Recently in Spiritual Motherhood for Priests Category

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Dimanche, 21 octobre 2012
Monastère Saint-Jacques
Homélie prononcée à l'occasion du jubilé de 60 ans de profession monastique
dans la Congrégation des Bénédictines de Jésus Crucifié
de Mère Jeanne-Françoise de l'Assomption

Ma très chère mère,
il y a soixante ans,
vous vous êtes donnée à Jésus crucifié,
en lui disant: Suscipe me, Domine,
c'est à dire, "Reçois-moi, Seigneur;
prends-moi avec toi sur la croix;
unis-moi à ton sacrifice au Père;
fais de moi une seule offrande
livrée au feu de l'Esprit-Saint
sur l'autel de ton Coeur."

Et le Seigneur vous a répondu:
"Je te reçois comme épouse:
tout ce qui est à moi sera désormais à toi;
je te prends avec moi dans tous mes mystères.

Avec toi, je partagerai ma grande Passion;
avec toi, je partagerai mes profondes plaies;
avec toi, je partagerai mon effusion de sang,
ma mort soufferte dans toutes les amertumes,
ma descente aux enfers,
mon réveil au matin de la résurrection,
mon regard tout illuminé par le regard de mon Père,
mon ascension à sa droite dans la gloire,
et ma vie cachée, humble, silencieuse
dans le Sacrement de mon amour.

Tout ceci est à toi
parce que tu es à moi,
et rien ne te séparera plus de mon amour."

De même, il y a soixante ans,
vous vous êtes adressée au Père en lui disant:
Fiat mihi secundum Verbum tuum.
Et il y a quarante ans, vous m'avez expliqué un jour
au Prieuré Saint-Paul
que vous teniez à ce que le mot Verbum
de votre dévise
soit écrit avec le majuscule.
Par cela, vous vouliez signifier
qu'en qualité d'épouse de Jésus crucifié,
vous vouliez être configurée à lui,
rendue semblable au Verbe,
recevoir en vous-même
l'impression ineffaçable de sa sainte Face,
c'est à dire, de son visage tout tourné vers le Père,
de son visage douloureux,
et de son visage glorieux.

En effet, le mystère du visage du Christ,
le mystère de la sainte Face,
demeure au coeur de la vocation de toute épouse de Jésus crucifié.
Et ce visage nous est révélé aujourd'hui
dans la première lecture tirée du Chant du Serviteur,
ou, si vous voulez, de la Passion de Jésus-Christ selon le prophète Isaïe.

"Broyé par la souffrance,
le Serviteur a plu au Seigneur."
Fiat mihi, dites-vous,
secundum Verbum tuum.
--Qu'il me soit fait comme il fut fait au Verbe.
Et Isaïe continue, disant,
"Il a fait de sa vie un sacrifice d'expiation."
Et là encore, en tant qu'épouse de Jésus crucifié,
vous êtes obligée de répondre:
"Qu'il me soit fait comme il fut fait en ton Verbe,
à ton Verbe, et par ton Verbe."

L'expiation n'est autre chose que la réparation,
et qu'est-ce que la réparation sinon l'Amour qui répare,
l'Amour qui répare les dégâts du péché;
l'Amour qui rend pur ce qui a été souillé;
l'Amour qui rend la beauté à ce que le mal a défiguré;
l'Amour qui rend la vie en plénitude
aux âmes que le monde, et la chair, et l'Ennemi entraînent vers la mort.

Votre configuration à Jésus crucifié vous a ouverte, ma mère,
au mystère d'une grande fécondité surnaturelle.
Que de fois vous avez prié:
"Seigneur, je me livre à la puissance de ton amour fécond."
Toute mère reçoit la vie au-dedans d'elle même
pour la mettre au jour,
et puis, ayant mis au monde la vie,
elle dépense sa vie jour après jour,
heure après heure,
avec chaque battement de son coeur,
car le travail d'une mère va jusqu'à la mort,
et au-delà de la mort.
Votre ciel, ma mère, ne sera pas de tout repos,
car vous aurez du travail à faire sur la terre:
dans votre famille, dans votre Congrégation, et en moi.

Il ne faut pas s'étonner, chères soeurs,
de ce que le Seigneur ait répété à son épouse
les paroles qu'il a dites, en premier lieu,
par rapport à sa mère auprès de la croix:
"Femme, voici ton fils"; et puis, "Voici ta mère."

Jésus vous a appelé à la sponsalité et à la maternité.
Lui même n'est pas venu pour être servi, mais pour servir.
Vous, en tant qu'épouse et en tant que mère,
n'êtes pas venue pour être servie, mais pour servir.
Lui a donné sa vie en rançon pour la multitude,
et vous n'avez pas pu faire autrement,
car la vie donnée à la mère
est donnée pour être répandue,
pour être dépensée,
pour être transmise par amour.

Nous nous connaissons, ma mère, depuis quarante ans.
Lorsque je vous ai vue pour la première fois,
vous aviez 49 ans, et moi, j'en avais 21.
Aujourd'hui vous avez 60 ans de vie consacrée, de vie sponsale,
et moi, j'ai 60 ans de vie tout court.
En ceci, je me permets de voir un signe de la providence de Dieu.
C'est comme si votre vie et la mienne
-- votre vie d'épouse et de mère, et ma vie de prêtre --
étaient tressées ensemble par une main virginale
et par le vouloir d'un Coeur immaculé,
celui de Marie, Médiatrice de toutes grâces.

C'est ensemble, donc, pas seulement vous et moi,
mère et fils,
hostie et prêtre,
mais nous, unis à tous ceux qui nous entourent,
à Nanou, à Zizon, à Thérèse, à Florence,
unis à vos soeurs en communauté,
unis à tous ceux qui sont absents,
et unis à tous ceux qui nous ont précédés dans la mort,
que nous offrirons le Saint Sacrifice aujourd'hui.

Nous osons nous présenter devant l'autel
dans l'action de grâces et dans la joie,
parce que "le grand prêtre que nous avons
n'est pas incapable, lui, de partager nos faiblesses en toutes choses;
il a connu l'épreuve comme nous, et il n'a pas péché.
Avançons-nous donc avec pleine assurance
vers le Dieu tout-puissant qui fait grâce
pour obtenir miséricorde,
et recevoir, en temps voulu, la grâce de son secours."
Amen, Alleluia.


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Like most chaplets or repetitive prayers, this Offering of the Precious Blood for Priests is meant to be prayed quietly and gently as a way of "turning into prayer" (oratio), the Word of God received (lectio), and meditated (meditatio). This sort of prayer can, by the grace of God, lead one to a simple abiding in adoration in the presence of God (contemplatio).

