Recently in Thursdays of Adoration and Reparation for Priests Category

Antonello_da_Messina_002.jpg

Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

I am often asked what it means to make reparation or to be, as we say here at the monastery, a reparator. To be a reparator is to give Our Lord Jesus Christ what others deny Him; it is offer Him what other souls refuse to give Him, not in condemnation of such souls, but by identifying with them, and by representing them before Our Lord.

Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. (John 19:28)

Long ago, Our Lord said, "I thirst" -- yet that thirst continues, not yet quenched, because it is a thirst for souls and for the faith, and love, and adoration, and hope, and thanksgiving, and confidence that only souls can offer Him freely. The terrible thirst of Our Lord's Passion will continue until the end of time, but so too will the call to reparation continue to enliven His Church with souls who will offer themselves in the name of their brethren, to quench His thirst, and to comfort His grieving Heart.

Between the porch and the altar the priests the Lord's ministers shall weep, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people: and give not thy inheritance to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God? (Joel 2:17)

The Sacrament of Love is rightly the object of reparation because it is there that Our Lord suffers the coldness, the indifference, the ingratitude, and the irreverence of men, beginning with His priests. For this reason, reparation must begin with His priests, with priests who will adore Him and, in adoring Him, offer themselves to His Heart as victims of reparation and of love.

I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I, but that it be kindled? (Luke 12:49)

Those who offer themselves to Our Lord Jesus Christ, in this way, will experience the consuming fire of His merciful love making of them a holocaust of love to Love. Our Lord will send upon them the fire of the Holy Ghost, not to destroy utterly, but to purify, leaving nothing, after its flames have done their work, but what is wholly acceptable to Him and pleasing to His Father.

image_preview.jpg

Why art Thou left alone in this Most Holy Sacrament? Where are Thy adorers and Thy friends? Has Thy Church failed to announce Thy Gospel to the world, and to make Thy presence known? Why art Thou so ignored, forsaken, and left alone in Thy tabernacles, without honour and with no one to thank Thee for the gift of Thy real presence? Why is the world kept in the dark concerning Thee in this Most Holy Sacrament, when Thou art all that this world needs, and all that souls desire?

Lord Jesus Christ,
I adore Thee who art truly present here,
with all the love of my heart.
Thou who art here for me so that I may be here for Thee,
give Thou Thyself to me
so that I may give myself to Thee.

Let nothing separate me from Thee,
and let all things work together
to bring me to Thee in faith, in hope, in love,
and in adoration.

Let me believe in Thee for those who do not believe in Thee;
hope in Thee for those who do not hope in Thee;
love Thee for those who do not love Thee;
and adore Thee for those who do not adore Thee,
especially for those of Thy priests who find themselves far from Thee,
in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Go Thou in search of them, O Jesus,
and send Thy Holy Angels out to find them wherever they may be;
and bring them back to Thee
who awaitest their return to Thy altars
and to Thy Heart
in this Most Holy Sacrament. Amen.

Adoration Is Not Idleness

| | Comments (0)

Cristo di Pinturicchio.jpg

You do not yet understand the value and the meaning
of what you are doing
when you abide in adoration before My Eucharistic Face.
You are participating in a divine work, in a work of grace.
You are before Me as an empty vessel
to be filled with the power and sweetness of the Holy Spirit,
that souls might drink of My Love
and, drinking, see that My Love is sweeter than any earthly delight.

You are before Me as the intercessor i
n whose soul the Holy Spirit is sighing with ineffable groanings,
and obtaining from My Father, through Me,
all that the Father desires to give My priests
in this world and in the next.

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

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

When you are before Me,
you are with Me 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.

When you are in adoration before My 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 My work in you.
This is a work that many will criticize and not understand.
You are here in a divinely active collaboration with Me,
who from the Sacrament of My Love,
continue My priestly mediation before the Father
on behalf of poor sinners.

Never doubt of the value of your hours of adoration.
It is this that I have asked you to do,
and I will draw from your presence in the sanctuary
a great good and a superabundance of graces for My priests.

From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest

Ven FJ Sheen.JPG

In our monastery, and for those who are associated it with it, every Thursday is a day of adoration and reparation for priests. The Venerable Fulton J. Sheen is an example of perseverance in adoration and in reparation, and this over a lifetime. I ask him today to intercede for Silverstream Priory and for all priests.

