Priesthood: April 2013 Archives

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In the following passage from The Dialogue of Saint Catherine of Siena with the Eternal Father, God the Father addresses the clergy wallowing in sin. He contrasts the body of the priest with the Body of Christ. Notice how the text echoes the Reproaches (Improperia) of the Good Friday liturgy. "I did this for you . . . and you have done this in return." The focus on the wounds of Jesus and on His Precious Blood are characteristic of Saint Catherine.

The Flesh of the Priest, Anointed and Consecrated
O despicable, wretched man, not man but beast! That you should give your flesh, anointed and consecrated to Me, to prostitutes and worse! By the wounded Body of My only-begotten Son on the wood of the most holy cross, your flesh and that of the whole human race was healed of the wound Adam dealt it by his sin. O wretch! He honored you and you disgrace Him! He healed your wounds with His Blood, and more, He made you His minister, and you persecute Him with your lustful dishonorable sins! The Good Shepherd washed the little sheep clean in His Blood. But you defile those who are pure. You use your power to hurl them into the dung heap. You who ought to be a mirror of honor are a mirror of dishonor. You have yielded all your members to the works of wickedness, doing the opposite of what My Truth did for you.
The Eyes of the Priest
I allowed them to blindfold His eyes to enlighten you, and you with your lustful eyes shoot poisoned arrows into your own soul and the hearts of those you look on so miserably.
The Tongue of the Priest
I let them give Him vinegar and gall to drink, and you like a perverse beast find your pleasure in delicate foods, making a god of your belly. On your tongue are dishonorable empty words. It is your duty with that tongue to admonish your neighbors, to proclaim My word, and to say the Office with your heart as well as your tongue. But I smell nothing but filth coming from your tongue as you swear and perjure yourself as you were a swindling hoodlum, blaspheming me right and left.
The Hands of the Priest
I let them bind My Sons hands to free you and the whole of mankind from the bondage of sin, and anointed and consecrated your hands for the ministry of the Most Holy Sacrament, and you use your hands for wretched obscene touching. All the actions you express through your hands are corrupt and directed to the devil's service. O wretch! And I appointed you to such dignity so that you might serve Me alone--you and every other rational creature.

The following section is especially beautiful. The Father presents the Body of His Son as stairway leading to Himself. He speaks of the open Side of Jesus through which one sees His inmost Heart. The Heart of Jesus is a hostelry open to those who seek to taste the Father's unspeakable love.

The Feet of the Priest

I willed that my Son's feet should be nailed, and made His Body a stairway for you. I let them open His Side so that you might see His inmost Heart. I set Him like an open hostelry where you could see and taste My unspeakable love for you when you found and saw My divinity united with your humanity. There you see that I have made the Blood-- of which you are a steward for Me--to be a bath to wash away your sins. And you have made of your heart a temple for the devil! And your will, of which your feet are a symbol, you use to offer me nothing but filth and abuse. The feet of your will carry you nowhere except to the devil's haunts. So with your whole body you persecute My Son's Body by doing the opposite of what He did and what you and everyone else are bound and obligated to do.

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Painting: Regnault, Henri, Castilian Mountain Shepherd,1868, Oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Pau

For Good Shepherd Sunday

Tomorrow, in the traditional liturgy, is Good Shepherd Sunday. How can we not pray, in a special way, for the shepherds whom Christ has set over His flock in the Church? There are stalwart shepherds, heroic in protecting the sheep, and ever-ready to go in search of the lost lamb. There are also weary shepherds, discouraged shepherds, and shepherds who have lost their way in the mist.

Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, in supplication for the sanctification of priests and in reparation for the sins that disfigure the Face of Christ the Priest in the eyes of the world, is at the heart of Silverstream Priory's mission in the Church. I am close to our Oblates, to our friends, and to the many others who are united with us in prayer. Some of you spend time before the Most Blessed Sacrament; others pray in their homes at different hours of the day and night. Still others offer their work and family life in union with our adoration. You may find this prayer helpful:

Lord Jesus Christ,
I adore Thee who art truly present here before me,
[or, in the tabernacles of Thy churches]
with all the love of my heart,
and with an immense sorrow for having offended Thee,
again and again, by all my sins.
Mindful of Thy priests in need,
I lift them up into the light of Thy Eucharistic Face,
and offer them to the fire of Thy Eucharistic Heart,
there to be illumined, warmed, and purified.

Draw them all to Thyself,
that Thou mayest hold them in the embrace of Thy Divine Friendship,
and, so, sanctify them unto Thy Father's glory
and for Thy Bride, the Church.
Save and preserve Thy priests under demonic attack.
Comfort those engaged in spiritual combat.
Raise those who have fallen.
Bring back those who have strayed.
Bind up the wounds of those who have been injured in their souls.

Be Thou a Good Shepherd, tender, merciful, and ever-loving
to Thy poor shepherds who have lost their way.
Let not one of them remain in darkness,
far from Thee, and forgetful of Thy Most Holy Mother.

Send Thy Holy Angels to Thy priests in danger,
in temptation, in darkness, and in despair,
and let not one of them fall prey to the wiles of the Evil One,
or remain in a state of impenitence.

Save all Thy priests, O Jesus,
for they are Thy chosen friends,
and each one is precious in Thy sight,
even when he has fallen into the worst sins against Thee,
harming souls, and bringing sorrow and shame upon Thy Church.
Save them all! Let not one of Thy beloved priests be lost,
that Thy Church may say in all truth, and with a holy joy:
"To me, O God, Thy friends are made exceedingly honourable."
Amen.

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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