Offering of the Precious Blood for Priests


This chaplet of reparation and intercession is meant to be prayed on an ordinary five decade rosary.

Incline (+) unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Alleluia. (After Septuagesima: Praise be to Thee, O Lord, King of eternal glory.)

On the Our Father beads:

Eternal Father, I offer Thee
the Precious Blood of Thy Beloved Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Lamb without blemish or spot (1 Peter 1:19)
in reparation for my sins
and for the sins of all Thy priests.

On the Hail Mary beads:

By Thy Precious Blood, O Jesus, purify and sanctify Thy priests.

In place of the Glory be to the Father:

O Father, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named (Ephesians 3:14), have mercy on all Thy priests, and wash them in the Blood of the Lamb.

To the Spiritual Mothers of Priests

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7 December 2011
Cathedral of the Holy Family
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Last evening, I was privileged to offer Holy Mass in the presence of the Spiritual Mothers of Priests of the Diocese of Tulsa. The Mass--of the Immaculate Conception--was offered in humble thanksgiving for my twenty-five years of priesthood. It marked, at the same time, the third anniversary of the beginning of the Spiritual Mothers of Priests in our diocese. A lovely reception followed. I am immensely grateful to the Spiritual Mothers of Priests of the Diocese of Tulsa for saying "Yes" with magnanimity to a special vocation that, while hidden, is bearing fruit in the lives and in the hearts of priests the world over.

A Song From the Womb

"Rejoicing, I will rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God. He has clothed me with the garment of salvation, and with the robe of justice He has wrapped me about, as a bride adorned with her jewels" (Is 61:10). A song intoned from the womb! The Church takes the jubilant words of the prophet Isaiah and places them in the mouth of the tiniest and most vulnerable of human creatures, an embryo implanted in the mothers womb, a human person, already full of grace: this is the Immaculate Conception. The mother is Saint Anne. The child full of grace will be named Mary.

Oh, the audacity of the sacred liturgy! The Immaculate Conception begins to sing in the cloister of the womb. If you would delight the heart of God, says little Mary, learn my song and sing with me. Nothing so ravishes the heart of God as the song of one very little, very vulnerable, very poor, and, at the same time, immensely great in the mind of God. Here is the immaculate child destined to crush the head of the ancient serpent. Here is the immaculate child lowly, poor, and inexpressibly rich in the mercy that clothes her like a garment and in a holiness that shines more brightly than a million galaxies in the firmament's darkest night.

Prelude to the Magnificat

"Gaudens, gaudebo in Domino." "Rejoicing, I will rejoice in the Lord." The melody of this evening's Introit soared pure as crystal in a kind of ecstatic cry of undiluted joy in God. Mary herself intoned the first chant of the Mass today: a kind of prelude to her Magnificat. Already -- just conceived -- the child Mary begins to sing, and the whole Church takes up her song. On no other feast of the year does the Virgin Mary open the Mass by singing in the first person singular. "Rejoicing, I will rejoice" (Is 61:10). Mary's message, from the first instant of her Immaculate Conception, is one of joy in God.

The Tree of the Cross

The joy of the Immaculate Conception springs from the mystery of the Cross. The Collect says that Mary was "preserved from all stain" in foresight of the death of Christ on the tree of the Cross. Yes, in foresight, for there was never a moment when Mary was not present in the mind of God: present to God in all her loveliness, in the immaculate splendor that would be hers because, from all eternity she was destined to be the all-holy Mother of God.

Conceived in the Mind of God

Given that Mary was conceived into a race rebellious and hostile to God, she too had to be redeemed, bought back from the bondage of Adam's progeny in this valley of tears. God, conceiving her in His mind, before she was conceived in the womb of Saint Anne, willed her, and saw her immaculate.

The Precious Blood of the Son

The Father, from all eternity, willed an Immaculate Mother for His Only-Begotten Son. Thus did the Father accept, in advance, the Precious Blood of the Son shed in His most bitter Passion, not in atonement for any sin of Mary's, but in order that by the power of that Blood, the very Blood formed for the Word by the power of the Holy Ghost in her virginal womb, Mary might enter the world pure and free, with a purity and freedom unknown in the world since the creation of Eve
Holy and Immaculate Before the Father

In the Collect we asked that, by Mary's intercession, we might come into the presence of God "with pure hearts." Saint Paul says that "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph 1:3) chose us in Christ "that we should be holy and immaculate before Him" (Eph 1:4). This standing before God in holiness contrasts with the fear of Adam and Eve who, upon hearing the sound of God in the garden, "hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden" (Gen 3:8). The naked Christ, exposed to the gaze of the Father on the tree of the Cross, casts out the fear that caused our first parents to make of the trees of the garden a screen between themselves and the Face of God. The first effect of the grace of Christ is that it makes us come into the presence of the Father, "free from fear" (Lk 1:73). "For you have not received the spirit of bondage in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: 'Abba, Father'" (Rom 8:15).

Blessed the Clean of Heart

In the Collect, we further asked that we might come unto God with clean hearts. "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8). Mary, the Immaculate Conception, is the Mother of the clean of heart. By her intercession, she obtains from Christ, again and again, the application of "the blood of his Cross" (Col 1:20) to every heart darkened and defiled by sin. The Collect inspires us to pray, specifically through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the poignant petition of King David: "A pure heart create for me, O God" (Ps 50:12). And you, dear spiritual mothers of priests, will you not make this same prayer for every priest as he ascends the altar to offer the Holy Sacrifice? "A pure heart create for him, Thy priest, O God."

The Secret of the Mass returns to the same petition, asking that "we may be delivered from all our faults" by Mary's intercession. A culpis omnibus liberemur! What a stupendous petition! And it is a petition that the Father grants freely and graciously, for all that is sought through the Immaculate Heart of Mary is, by that very fact, asked through the Heart of Jesus, and nothing of what is asked through the Hearts of Jesus and Mary will the Father deny. "If you ask the Father any thing in my name, He will give it to you" (Jn 16:23).

Glorious Things

The Communion Antiphon will deploy a phrase from Psalm 86, a song in praise of Zion, the city cherished by the Lord "Glorious things are said of thee, O city of God" (Ps 86:3), but in place of "city of God" will say "Mary." "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O Mary." Yes, glorious things, because from Mary "has arisen the Sun of Justice, Christ our God" (cf. Mal 4:2).