How it grieves My Heart when the unique love I offer a soul
is spurned, or ignored, or regarded with indifference.
I tell you this so that you may make reparation to My Heart
by accepting the love I have for you
and by living in My friendship.
Receive My gifts, My kindnesses, My attention, My mercies
for the sake of those who refuse what I so desire to give them.
Do this especially for My priests, your brothers.

I would fill each one of My priests with My merciful love,
I would take each one into the shelter of My wounded Side,
I would give to each one the delights of My Divine Friendship,
but so few of My priests accept what I desire to give them.
They flee from before My Face.
They remain at a distance from My open Heart.
They keep themselves apart from Me.
Their lives are compartmentalized.
They treat with Me only when duty obliges them to do so.
There is no gratuitous love,
no desire to be with Me for My own sake,
simply because I am there in the Sacrament of My Love,
waiting for the companionship and friendship of those
whom I have chosen and called from among millions of souls
to be My priests
and to be the special friends of My Sacred Heart.

Would that priests understood
that they are called not only to minister to souls in My Name,
but even more to cling to Me,
to abide in Me, to live in Me and for Me, and by Me and no other. . .

So many of My priests have never really heard and understood
the invitation to an exclusive and all-fulfilling friendship with Me.
And so, they feel alone in life.
They are driven to seek out in other places
and in creatures unworthy of the undivided love of their consecrated hearts,
the fullness of happiness, and hope, and peace that only I can give them.
So many go forward in bitterness and disappointment.
They seek to fill the emptiness within with vain pursuits,
with lust, with possessions, with food and drink.
They have Me, very often, near to them
in the Sacrament of My Love,
and they leave Me there alone,
day after day and night after night.

Oh, how My Heart longs to raise up
a company of priest-adorers
who will make reparation for their brother priests
by abiding before My Eucharistic Face.
I will pour out the treasures of My Eucharistic Heart upon them.
I want to renew the priesthood in My Church,
and I will do it beginning with a few priests
touched to the quick by My friendship,
and drawn into the radiance of My Eucharistic Face.
The graces stored up in My Heart for priests are inexhaustible,
but so few open themselves to receive them.

From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest

Reparation

| | Comments (0)

Istituzione dell'Eucaristia.jpeg

Prayer of Reparation to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus


O Lord Jesus Christ present in this wonderful sacrament,
I desire at this hour to make reparation to Thy Eucharistic Heart
and to open myself to Thy Love
for the sake of priests grown lukewarm in Thy friendship
and for those who refuse or ignore it.

Increase Thou my faith,
that I may believe firmly
in the truths and mysteries Thou hast revealed to Thy Church,
for the sake of those who do not believe.

By my attention to Thy Eucharistic Heart,
I desire to make up for indifference to Thy Love,
for coldness, and for irreverence in Thy sacramental presence.

By my gratitude to Thy Eucharistic Heart,
I desire to make up for ingratitude toward Thee
Who remainest hidden and forgotten
in the tabernacles of so many locked churches.

By my trust in Thy Eucharistic Heart,
permit me, sinner though I am ,
to make up for those who do not trust Thee,
for those who are afraid to trust Thee, and for those whose trust in Thy Love
has been weakened by sins of scandal,
by the weight of life's hardships,
or by the painful losses they have endured.

By my hope in Thy Eucharistic Heart,
I desire to help those tempted to despair of Thy Mercy.
Allow me, I beseech Thee,
to hope for those who have no hope
and, because Thou didst pour out Thy Blood for them,
let not one of them be lost (cf. Jn 17:12).

In spite of my weakness and inconstancy,
I desire, by this humble act of reparation
to obtain for all who yearn for Thy friendship,
a share in the unspeakable sweetness
experienced by Thy beloved disciple Saint John
when he rested his head upon Thy Heart
on the night before Thy Sacred Side was opened by the soldier's lance.

By surrendering myself to the Love of Thy Eucharistic Heart,
grant that I might serve to repair
the brokenness of those who, among Thy priests,
are the most wounded and fragile.

By the mysterious workings of Thy Holy Spirit,
and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
let the prayer of reparation and adoration
Thou hast inspired me to offer in Thy presence
bring reconciliation to those alienated from Thy Church,
healing to souls in need of Thy mercy,
and choice graces to all Thy priests. Amen.

