoling friend for whom Thou hast waited so long.

Leave me not alone,
never forsake me,
so that I may never leave Thee alone,
and never forsake Thee.
Fix my vagrant heart before Thy tabernacle,
--before the one where Thou art least adored and most forgotten--
that I may persevere in a watch of adoration, of reparation, and of love
before Thy Eucharistic Face.

What can I give Thee
that Thou hast not given me?
Give Thou, then, to me superabundantly
so that I may give back to Thee superabundantly.

Give Thou me, I beseech Thee,
but a spark of Thine own blazing zeal for the glory of the Father;
let it consume me entirely
as a holocaust to the praise of His glory.

Give Thou me, I beseech Thee,
a share in Thy spousal love for the Church,
Thy Bride in heaven and on earth.
Like Thee, with Thee, in Thee,
let me lay down my life for her.

Give Thou me, I beseech Thee,
Thine own Heart's filial love for Thine Immaculate Mother,
that I may love her
as Thou wouldst have me love her;
that I might serve her
with a devotion that is true, and pure, and constant.

Give Thou me, I beseech Thee, the tender compassion
with which Thou wouldst have me care for souls,
that in my care for them
they may experience the solicitude of Thy Sacred Heart.

Twenty-five years ago,
by the laying-on of hands,
Thou didst make me Thy priest forever.
Renew in my soul,
I humbly entreat Thee
the grace of that Holy Sacrament and of that blessed day.
Make me, if possible, more Thy priest today
than I have ever been before.

Ratify and confirm me
in the ineffable grace of real participation
in the Mystery of the Cross where Thou art Priest and Victim.
Burn more deeply into my soul
the indelible character of Thy priesthood,
and, in that same fire, consume and destroy
all that dims, obstructs, or impedes its glorious radiance,
so that the light of Thy sacrifice may shine before men,
and its healing power go forth from me
as it went forth from Thee,
for Thou, O merciful Saviour,
hast made me Thy priest forever.

A thousand thousand lifetimes
would be too little time
to thank Thee, to bless Thee, to praise Thee
for so immeasurable a gift.
Give me then, when Thou callest me to Thyself,
an eternity in which to praise Thee beyond the veil
where, for the moment,Thou art hidden
in the glory of the Father
and in the brightness of the Holy Ghost.
Amen.

14 Comments

Happy Anniversary!!!! What is the date?

Dear Father Mark,

Ad multos annos!

Blessings to you and your brethren on this beautiful day. I promise to remember you in my prayer today.

With gratitude to you for your fidelity and for the many wonderful postings you offer to us,

In Xto,

Bailey Walker
Falls Church, Virginia

Dear Father,

Congratulations on this your 25th ! Very beautiful posts. I have a second mass this afternoon and you will have a special place in my poor prayers. Mass is followed with adoration, so prayers will be offered for you.

May God bless you and keep you !

Pax et Gaudium ! Ad multos annos !

Ad multos annos indeed Fr Mark. I'll make a memento in Holy Mass for you tomorrow.

Your writings and podcasts have led many souls closer to Christ. You are a dear man and true Father.
Scott

We join you from afar in your celebration. Know our humble prayers are offered in thanksgiving for your vocation. May you continue to see His face in every one you serve and may the brightness you long to see keep you ever strong, ever humble, and ever filled with joy.

Charles, Jen, and family

Fr. Mark,

Congratulations on 25 years! Thank you for the insight to give everything back to him, to surrender it all to our Lord. I appreciate your devotion!

May St. Gertrude continue to protect you! I have a lot of good intentions on visiting you again back in Tulsa! I hope you are well. Oremus pro invicem!

In Christo per Mariam,

Fr. James Melnick
Diocese of Little Rock

Dear Father Mark,

Happy Anniversary, and many more!

I read you, and I pray for you, and I thank the Lord that the good things can come from the internet.
Your ministry is wonderful, and your blog posts help me (re)focus my sight on "the things above"; it is a refuge from the world and its uproar.
Thank you always.
Gratefully,
Agnieszka

Congratulations!
Thank you for the comfort and inspiration of your writing!
Mariana

Dear D. Kirby,

Ad multos annos!

Father, I just wanted to offer my congratulations, and gratitude for your twenty-five years of holy priesthood. May God grant many more!

Your writings are so inspirational to me, and I have downloaded all of your podcasts as well. Thank you for sharing these treasures.

May God truly make you a Saint!

In Christ,
Patricia

+Dear Father Marc Daniel,
At the beginning of this year the remembrance card of your ordination to the priesthood migrated from my Graduale Triplex to my breviary so I could follow you each day in prayer. All the sisters here send their congratulations and have also been remembering you in prayer. You will always be one of the "Fathers" of this small community. May God's Mother carry you in her arms. We humbly beg for your blessing.

In His Mother,
Sister Antonette, writing for Mother Abbess and all the sisters

Congratulations, Father! May our All-Merciful God grant you, through the intercession of the Holy Theotokos, that the Holy Spirit continue renewing in you the mysteries of our Lord Jesus Christ through the grace of priesthood.

In Christ,

FD

Father Mark,
Tanti Auguri. Grazie per tutto quello che ha fatto per la mia povera anima. Deo Gratias.

Your Blog has helped me so much, introduced me to Saints and Holy People of God that I would never have encountered. Thank you for Loving the Good Lord so much and His Blessed Mother, we feel your radiance. Through your prayers and your words. We delight in His Mercy!

Ad Multos Annos.

In Amor Christi

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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