In the Radiance of Christ

In fulfillment of Malachi's prophecy, the "sun of justice" rises from the womb of the Virgin "with healing in His wings" (Mal 4:2), that is to say with wholeness for those fractured and fragmented by sin; with purity for those fallen into the filth of every manner of vice; with beauty for those distorted by the attempts of the Evil One to twist and disfigure men and women created in God's image and likeness. Mary, the Immaculate Mother of the clean of heart, is also the Mother of all those whom she brings to be healed in the radiance of Christ, the Sun of Justice.

Spiritual Mothers Collaborate With Our Blessed Lady

Spiritual Mothers, if you would continue faithful and fearless in your mission: entrust your priests--all priests--to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Weaknesses do not shock Our Blessed Lady. The sight of sin does not repulse her. Even betrayals do not make her bitter. She was, I think, even more of a mother to Peter after his shameful denial of Jesus than before. Speak to the Immaculate Virgin confidently, as mothers to a Mother. In the priests entrusted to your own maternal care, collaborate with Mary; unite your hearts to her Immaculate Heart. There are no sins so dark, no vices so entrenched in a soul, no trials so harsh, no work so burdensome that Mary cannot enter in, ministering mercy, delivering from enslavement, infusing hope, and making light the burden.

The First and Last Word Given to Joy

Return, for a moment, to the Introit. "Rejoicing, I will rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God. He has clothed me with the garment of salvation, and with the robe of justice he has wrapped me about, as a bride adorned with her jewels" (Is 61:10). This is the song of every new beginning in grace. For me, for us, this New Year of Grace will be marked by a new beginning, or rather, by continuity in the newness that characterizes every thing wrought by Him who says, "Behold, I make all things new."

The New Song

Sing then the new song of every man and woman once paralyzed by fear, but now set free to stand unafraid with the Son of the Virgin in the sight of the Father. Sing the new song of every heart darkened and stained by sin, but now made bright and clean by grace. Sing the new song of every life wounded by sin, but healed by the Sun of Justice who, in a few moments, will be lifted above the altar "with healing in his wings" (Mal 4:2). The last word and the first belong to joy. This joy is Mary's. And she wants you to have it, this evening, and for ever.

Spiritual Mothers of Priests in Tulsa

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Spiritual Mothers: The Second Group

Last evening in Tulsa's Cathedral of the Holy Family, on the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Sorrows, His Excellency, Bishop Edward J. Slattery, received the oblation of ten new Spiritual Mothers of Priests, and conferred upon them the distinctive medal that represents this oblation. His Excellency invited me to preach the homily. Here is my text:

At the Crossroads of Three Mysteries

"O the depth of the riches
and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!
'For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been His counselor?'" (Rom 11:33-34).
"None of the rulers of this age understood this;
for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Cor 2:8).

We find ourselves this evening, my dear sisters,
at the crossroads of three mysteries,
or rather, at the heart of the One Mystery,
indivisible, and yet too rich to be taken in all at once.

I. The Immaculate Conception

When His Excellency, Bishop Slattery,
first asked me to present the vocation of spiritual motherhood of priests
to women of the Diocese of Tulsa,
we chose to do it here, in this our cathedral,
on December 7th, 2008:
the vigil of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
And so, the spiritual motherhood of priests in the Diocese of Tulsa
received, at its inception, at its conception, if you will,
the imprint of that mystery of dazzling purity and fullness of grace
that is the Immaculate Conception.

Immaculate in the Mind of God

Mary was conceived immaculate in the mind of God
before she was conceived immaculate
in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne.
Spotless, all-lovely, and full of grace from the first instant of her life:
thus was Mary envisioned by God from all eternity,
for only a woman spotless, all-lovely, and full of grace
could be a fit mother for the Son of God,
once come the fullness of time. (Gal 4:4)
A Vocation Originates in Eternity

If a vocation -- any vocation -- is a call from God,
that vocation originates in eternity:
in that moment, outside of every moment,
wherein God takes counsel with Himself,
wills what He has conceived in wisdom and in love,
and decrees what He has willed.

Your vocation to the spiritual motherhood of priests
is not, then, an initiative of yours with its origin in time;
it is a divine initiative, with its origin in eternity.
There was never a moment when God did not see you here,
in this Cathedral of the Holy Family,
at this hour,
ready to offer your hearts, your lives, your very selves
for the sanctification of His priests.

In this, your vocation to the spiritual motherhood of priests
bears a mysterious likeness to the vocation of the Immaculate One,
destined, from before the dawn of time,
to become the all-holy Mother of an Eternal High Priest
and the spotless Mother of a spotless Victim.

II. The Annunciation

When, after a time of gestation and preparation,
the first group of women knew that the hour had come
for their "Yes" to pass from their hearts to their lips
-- and this in the presence of our Bishop,
and before the altar that is first among all the altars of this Diocese--
we chose to do it on March 25th,
the Annunciation of the Lord.
And so, the spiritual motherhood of priests in the Diocese of Tulsa,
received, when first it became a public, ecclesial reality blessed by our Bishop,
the imprint of that mystery of ineffable joy
that is the Annunciation of the Lord,
and His Incarnation as Priest and Victim
in the sanctuary of her virginal womb.

Mary's "Yes" to the message of the Archangel
was an act of utter and unconditional surrender
to the Mystery of her Son's Victimal Priesthood,
to the Mystery in its cruciform "breadth and length
and height and depth" (cf. Eph 3:18),
and in "the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge" (Eph 3:19).

Fruit of Her Womb, Fruit of the Tree

This is the crucifying and glorious knowledge
of "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph 3:8)
by which one is "filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph 3:19).
This is the awareness that, like a sword, pierced the heart of the Virgin Mother,
"standing by the cross of Jesus" (Jn 19:25).
Even she watched Him in the painful spasms of death,
she remembered His first stirrings in her womb,
and somehow sensed obscurely,
"as in a mirror dimly" (1 Cor 13:12),
that He would stir again beneath the shroud.
But first, she she had to see the fruit of her womb
become the fruit of the Tree.

Thirty-three years had passed;
it seemed to her like yesterday.
"Sent by God" (Lk 1:26), that bright, majestic, creature had come to her,
--exquisitely courteous he was, and awful and lovely all at once --
and his greeting still astonished her:
"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee:
blessed art thou among women" (Lk 1:28).
She remembered the shock of it,
and how she had "considered in her mind
what sort of greeting this might be" (Lk 1:29).
Now his voice came to her again, and how she needed to hear it,
to lean on it, to steady herself against it, to cling to it
even as Abraham, "in hope believing against hope" (Rom 4:18),
had clung to the wild promises made by God to him:
"Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God" (Lk 1:30).