EUCARISTIA+E+ANGELI.JPG

Be for Me another John,
a friend for My Heart,
a consoler in My loneliness,
an advocate on behalf of poor sinners
and, especially on behalf of fallen priests,
and of those who have lost hope in My infinite mercy.

Be a companion for Me in the Sacrament of My Love,
the Sacrament of My Divine Companionship for every human wayfarer
in this valley of tears.
I remain unknown.
I am left alone.
Even those who claim to profess
the mystery of My real presence
in the Sacrament of the Altar
forsake Me.

I am treated with a terrible indifference,
with coldness,
and with a lack of respect
that causes the Angels to weep
because they cannot offer me reparation
for the coldness and indifference of human hearts.
Only men can make reparation for men.
What is lacking is the loving response of a human heart
to My Eucharistic Heart,
pierced, alive, and beating in the Sacrament of the Altar.
Only a human heart can make reparation for a human heart.

For this reason the Angels are sorrowful.
The adoration and the praise they offer Me is angelic.
It is the expression of the perfections I have place
in their angelic nature.
Without ever dying, they immolate themselves before Me
in the tabernacles where I dwell on earth
by lowering themselves in the most humble adoration
and by placing all their angelic perfections
--their beauty, their strength, their intelligence--
beneath My feet.
The Angels are like living flames
who burn in My Eucharistic presence
without ever being consumed.

For all of this, My Angels cannot replace
a single human heart in My presence.
What I look for from men,
what I wait for, above all, from My priests,
my Angels cannot give Me.

And so I turned to Saint John to comfort Me;
to love when the love of others grew cold;
to hope in Me when the trust of others was shaken;
to remain faithful to Me when the faith of others was put to the test.

John was, among the Apostles, My loving friend,
My adorer, the one who understood the mystery of reparation to My Heart.
John made reparation for Peter's denial of Me,
not by standing in judgment over Peter,
whom he honoured and loved as a father,
but by weeping with Peter,
and by offering himself in reparation for Peter's fall.

Again, it was John who offered Me faithful love
in exchange for Judas; faithless betrayal.
He made reparation to My Heart that suffered so grievously
when Judas walked out of the Cenacle into the night.
In that moment, John gave Me all the love of his heart,
begging Me to accept it
in reparation for Judas' cold and calculated plot against Me.

Be another Saint John for My Heart.
Offer Me reparation by offering Me yourself
in the place of those who flee from before My Eucharistic Face;
in the place of those who cannot bear to remain
in my presence, close to My Heart;
in the place of those priests of Mine
who have time for all else save for Me.

Give Me your companionship,
give Me your confidence,
give Me your grateful affection.
Let nothing keep you from carrying out this design of Mine.
One who makes reparation for My priests
will discover on the last day
that His own sins, though they be many,
will be covered over by a single act of reparation,
for reparation is the exercise of love,
and love covers a multitude of sins.

Love Me, and you will fulfill all that I am asking of you.
Love Me, and I will fulfill all that you ask of Me. . . .
I desire a company of Johannine souls, priest adorers and reparators,
and upon them I will pour out rivers of grace
for the renewal of My priesthood
and the joy of My Spouse, the Church.

From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of A Priest

eucaristia.jpg

This morning Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Roman Curia. In the course of the exchange of Christmas greetings, His Holiness spoke of the experience of Eucharistic Adoration at World Youth Day.

Silence Before the Lord
A third element, that has an increasingly natural and central place in World Youth Days and in the spirituality that arises from them, is adoration. I still look back to that unforgettable moment during my visit to the United Kingdom, when tens of thousands of predominantly young people in Hyde Park responded in eloquent silence to the Lord's sacramental presence, in adoration.
Physical Presence of the Risen Christ
The same thing happened again on a smaller scale in Zagreb and then again in Madrid, after the thunderstorm which almost ruined the whole night vigil through the failure of the microphones. God is indeed ever-present. But again, the physical presence of the risen Christ is something different, something new. The risen Lord enters into our midst. And then we can do no other than say, with Saint Thomas: my Lord and my God!
An Act of Faith
Adoration is primarily an act of faith - the act of faith as such. God is not just some possible or impossible hypothesis concerning the origin of all things. He is present. And if he is present, then I bow down before him. Then my intellect and will and heart open up towards him and from him.
Adoration Determines My Life
In the risen Christ, the incarnate God is present, who suffered for us because he loves us. We enter this certainty of God's tangible love for us with love in our own hearts. This is adoration, and this then determines my life. Only thus can I celebrate the Eucharist correctly and receive the body of the Lord rightly.

Into the Shelter of My Wounded Side

| | Comments (1)

santo volto rembrandt.jpg

How it grieves my Heart
when the unique love I offer a soul
is spurned, or ignored, or regarded with indifference.
I tell you this so that you may make reparation to my Heart
by accepting the love I have for you
and by living in my friendship.

Receive my gifts, my kindnesses,
my attention, my mercies
for the sake of those who refuse what I so desire to give them.
Do this especially for my priests, your brothers.

I would fill each one of my priests with my merciful love,
I would take each one into the shelter of my wounded Side,
I would give to each one the delights of my Divine Friendship,
but so few of my priests accept what I desire to give them.
They flee from before my Face.
They remain at a distance from my open Heart.
They keep themselves apart from me.
Their lives are compartmentalized.
They treat with me only when duty obliges them to do so.
There is no gratuitous love,
no desire to be with me for my own sake,
simply because I am there in the Sacrament of my Love,
waiting for the companionship and friendship
of those whom I have chosen and called
from among millions of souls to be my priests
and to be the special friends of my Sacred Heart.

Would that priests understood that they are called
not only to minister to souls in my Name,
but even more to cling to me, to abide in me,
to live in me and for me, and by me and no other.

I want you to tell priests of the desires of my Heart . . .
Make known to them these things that I have made known to you.
So many of my priests have never really heard and understood
the invitation to an exclusive and all-fulfilling friendship with me.
And so, they feel alone in life.
They are driven to seek out in other places
and in creatures unworthy of the undivided love of their consecrated hearts,
the fullness of happiness, and hope, and peace
that only I can give them.
So many go forward in bitterness and disappointment.
They seek to fill the emptiness within with vain pursuits,
with lust, with possessions, with food and drink.
They have me, very often, near to them in the Sacrament of my Love,
and they leave me there alone,
day after day and night after night.

Oh, how my Heart longs to raise up a company of priest-adorers
who will make reparation for their brother priests
by abiding before my Eucharistic Face.
I will pour out the treasures of my Eucharistic Heart upon them.
I want to renew the priesthood in my Church,
and I will do it beginning with a few priests
touched to the quick by my friendship,
and drawn into the radiance of my Eucharistic Face.

From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest

The "Yes" of Even One Soul

| | Comments (3)

MartinottiCristoAllaPorta.jpg

No soul need ever be afraid of meeting my gaze,
for in my eyes there is naught but mercy and love.
Those who turn away from my gaze,
those who fear the encounter with me face-to-face,
are those who fall away from my love.

I call you to a life of adoration
so that you might contemplate my Face
and read thereon all the love of my Sacred Heart for poor sinners,
and especially for my priests.

Whenever a soul seeks my gaze,
my Heart is moved to show that soul an immense pity,
to lift her out of the sin into which she has fallen,
to bind up her wounds,
and restore her to the joys of friendship with my Heart.

When a priest begins to avoid looking at my Face,
he has begun to alienate himself from the merciful love of my Heart.
This will he begin, little by little,
to lose confidence in my mercy,
to consent to sin,
and to descend into the darkness of a life
from which I have been exiled.

Look upon me for those who turn away from me.
Seek my Face for those who avoid my Divine gaze.
Accept my friendship for those who refuse it.
Remain with me for those who flee from my presence.

This is the reparation I ask of you.
Offer yourself to me as did the little Thérèse;
thus will you allow me to love you freely,
and through you, my merciful love will triumph
even in the souls of hardened sinners.

The "Yes" of even one soul to my Merciful Love
is of immense benefit to a multitude of souls
who fear to say it,
or who are hardened in the refusal of my love.

From In Sinu Iesu, the Journal of a Priest

Madre_Mectilde_5072.jpg

Today I am continuing my translation of Mother Mectilde's introduction to her Constitutions on the Rule of Saint Benedict and, once again, adding something in the way of a commentary after each section.

They will be victims to repair by their purity of intention the worship that wicked priests take away from the Most Holy Sacrament when they make use of this august Sacrament for their own gain, and for a thousand other criminal designs.