Her Sword-Pierced Soul

To see what she was seeing --
her Child stretched naked on the wood,
His hands and feet pierced,
His whole body bloodied,
His sweet face beneath a cruel crown of thorns --
to see this and yet believe in the word of the Angel
was to feel the two-edged sword's sharp blade
"piercing to the division of soul and spirit,
of joints and marrow" (Heb 4:12).
Could this be what Simeon meant:
"And your own soul a sword shall pierce" (Lk 2:35)?

The Name of Jesus

The Angel had said more:
"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb,
and shalt bring forth a son;
and thou shalt call His name Jesus" (Lk 1:31).
This too she remembered, and lifting her eyes, she read "the inscription over Him
in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew" (Lk 23:38):
"Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews" (Jn 19:19).
For a moment she thought of her Joseph
she still missed him so -- her friend, her comforter, her rock --
and she remembered what the Angel had said to him as well:
"You shall call His name Jesus,
for He will save His people from their sins" (Mt 1:21).

The Cross, His Throne

"He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High;
and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father;
and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever.
And of His kingdom there shall be no end" (Lk 1:32-33).
Tell me, O Gabriel, is this bitter abjection His greatness?
Is this cross of execution His throne?
Is this defeat the inauguration of His kingdom?

Dismas and the Kingdom

Just then the thief crucified beside Him spoke,
as if in answer to her torment:
"'Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.'
And Jesus said to him: 'Amen I say to you,
this day you shall be with me in paradise'" (Lk 23:42-43).

For an instant, she turned from the face of her Jesus
to the face of the thief,
and she felt herself a mother to him.
"For those whom God foreknew
He also predestined to be conformed to the image of her Son,
in order that He might be the first-born among many brethren" (cf, Rom 8:29).

Behold Thy Son

With that, her Jesus spoke,
His gentleness like the breeze in the cool of the day,
His authority undiminished by the scourging, the mockery, and the taunts.
Seeing "His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing near,
He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold thy son!'
Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold thy mother!'" (Jn 19:25).

This was a new Annunciation, the second one:
the first, thirty-three years ago by the mouth of the Angel Gabriel;
this second one by the mouth of her Son,
lifted up with bloodied arms spread wide in place of shining wings.
Then, as now and forever, "no word shall be impossible with God" (Lk 1:37).

The Handmaid of the Lord

"Woman, behold your son!" (Jn 19:25).
To this Mary had no answer
apart from the one she had given the Angel then:
"Behold, the handmaid of the Lord;
be it done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38).
She was to be mother, mother again and again.
mother to John, to Peter and Paul,
Andrew and James,
Philip, Bartholomew, and Matthew,
Simon and Jude,
mother to "the coming generation" of priests,
mother to "a people [of priests] yet unborn" (Ps 21:30-31).
Mother of Priests until the end of history
and Mother of Priests forever in the glory of the Kingdom.

III. Mother of Sorrows

When we were faced with finding a date
for the public, ecclesial oblation
of you, the second group of Spiritual Mothers of Priests in our diocese,
our choice fell upon September 15th, 2010,
the feast of the Mother of Sorrows at the foot of the Cross.
And so, the Spiritual Motherhood of priests in the Diocese of Tulsa,
receives this evening the imprint of a motherhood
at once sorrowful and compassionate,
a motherhood of tears and of blood,
a motherhood made prodigiously fruitful
by the Mystery of the Cross.

Sons of Her Sorrowful Heart

"Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished,
that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: 'I thirst'" (Jn 19:28)
and Mary knew in herself the torment that is the thirst of God
and tasted in her mouth the bitter vinegar,
and knew too that this new motherhood was given her
in this new annunciation
to quench the thirst of God with the sons of her sorrowful heart:
with holy priests, adorers "in spirit and in truth" (Jn 4:23).

It Is Consummated

And as she recalled how at Nazareth the Holy Spirit had come upon her
and the power of Most High had overshadowed her (cf. Lk 1:35),
He said, "It is consummated,' and bowing His head,
He gave up His spirit" (Jn 19:30).
She lifted her face to receive the breath of His mouth,
and remembered that the Angel too,
having accomplished that for which he was sent from God, left her,
leaving God in her womb.
"And the angel departed from her" (Lk 1:38).

Descent from the Cross

Afterwards they took His body down from the cross.
Strange that another Joseph should be there helping.
A strong and tender man.
And she remembered her Joseph, also strong and tender,
lifting that tiny newborn body in his calloused hands
to place it in the manger. And she wept.

They placed His lifeless body in her arms.
He seemed so tired, so spent, so in need of His Sabbath rest.
Bits of a lullaby she used to sing to Him went through her mind.
"Sleep, my Yeshua, sleep.
Sleep my Yeshua, sleep until you wake."
She remembered something He had said:
"I will come again and will take you to myself,
that where I am you may be also" (Jn 14:3).
And she repeated something He had prayed:
"Father, glorify Thy Son that Thy Son may glorify Thee" (Jn 17:1).

They placed Him in the chill of the tomb.
And the stone was rolled across the entrance,
sealing her heart there inside with His body.

With Saint John

To John she said:
"Come, son, take me home.
'He has torn, that He may heal us;
He has stricken, and He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
and on the third day He will raise us up,
that we may live before Him' (Hos 6:1-2)."
And John, saying nothing, looked into her eyes,
just as Jesus had earlier in the day,
and like Jesus, he believed her.

IV. Three Facets of the One Mystery

The history of the Spiritual Motherhood of Priests in our diocese,
is, then, in some way, indelibly marked by
the Immaculate Conception,
the Annunciation,
and Sorrowful Compassion at the Foot of the Cross:
three facets of the one Mystery
that contains, and ever renews
the Sacrifice of the Cross,
the maternal co-redemption of Mary,
and the victimal priesthood
for the life of a Church that can never grow old.

Her Yes and Yours

And so, my dear sisters,
if you would know what it is to be the spiritual mother of priest,
look now into Mary's eyes,
draw near to her maternal Heart,
and receive from her lips,
the "Yes" that, this very evening,
she rejoices to hear repeated on yours.

Persevering in Prayer

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From time to time, I present anew some of the prayers that I composed for the Spiritual Mothers of Priests and for all, men and women alike, who pray, suffer, and offer themselves for the sanctification of priests. Here are three of these prayers:

A Morning Offering

Most merciful Father,
I offer Thee the prayers, works,
joys, and sufferings of this day
by placing them in the holy and venerable hands of Jesus, the Eternal High Priest,
and by saying, as He did upon entering the world,
"Behold, I come to do Thy will" (Hebrews 10:9).

For the sake of all His priests,
and in particular for the priests
entrusted to my intercession,
I entreat Thy beloved Son to unite my offering
to the Sacrifice of the Cross,
renewed upon the altars of Thy Church
from the rising of the sun to its setting (Malachy 1:11).