Catherine Mectilde de Bar is acutely sensitive to the grandeur of the priesthood and to the frailty of those who bear in their souls its indelible character. She knows that the priest has power over the real and mystical Body of Christ; she also knows that the power of the priest over the Body of Christ can be abused and misused. This tragic reality causes her intense sorrow and compels her to make adoration in reparation for priests, be they wicked, or simply weak.

Mother Mectilde grieves over priests who celebrate Holy Mass hastily, irreverently, carelessly, or without a suitable preparation and thanksgiving. She grieves over priests who offer the Holy Sacrifice having a material interest in mind, that is, the stipend or offering of the faithful. She grieves over priests who ascend the altar in a state of grave sin and, thus, offend Our Lord by their sacrilege.

None of these concerns of Mectilde de Bar, and none of her motives for reparation are limited to 17th century France. They are, in fact, as relevant today as they were four hundred years ago.

Mother Mectilde was a friend and correspondent of Saint John Eudes. She reflects the Norman missionary's understanding of the priesthood, derived from that of Pierre de Bérulle and the other luminaries of the École française. She saw to it that the Feast of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, for which Saint John Eudes composed the Proper Office, was celebrated in the monasteries of her Institute.

tableau_01_800.jpg

In The Priest, His Dignity and Obligations, Saint John Eudes writes:

The priest is a mediator between God and man, causing the Eternal Father to be known, loved, adored and served, as well as feared, by men. His office is to make known the will of God to men, urging them to be faithful to their every duty. His concern is to be devoted unceasingly to "the things that appertain to God" (Heb. 5, 1).
The priest is one of the chief parts of the Mystical Body of Christ because he occupies the principal parts of that Body, namely, the head, the eyes, the mouth, the tongue and the heart. He is the head with the Chief Shepherd, sharing the right to rule and govern in His place. He is the eyes watching over the other members to enlighten and guide them, and to weep over them when they sin.
The priest is the mouth and the tongue to speak the language of heaven, to utter on all occasions the words of eternity. He is the heart circulating the blood stream of Christ's Precious Blood to quicken and vivify the other members, that their works and functions may be ennobled and perfected.
A holy priest is a saviour and another Christ, taking the Master's place on earth, representing Him,clothed with His authority, acting in His name, adorned with His qualifications, exercising His judgment on earth in the tribunal of penance. He is consecrated to exercise the highest functions Christ ever performed on earth, to continue the work of salvation. In imitation of His Redeemer he gives himself, mind, heart, affections, strength, time, all for God. He is ever ready to sacrifice his very blood and even life itself to procure the salvation of souls, particularly those of his own flock.
He is a god, living and walking on earth; a god by grace and by participation, clothed with the perfections and attributes of God, namely, His divine authority, power, justice, mercy, charity, benignity, purity and holiness. He is a god delegated to carry on God's noblest works, the sacerdotal and pastoral duties, as great Saint Dionysius says: Omnium divinorum divinissimum est cooperari Deo in salutem animarum. "The most divine of all divine things is to cooperate with God in the salvation of souls."
Saint Gregory Nazianzen asserts that the priest is a "God who makes gods," Deus deos efficiens, that is, Christians who are given the name of gods in Sacred Scripture.

Holy Face Icon.jpg

ADORATION AND REPARATION FOR PRIESTS
A PRAYER FOR THURSDAY


Lord Jesus Christ,
moved by the Holy Spirit,
and full of confidence in the help
of Thy Most Holy Mother,
I offer Thee this Thursday,
and every Thursday for the rest of my life,
in thanksgiving for the Sacrament
of Thy Most Holy Body and Blood,
and in adoration and reparation
for all the priests of Thy Church,
especially for those who do not adore Thee,
for those who are wounded in their souls,
and for those who are exposed to the attacks of the powers of darkness.

For them and in their place,
allow me to abide before Thy Eucharistic Face.
In their name, let me draw near to Thy open Heart,
ever-flowing with the Blood and the Water
that purify, heal, and sanctify all souls,
but, first of all, those of Thy priests.

Eternal High Priest,
Make me an entirely Eucharistic soul,
according to the desires of Thy Sacred Heart
and the designs of Thy merciful goodness
upon my life.
I desire only to love Thee more each day,
and to be, by Thy grace,
the faithful adorer of Thy Eucharistic Face
and the consoling friend of Thy Sacred Heart
hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
where it beats, wounded by love, forgotten, forsaken,
and waiting for the adoration and for the love of even one priest. Amen.

Adoration: the Angelic Life

| | Comments (0)

resurrezione.jpg

They praised Thy victorious hand, O Lord,
with one accord, alleluia:
for wisdom opened the mouth of the dumb,
and made the tongues of infants vocal with praise,
alleluia, alleluia (Wis 10:21-22).

Praise of Wisdom

Today's Introit, the fifth of eight given us by the Church during this week of glory, is drawn from the 10th chapter of the book of Wisdom. The passage that is sung in the Introit is best understood by placing it in its context: a praise of the wonders wrought by Holy Wisdom during the Exodus.

She . . . led them out on their miraculous journey, affording them shelter by day and starry radiance by night. She made a passage for them through the Red Sea, brought them safely through those leagues of water, and churned up the bodies of their drowned enemy from those unfathomed depths. So, enriched by the spoils of the godless, they extolled, O Lord, thy holy name, proclaimed with one voice thy sovereign power; Wisdom opened the dumb mouths, and made the lips of infants vocal with praise (Wis 10:17-21).

The Mysteries of Initiation

Who is Holy Wisdom? As we know from the Great O Antiphon of December 17th, Wisdom, Sapientia, designates none other than Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of the Father. The Church confesses that Christ led out the catechumens on their miraculous journey into the font of Holy Baptism, and out of the font to the altar of His Sacrifice. The neophytes are characterized, above all, by the praise of Christ that comes to flower on their lips in the celebration of the Eucharist.

The Gift of Praise

Divine grace confers upon the soul the gift of praise. Before Baptism, we are all dumb, that is, incapable of offering to God what the Letter to the Hebrews calls "a continual sacrifice of praise to God, the tribute of lips that give thanks to his name" (Heb 13:15).

Little Children

The grace of Christ makes the lips of infants vocal with praise. Who are these infants? Our Lord himself reveals their identity. "At that time, Jesus was filled with gladness by the Holy Spirit, and said, O Father who art Lord of heaven and earth, I give thee praise that thou hast hidden all this from the wise and the prudent, and revealed it to little children. Be it so, Lord, since this finds favour in thy sight" (Lk 10:21).

A Grave Spiritual Sickness

A soul that finds it tedious to lift her voice to God in praise, a soul that has forgotten the language of thanksgiving, of blessing, of adoration, is suffering from the gravest spiritual sickness: self-absorption. What is the remedy for self-absorption? The recovery of grateful awe in the presence of God. The rediscovery of the infinite beauty of God, of the immensity of His Mercy, of the splendour of His Truth. If we confess our sins, beginning with the pernicious sin of self-absorption, the mercy of God will render us capable of confessing Him, that is, of praising Him in awestruck awareness of His majesty.

The Angels

A soul preoccupied with herself cannot move beyond herself into the praise taught us by the Angels. The Angels have no eyes for themselves. They have eyes only for God. Seeing God as He is, they ceaselessly cry out, "Holy, Holy Holy!" What Pope Benedict XVI said in September 2007 at the Abbey of Heiligenkreuz in Austria is perhaps what we most need to hear in those moments when, being entrapped within our limitations, we cannot move beyond them to praise. Listen to the Holy Father:

In the life of monks . . . prayer takes on a particular importance: it is the heart of their calling. Their vocation is to be men of prayer. In the patristic period the monastic life was likened to the life of the angels. It was considered the essential mark of the angels that they are adorers. Their very life is adoration. This should hold true also for monks. Monks pray first and foremost not for any specific intention, but simply because God is worthy of being praised. Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus! - Praise the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy is eternal!": so we are urged by a number of Psalms (e.g. Ps 106:1). Such prayer for its own sake, intended as pure divine service, is rightly called officium. It is "service" par excellence, the "sacred service" of monks. It is offered to the triune God who, above all else, is worthy "to receive glory, honour and power" (Rev 4:11), because he wondrously created the world and even more wondrously renewed it.

Pray today that the Adorable Body and Precious Blood of Christ may heal us of the paralysis of self-absorption, and sanctify our tongues for the praise of Him who waits for us, at every moment, to "sing to Him a new song" (Ps 98:1).

Christ Waits for His Priests

| | Comments (0)

-1.jpg

I wait for my priests.
I long to see them enter my sanctuary
and approach the tabernacle of my abiding presence.

I wait for them
in the Sacrament that I left for their sakes
as the expression of my Divine Friendship for my priests,
as their consolation in loneliness,
their strength in weakness,
their sweetness in life's bitterness.