Holy Father,
look upon these men chosen by Thy Son
to show forth His death until He comes (1 Cor 11:26);
keep them from the Evil One (John 17:15)
and sanctify them in the truth (John 17:17).

Bind them by a most tender love
to the Virgin Mary, their Mother
that, by her intercession,
they may be overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35)
in every act of their sacred ministry;
thus may their priesthood reveal
the Face of Jesus and the merciful love of His Heart,
for the fruitfulness of His spouse, the Church.
and the praise of Thy glory. Amen.

Prayer for Priests

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who hast commanded
that the men whom Thou hast called and set apart
for the service of Thy holy altars,
should themselves be holy:
grant such holiness to your priests
that in them Thy Father may take delight,
and Thy Bride, the Church, find consolation.

Send the promised Paraclete upon them
to keep them firm in their faith
in the midst of an unbelieving world;
to keep them ardent in their love
among those that love Thee not;
to keep them pure amidst the impure;
and to keep them Thine
amidst those who are as yet not Thine
--but whom Thou, O gentle Shepherd,
didst come to seek and to save.

Through the intercession of our most gracious Lady and Queen,
Thy Mother, Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin,
give them grace so to serve Thee
among all the changes and chances of this passing world
that, at the hour of their death, they may be ready
to enter in with Thee, O Eternal High Priest,
to the sanctuary not made by human hands,
where Thou livest for ever
to make intercession for us,
and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost,
one God, world without end.
Amen.

Prayer for Vocations

Lord Jesus Christ,
Who callest to Thy service whomsoever Thou wilt,
let the light of Thy Face and the tenderness of Thy Heart
rest upon the young men of our own parishes and families.
Grant that those whom Thou hast chosen from among us
may hear Thy invitation and respond to Thy call
with generosity and courage.
For our part, we are resolved
to welcome and support priestly vocations in our midst
with gratitude, humility, and joy.
We promise to pray tirelessly
for those whom Thou hast set apart to preach Thy Word,
to offer Thy Sacrifice, and to nourish, heal, and comfort our souls.
Confident that Thou hast already heard our prayer,
we entrust the future priests among us
to the Immaculate Heart of Thy Virgin Mother
that, for each one, she may be a guiding star in the night
and, day by day, a perpetual help.
Amen.

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A group of the Spiritual Mothers of Priests of the Diocese of Tulsa gathered in the oratory of the monastery this morning at 10:00 to pray a scriptural rosary on the Mysteries of Our Lord's Eternal Priesthood. They offered their prayer for all priests and, in a special way, interceded for our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in this moment of assault from below.

The Mysteries of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest:
A Rosary for Priests

First Mystery: The Incarnation

1. Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Eternal High Priest, we recall that mystery by which the Word entered thy virginal womb, overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, to make it the first sanctuary of His priesthood on earth, and to offer Himself therein as a sacrificial Victim to the Eternal Father.

Mother of Priests and their Advocate, we offer the prayers of this mystery, imploring thee to obtain for every priest the grace of a deeper identification with Jesus in His obedience and self-offering to the Father.

Second Mystery: The Presentation in the Temple

2. Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Eternal High Priest, we recall the prophecy of Simeon that a sword of sorrow would pierce thy soul, which prophecy was fulfilled on Calvary. The Infant, already offered to the God of Israel in thy arms, was to become the Victim raised high on the cross, the Host lifted to the Father in every Mass by the hands of the priest, and the immolated Lamb in the glory of heaven and in the tabernacles of the Church on earth.

Mother of Priests and their Advocate, we offer the prayers of this mystery, imploring thee to obtain for every priest the grace of a spotless chastity so that, in the joy that springs from purity of heart, he might follow the Lamb wheresover He goeth.

Third Mystery: The Cenacle

3. Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Eternal High Priest, we recall thy Son's institution of the Priesthood and of the Most Holy Eucharist in the Cenacle on the night before He suffered. There His sacrifice was consummated in mystery; the next day it would be consummated in His Blood.

Mother of Priests and their Advocate, we offer the prayers of this mystery, imploring thee to obtain for every priest the grace of a holy awe in the daily celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, so that he might know by faith the blessed presence of the Lamb and, lost in wonder, adore Him truly present in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

Fourth Mystery: The Sacrifice on Calvary

4. Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Eternal High Priest, we recall the Sacrifice in His Blood, offered from the altar of the Cross on Calvary. With thee, we want to receive the outpouring of the Spirit from His mouth; with thee we want to gaze upon His pierced side; with thee we want to intercede for all priests, but especially for the weakest and most wounded among them.

Mother of Priests and their Advocate, we offer the prayers of this mystery, imploring thee to obtain for every priest the grace of a tender and filial relationship with thee, that in the valley of the shadow of death, thou wouldst be to them a fountain of life; that in bitterness, thou wouldst be their sweetness; and that in hours of despair, thou wouldst be their hope.

Fifth Mystery: The Ascension

5. Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Eternal High Priest, we recall the glorious Ascension of thy Son into the sanctuary of heaven where He stands forever before the Father, displaying His radiant wounds, and interceding for us.

Mother of Priests and their Advocate, we offer the prayers of this mystery, begging thee to obtain from the Eternal Father an abundance of priestly vocations from the rising of the sun to its setting and, in particular, for this diocese, that the earth may be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and that His Sacrifice may be offered in every place by men of holy life, ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit.

Hail, Holy Queen.

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God, by Whose will, the Blessed Virgin Mary
became the Mother of Thy Son, the Eternal High Priest,
and was associated most intimately to Him in the Work of Redemption,
grant that by pondering with her the mysteries of His Priesthood,
we may, through her who is our Mother in the order of grace,
so contribute to the sanctification of Thy priests,
that they more worthily represent Jesus Christ
the Head, Shepherd, and Spouse of His Church,
who is Lord forever and ever.
R. Amen.

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I sometimes wonder if those of you who keep watch before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus for the sake of His priests, really grasp the significance of your adoration. Allow me on this Lenten First Friday of March to suggest something of what you are doing, and of what Our Lord is doing through you, when you persevere in prayer close to the tabernacle or in the radiance of the monstrance containing His adorable Body and Blood.

A Divine Work

You are participating in a divine work, in a work of grace. You are before Our Lord's Eucharistic Face as an empty vessel to be filled with the power and sweetness of the Holy Spirit, so that souls might drink of His Love and, drinking, know that His Love is sweeter than any earthly delight.

Intercession

You are before Our Lord's Eucharistic Face as an intercessor in whose soul the Holy Spirit is sighing with ineffable groanings, and obtaining from the Father, through Christ, the Eternal High Priest, all that the Father desires to give His priests in this world and in the next.

Reparation

You are a reparator opening yourself to receive the love that so many others ignore, refuse, or treat with indifference, coldness, and disdain. By offering yourself to the Lord Jesus in an adoration of reparation, you console His Eucharistic Heart, which burns with love and so desires to fill souls with His tender mercy.

Friendship

When you are before HIs Eucharistic Face, you are the privileged friend of His Heart, keeping Him company in His loneliness and allowing Him to share with you His sorrows, His grieving over sin, and His designs for a priesthood made pure and radiant with holiness.

Victimhood

When you are before Our Lord's Eucharistic Face, you are with Him a victim of love, handed over and bound to remain at your place before the altar with no desires or plans other than to love, to adore, to make reparation, and to represent all priests in a prayer that simple, and confident, and life-changing.

The Work of Christ the Priest

When you are in adoration before His Eucharistic Face, you are are not idle; you are working in a way far more efficacious than any human undertaking can be. This is your work and it is Christ's work in you. This is a work that many will criticize and not understand. You are before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus in a divinely active collaboration with Him, who from the Sacrament of His Love, continues His priestly mediation before the Father on behalf of poor sinners.

Never Doubt

Never doubt of the value of your hours of adoration. It is this that Our Lord is asking you to do, and He will draw from your presence in the sanctuary a great good and a superabundance of graces for His priests.

Domus mea domus orationis vocabitur

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A Resolution

I apologize to you, dear readers, for my absence from Vultus Christi over the past few weeks. The task of settling into the new house and the duties of hospitality that, almost immediately, presented themselves, made it difficult to find time to write daily. One of my Lenten resolutions is to be more faithful to writing on Vultus Christi and this in obedience, not only to the Holy Father's desire that priests make good use of the apostolic opportunities offered by the internet, but also in obedience to my own bishop, who believes it important that I continue writing daily.

Visitors from Florida

The petite chronique of the last two months includes the visit of Father Jordi, Lourdes, and Tessie from Miami, Florida, as well as that of Mary from Iowa. Father Jordi and Lourdes, founders of the Community of Love Crucified in Miami, met with the Spiritual Mothers of Priests of the Diocese of Tulsa and also addressed priests of the diocese of Tulsa on January 14th. Tessie and Mary offered support in prayer. Father Jordi stayed here at the monastery, while Tulsa's Spiritual Mothers of Priests, Sheila and Kate, offered hospitality to the ladies. Heartfelt thanks to all.

January Day of Recollection for Priests

The January Day of Recollection for the Priests of the Diocese of Tulsa was abundantly blessed. Father Jordi's message, and the challenging conference given by Lourdes, touched many priestly hearts.

Retreatants

Shortly thereafter, Father Rick Jones of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri arrived to spend several days in prayer, and on February 2nd, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, a young Nebraskan, who graduated in 2009 from the University of Tulsa, began an extended period of observership in order to discern a vocation to this particular expression of Benedictine-Eucharistic life.

NAC Seminarian Sean Donovan, currently serving a pastoral year at Tulsa's Church of the Madalene, shared our life for a full week of retreat. Immediately after Sean's retreat, Father Gerard Dewan of the Diocese of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan arrived from Canada to begin his retreat.

February Day of Recollection for Priests

Last, but by no means least, we welcomed Father Basil Cole, O.P., of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., to address the priests of the Diocese of Tulsa for their monthly Day of Recollection on February 18th. Father Basil is the author of The Hidden Enemies of the Priesthood, The Contributions of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Father's stay was all too brief. Apart from his brilliant conferences, I especially enjoyed his contributions in choir, at table, and at recreation.

Et Haec Tua Dona

During all this time of comings and goings, Spiritual Mothers of Priests of the Diocese of Tulsa supplied us with a splendid variety of tasty casseroles, breads, salads, and soups. Thank you to each one. May the King of glory make us all partakers of the heavenly table.

Lenten Horarium

Some readers and friends asked what the Lenten Horarium is at 1132 East 21st Street in Tulsa. Here it is. You are welcome to join us for prayer.

HORARIUM FOR LENT 2010

4:45 a.m. Rise
5:15 Matins, Angelus

Lectio Divina

7:30 Lauds
Chapter

9:30 Tierce and Holy Mass
Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

12:30 p.m. Sext, Rosary, Angelus
1:00 Dinner / Kitchen duties
2:00 Rest

3:00 None

5:00 Vespers
Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

6:45 Supper / Kitchen duties
7:45 Compline Reading
8:00 Compline, Angelus


Blessed Marmion Novena: Day Seven

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A Book to Own and Meditate

Today's passage from the writings of Blessed Columba Marmion is taken from Union With God, Letters of Spiritual Direction. It is available here from Zaccheus Press.

Sharing in the Passion of Christ

For the friend of Christ, for the member of His Mystical Body, for one baptized into His saving death, and nourished by the adorable Mysteries of His Body and Blood, suffering is a means of union with Jesus, Priest and Victim. In His infinite wisdom, the Father has reserved for each and every member of His Son's Mystical Body a certain portion of His Passion. Our Lord Jesus Christ asks His friends, one by one, if they will allow Him to suffer in them, to complete His Passion in their flesh and in their hearts.

The Holy Spirit

With suffering comes a great anointing. He sends upon one who suffers with Him, and in whom He deigns to suffer, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, so that one may be able to suffer joyfully and in the peace of a complete submission to the designs of His Sacred Heart.

For Priests

Our Lord chooses to have need of our sufferings and asks for them, in some instances, specifically for the renewal of the priesthood in His Church, and for the spiritual regeneration of priests weakened by sin and held in various forms of bondage to evil. To these souls, Our Lord says that, by their humble participation in His Passion many priests will be healed and purified and restored to holiness.

Freely Given

He does not inflict suffering, but He humbly and meekly asks for our "Yes" to it. "Will you," He asks, "consent to this work of mine in you and through you?"

Victimhood

Blessed Dom Marmion, formed by the contemplation of Love Crucified in his daily Way of the Cross, never hesitated to invite souls who sought spiritual counsel from him, to enter into the way of victimhood and to offer themselves to the Father in the hands of Jesus, the Eternal High Priest. The sufferings involved are not extraordinary tortures; they are the sufferings of the body, of the heart, and of the soul that are woven into the fabric of every life. They are the sufferings of the husband, wife, mother, child, sick person, and priest. They are the sufferings of betrayal, abandonment, failure humiliation, weakness, helplessness, pain, and uncertainty. And they are, all of them, infinitely precious in the eyes of the Father when united to the Passion of His Beloved Son.