When my priests seek my company
I am moved to show them the compassionate love of my Heart.
When they draw near to me
it is because I have already drawn near to them,
set my gaze upon them,
given them my Heart's love of predilection,
and claimed them for myself
and for my Bride, the Church.

If they come in search of my Eucharistic Face,
it is because the light of my Face
has already illumined their darkness.
Some see the light of my Face
and walk in its radiance.

Others see it and turn away,
choosing darkness over my light.
Even among my priests
there are those who forsake the light of my Face
for the demon-infested darkness
that will lead to their destruction.

How I grieve over those of my priests who turn from me.
How I grieve over those of my priests
who pretend not to have seen my light
nor to have recognized my Face.
These, like Peter in his weakness,
deny having known me.

Still, I wait for them to turn to me.
My Face is, at every moment, turned towards them.
I will give them light to return to me.
I wait for them in the Sacrament of my Love.

From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of A Priest

708px-Gesù_Bambino_addormentato_sulla_Croce.JPG

This painting by Guido Reni, dating from 1625, shows the Infant Jesus asleep on the Cross with the Crown of Thorns and the Nails on the ground before Him. He is, moreover, naked, just as He will be naked on Calvary. He sleeps; it signifies the sleep of the New Adam upon the nuptial bed of the Cross, during which the New Eve, the Church, comes forth from His Sacred Side, washed clean in the water and the blood of His Sacred Heart. This is a theme not uncommon in the art of the Catholic Reformation. Was Caryll Houselander influenced by one of these images when she wrote The Passion of the Infant Christ?

Saint Benedict's Teaching

Marianna, a reader of Vultus Christi wrote me the other day, asking me the meaning of Saint Benedict's words in the Prologue of the Holy Rule, "sharing in the sufferings of Christ through patience, so as to share also in his kingdom." (RB Pro: 50)

Patientia

Patience derives from the Latin patior, meaning to suffer, to undergo, to bear, or to endure. The connotation of Saint Benedict's patientia is a humble acceptance of the hard and painful things that come upon us, motivated by a desire to imitate Our Lord Jesus Christ and to be united to Him in His love of the Father and in His obedience to the Father's will. Saint Benedict is telling us that by accepting the weaknesses, losses, detachments, and other sufferings that come upon us in the course of a day or a lifetime, and by uniting our acceptance of these painful things to the Passion and Death of Christ, we will, at length, come to share in the glory of HIs Kingdom.

With Christ Priest and Victim

Saint Benedict's teaching is consoling to all those who ask if suffering can have any meaning or value. He is, in fact, echoing the teaching of the Apostle Saint Paul who, in Colossians 1:24, writes: "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church." Saint Paul is writing here of the sufferings of the whole Christ, Head and Members. Christ continues to suffer in His the members of His Mystical Body. Our sufferings are His and His are ours. Christ the Head of the Mystical Body, and our Eternal High Priest, associates His members, and all the sufferings they endure in union with Him, to His Sacrifice and to His triumph. Every suffering accepted in union with Our Lord's obedient love for the Father becomes, by the grace of Holy Spirit, meritorious and fruitful for the whole Church.

The Morning Offering

The so-called Morning Offering is a simple way of freely choosing to "share in the sufferings of Christ through patience" -- that is, through the painful or costly things that may come upon us in the course of a day -- and of giving to those sufferings a supernatural worth. Thus do we begin to live in communion with Christ, Priest and Victim. This is why I pray, and invite others to pray each day:

The Morning Offering for Priests

Father most holy, *
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 Fathers N. and N.,]
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).

Most merciful 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 Ghost (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.

Thursday

| | Comments (0)

PICT0513.jpg

PRAYER FOR THURSDAY

Lord Jesus Christ,
moved by the Holy Spirit,
and full of confidence in the help
of Thy Most Holy Mother,
I offer Thee this Thursday,
and every Thursday for the rest of my life,
in thanksgiving for the Sacrament
of Thy Most Holy Body and Blood,
and in adoration and reparation
for all the priests of Thy Church,
especially for those who do not adore Thee,
for those who are wounded in their souls,
and for those who are exposed to the attacks of the powers of darkness.