The Seventh Day of the Novena
Thursday, 28 January 2010

O Holy Spirit, Love of the Father and the Son,
establish Thyself as a furnace of love in the centre of our hearts
and bear constantly upwards, like eager flames,
our thoughts, our affections, and our actions
even to the bosom of the Father.

For what regards your weaknesses, your failings, the Good God permits them in order to keep you in humility and in the sense of your nothingness. God can always draw good from our miseries, and when you have been unfaithful and have failed in confidence and in abandon to His holy will, if you humble yourself deeply, you will lose nothing, but on the contrary, you will advance in virtue and in the love of God.
If everything happened you just as you could wish, if you were always in robust health, if all your exercises of devotion were performed to your satisfaction, if you had no doubts and uncertainties for the future, etc., with your character you would quickly become full of self-sufficiency and secret pride; and instead of exciting the bounty of the Father of Mercies and of drawing down His compassion on His poor weak creature, you would be an abomination in God's eyes. "Every proud man is an abomination to the Lord. You must therefore set to work. Our Lord loves you He sees into the depths of your soul, even into recesses hidden from yourself, and He knows what you need; leave Him to act, and don't try to make Our Lord follow your way of seeing things, but follow His in all simplicity.
Uncertainty, anguish, disgust are very bitter remedies necessary to the health of your soul. There is only one road that leads to Jesus, namely that of Calvary; and whosoever will not follow Jesus along upon this road must give up the thought of divine union. "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."
Take courage! I have as much need myself of these considerations as you have, for nature does not like sacrifice, but the reward of sacrifice namely, the love of God, is so great, that we ought to be ready to bear yet more in order to attain it.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Columba Marmion.
R. That our lives may be hid with Christ in God.

Let us pray.

O God, Almighty Father,
who, having called the blessed abbot Columba
to the priesthood and to the monastic way of life,
wonderfully opened to him the secrets of the mysteries of Christ,
grant, in Thy goodness,
that, strengthened by his teachings
in the spirit of our adoption as Thy sons,
we may pray to Thee with a boundless confidence,
and so obtain, through his intercession,
a favourable answer
to the petitions we place before Thee.
[Express your intentions and requests.]
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son,
who liveth and reigneth with Thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.
R. Amen.

Priests Who Pray

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His Eminence, Claudio Cardinal Hummes, addressed the following letter to priests for the month of December in this Year of the Priest. My own comments are in italics.

Dear Priests,

Prayer necessarily occupies a central place in the life of the priest. This is not hard to understand, since prayer fosters the disciple's intimacy with his Master, Jesus Christ. We all know that when prayer lessens, faith is weakened and the ministry loses content and meaning. The essential consequence of this is that the priest will have less joy and less happiness in his daily ministry. It is as if, following Jesus along the road, the priest, who walks along with many others, were to begin to lag behind bit by bit and so distance himself from the Master, even losing sight of him on the horizon. From that moment he will find himself lost and uncertain.

Yes, a priest who neglects prayer will become weak in faith, joyless, and uncertain of the very things that should be life giving for him. At the origin of every crisis in the life of a priest is a lack of prayer, that is, of conscious surrender to the Friendship of Christ. Nowhere can a priest experience the Friendship of Christ more effectively than in the radiance of His Eucharistic Face. Priests who pray daily, for one hour, before the Blessed Sacrament attest to the purifying, healing, and transforming effect of such prayer on their lives.

St. John Chrysostom, in a homily commenting on the First Letter of St. Paul to Timothy, observes wisely: "The devil attacks the shepherd. In fact, if by killing the sheep the flock is reduced, by instead eliminating the shepherd he will destroy the entire flock." This statement makes one think about many contemporary situations. Chrysostom warns us that the lessening of the shepherds will and does make the number of the faithful and of communities decrease. Without shepherds our communities will be destroyed!

The Evil One hates the priests of Jesus Christ, and will do everything in his power to drag or push them into patterns of sin, to confuse their thinking, to corrupt their hearts, and to destroy their confidence in the Mercy of God. Who then, among priests, can be saved? The priest who takes refuge beneath the mantle of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, his Mother and his Advocate. The priest who cherishes Mary with a love that is at once filial and spousal. Mary's most precious gift to her priests is a gentle, but compelling, inclination to prayer. Saint Benedict speaks in the Holy Rule of "falling frequently to prayer." This is, I think, a distinctively Marian grace.

But here I would like above all to talk about the needfulness of prayer so that, as Chrysostom might say, the shepherds can defeat the devil and so that they are not lessened. Truly, without the vital food of prayer the priest becomes sick, the disciple does not find the strength to follow the Master, and thus dies of hunger. As a consequence his flock is scattered, and dies in its own turn.

Priests who pray generate communities that pray. A prayerful priest will generate a praying parish. Where priest and people persevere together in prayer, with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is poured out in abundance, quickening the life of the Church, and causing the face of the Church to shine with joy even in the midst of great sufferings.

In fact every priest finds an essential reference point in the ecclesial community. He is a very special disciple of the Lord who called him and who, by the sacrament of Order, configured him to Himself as Head and Shepherd of the Church. Christ is the one Shepherd, but he has deigned to make the Twelve and their Successors partake in His Ministry, amongst whom Priests also participate in this sacrament, albeit in a lower grade, in such a way that they also take part in the ministry of Christ, Head and Shepherd. This carries with it an essential bond between the priest and the ecclesial community. He cannot do any less than his duty, since without a shepherd the community withers. Rather, following the example of Moses, he must be found with his arms raised to Heaven in prayer so that the people will not perish.

This paragraph causes me to think, not only of Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, but also of Saint Gaetano Catanoso, and of the vast brotherhood of parish priests who, though uncanonised and unsung, prayed their flocks into a great holiness. I am reminded of the example of Father Edgar J. Farrell, whose Mass I often served as a boy; he would prepare for Holy Mass with prayer, kneeling at his prie-dieu in the sacristy, and prolong his thanksgiving after Mass. In recent years, the "Protestant" custom of greeting the faithful at the door of the church after Holy Mass has become widespread. We ought to recover, it seems to me, the paradigm of the recollected priest, intent on making his thanksgiving after Mass in the sanctuary, in view of his people. How much more fruitful would this be than the banal greeting and trivial remarks at the door of the church.

It is for this reason that the priest, if he is to remain faithful to Christ and faithful to the community, must be a man of prayer, a man who lives close to the Lord. Moreover, he needs to be strengthened by the prayer of the Church and of every Christian. Let the sheep pray for their shepherd! When the shepherd becomes aware that his life of prayer is weakening, it is time for him to turn to the Holy Spirit and to beseech like the poor of heart. The Spirit will rekindle the fire in his heart. He will rekindle the passion and the enchantment of the Lord, who is ever present and wishes to eat with him.

Surrounding every priest who prays is a community that prays for him and with him. The criticism of priests often leads to sins of rash judgment, defamation, and slander. The temptation to speak ill of a priest can become, in effect, an invitation to pray for him, to fast for him, and to represent him before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus, close to His Open Heart.

We wish to pray with and for priests in this Year for Priests with perseverance and great love. To this end, the Congregation for the Clergy celebrates a Eucharistic-Marian Hour for and with priests, at 4 p.m. in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Rome, each first Thursday of the month during the Year for Priests. Many people joyfully come to pray with us.

The Spiritual Mothers of the Diocese of Tulsa have taken a similar initiative and, in our embryonic monastery, Brother Juan Diego and I dedicate each Thursday, in a special way, to adoration and reparation for priests.

Dear Priests, the Nativity of Jesus Christ draws near. I wish to express my best and heartfelt good wishes to you for a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year 2010. The Child Jesus lying in the manger invites us to renew this closeness with him of a friend and disciple, so as to send us out again as his evangelizers.

Cardinal Cláudio Hummes

Archbishop Emeritus of São Paulo
Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy

[Translation distributed by the Congregation for Clergy]

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The painting is by the so-called Master of the Osservanza and dates from around 1440. Notice the lovely chasuble of the priest and the noble simplicity of the altar. The young man to the left is none other than our father among the saints, Antony of Egypt. The scene depicts his conversion. The artist has it taking place in the cathedral of Siena!

Here is another prayer for priests that one might say each day. It will be included in the prayerbook that is still in preparation.

A Daily Prayer for Priests

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who commanded
that the men whom You called and set apart
for the service of Your holy altars,
should themselves be holy:
grant such holiness to Your priests
that in them Your Father may take delight,
and Your Bride, the Church, find consolation.

Send the promised Paraclete upon them
to keep them firm in their faith
in the midst of an unbelieving world;
to keep them ardent in their love
among those that do not love You;
to keep them pure amidst the impure;
and to keep them for Yourself
amidst those who are as yet not Yours
- but whom You, O gentle Shepherd,
came to seek and to save.

Through the intercession of our most gracious Lady and Queen,
Your Mother, Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin,
give them grace so to serve You
among all the changes and chances of this passing world
that, at the hour of their death, they may be ready
to enter with You, O Eternal High Priest,
into the sanctuary not made by human hands,
where You live for ever
to make intercession for us,
and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.
Amen.

Spiritual Mothers of Priests

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So many women write to me asking for counsel concerning the Spiritual Motherhood of Priests. My first recommendation would be that any woman considering this vocation recite the following Morning Offering -- sincerely and from the heart -- for 30 days in succession.

Father most holy,
I offer You the prayers, works,
joys, and sufferings of this day
by placing them in the holy and venerable hands
of Jesus, the Eternal High Priest,
and by saying, as He did upon entering the world,
"Behold, I come to do Your will" (Hebrews 10:9).

For the sake of all His priests,
and in particular for the priest(s)
entrusted to my maternal intercession,
I entreat Your beloved Son to unite my offering
to the Sacrifice of the Cross,
renewed upon the altars of Your Church
from the rising of the sun to its setting (Malachy 1:11).

Most merciful Father,
look upon these men chosen by Your Son
to show forth His death until He comes (1 Cor 11:26);
keep them from the Evil One (John 17:15)
and sanctify them in the truth (John 17:17).

Bind them by a most tender love
to the Virgin Mary, their Mother
that, by her intercession,
they may be overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35)
in every act of their sacred ministry;
thus may their priesthood reveal
the Face of Jesus and the merciful love of His Heart,
for the fruitfulness of His spouse, the Church.
and the praise of Your glory. Amen.


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Spiritual Mothers of Priests


Do visit Jane Mossendew's wonderful new blog here:

Jane calls it a "blog created in response to Pope Benedict's institution of the Sacerdotal Year 2009-10 and which aims to spread knowledge of the vocation of a spiritual mother and to encourage women to consider embracing it." The new blog could be an effective "meeting place" for spiritual mothers of priests from around the world.

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Answering Your Questions

I have been receiving so many requests concerning the call to spiritual motherhood for priests that I am unable to answer them all in a timely fashion. For the moment I am still alone, following the monastic horarium and devoting the greater part of the day to Holy Mass, the Divine Office, and Eucharistic Adoration. After prayer, I must give priority to welcoming the priests, deacons, and deacon candidates who come seeking spiritual support. The promotion of spiritual motherhood is intrinsically related to my work here in Tulsa but, not having a secretary to assist with the correspondence that comes in almost daily from women all over the country, many requests remain in the "to do" pile. I apologize for this.

The Prayer Book

With regard to the promised book of prayers for the Spiritual Mothers of Priests, I will announce its publication here on Vultus Christi as soon as it becomes available. I am still working on the final revisions of the text and on some additional content.

Indispensable Reading

In the meantime, I thank you for your patience and recommend that you read the 2007 letter from the Congregation for the Clergy entitled Adoration, Reparation, and Spiritual Motherhood for Priests here, and the equally important letter to bishops that accompanied it here.

Morning Offering for Priests

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I composed this Morning Offering for Priests for the Prayerbook for the Spiritual Mothers of Priests that I am preparing for publication.

Father most holy,
I offer You the prayers, works,
joys, and sufferings of this day
by placing them in the holy and venerable hands
of Jesus, the Eternal High Priest,
and by saying, as He did upon entering the world,
"Behold, I come to do Your will" (Hebrews 10:9).

For the sake of all His priests,
and in particular for Fathers N. and N.,
I entreat Your beloved Son to unite my offering
to the Sacrifice of the Cross,
renewed upon the altars of Your Church
from the rising of the sun to its setting (Malachy 1:11).

Most merciful Father,
look upon these men chosen by Your Son
to show forth His death until He comes (1 Cor 11:26);
keep them from the Evil One (John 17:15)
and sanctify them in the truth (John 17:17).

Bind them by a most tender love
to the Virgin Mary, their Mother
that, by her intercession,
they may be overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35)
in every act of their sacred ministry;
thus may their priesthood reveal
the Face of Jesus and the merciful love of His Heart,
for the fruitfulness of His spouse, the Church.
and the praise of Your glory. Amen.

Spiritual Mothers of Priests

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Mothers medal.jpg

Dear Spiritual Mothers, as you prepare for the opening of the Year of the Priest, be sure to visit Adoro Te (here) where you will find a magnificent reflection on spiritual motherhood for priests.

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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