For them and in their place,
allow me to abide before Thy Eucharistic Face.
In their name, let me draw near to Thy open Heart,
ever-flowing with the Blood and the Water
that purify, heal, and sanctify all souls,
but, first of all, those of Thy priests.

Eternal High Priest,
Make me an entirely Eucharistic soul,
according to the desires of Thy Sacred Heart
and the designs of Thy merciful goodness
upon my life.
I desire only to love Thee more each day,
and to be, by Thy grace,
the faithful adorer of Thy Eucharistic Face
and the consoling friend of Thy Sacred Heart
hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
where it beats, wounded by love, forgotten, forsaken,
and waiting for the adoration and for the love of even one priest. Amen.

I offer Thee this Thursday . . .

| | Comments (1)

Wider Altar Exposition.jpg

PRAYER FOR THURSDAY

Lord Jesus Christ,
moved by the Holy Spirit,
and full of confidence in the help
of Thy Most Holy Mother,
I offer Thee this Thursday,
and every Thursday for the rest of my life,
in thanksgiving for the Sacrament
of Thy Most Holy Body and Blood,
and in adoration and reparation
for all the priests of Thy Church,
especially for those who do not adore Thee,
for those who are wounded in their souls,
and for those who are exposed to the attacks of the powers of darkness.

For them and in their place,
allow me to abide before Thy Eucharistic Face.
In their name, let me draw near to Thy open Heart,
ever-flowing with the Blood and the Water
that purify, heal, and sanctify all souls,
but, first of all, those of Thy priests.

Eternal High Priest,
Make me an entirely Eucharistic soul,
according to the desires of Thy Sacred Heart
and the designs of Thy merciful goodness
upon my life.
I desire only to love Thee more each day,
and to be, by Thy grace,
the faithful adorer of Thy Eucharistic Face
and the consoling friend of Thy Sacred Heart
hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
where it beats, wounded by love, forgotten, forsaken,
and waiting for the adoration and for the love of even one priest. Amen.

Madonna con San PG Eymard.jpg

Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament with Saint Peter Julian Eymard
Chiesa di Santa Maria di Piazza, Torino, Italy


On this Thursday, Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I thought it would be good to remind readers of Vultus Christi that every Thursday invites us to adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and supplication before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus. The Rosary is a simple way of abiding in Our Lord's presence, and of obtaining, through the maternal Heart of Mary, graces of healing and sanctification for priests.

Prayer for Thursday

Lord Jesus Christ,
moved by the Holy Spirit,
and full of confidence in the help
of Thy Most Holy Mother,
I offer Thee this Thursday,
and every Thursday for the rest of my life,
in thanksgiving for the Sacrament
of Thy Most Holy Body and Blood,
and in adoration and reparation
for all the priests of Thy Church,
especially for those who do not adore Thee,
for those who are wounded in their souls,
and for those who are exposed to the attacks of the powers of darkness.

For them and in their place,
allow me to abide before Thy Eucharistic Face.
In their name, let me draw near to Thy open Heart,
ever-flowing with the Blood and the Water
that purify, heal, and sanctify all souls,
but, first of all, those of Thy priests.

Eternal High Priest,
Make me an entirely Eucharistic soul,
according to the desires of Thy Sacred Heart
and the designs of Thy merciful goodness
upon my life.
I desire only to love Thee more each day,
and to be, by Thy grace,
the faithful adorer of Thy Eucharistic Face
and the consoling friend of Thy Sacred Heart
hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
where it beats, wounded by love, forgotten, forsaken,
and waiting for the adoration and for the love of even one priest. Amen.

18thAleppoHumiliatIcon.jpg

Photo: 18th century tabernacle door, Aleppo.

Offer Yourself Again and Again

It is good that you should renew the offering of yourself to Our Lord; it is a necessity of love. The beloved offers herself again and again to her lover, and so must you offer yourself again and again to the love of the Heart of Jesus, so as to live in a constant state of offering and of openness to His love for you.

Reparation

Has He called you to a life of reparation? Very few souls understand that a creature can console her God, and that God should desire the consolation of a mere creature, even of one created in His image and likeness.

Created for Infinite Love

God is Love and the Source of all Love, and the life of the Most Holy Trinity is a circulation of living Love that is perfect, complete, and utterly sufficient unto itself. But this same Love was poured out in creation and, in creating man, the Word gave Himself a being capable of receiving His infinite Love and of responding to it with a love like unto His own. Man cannot contain infinite Love, but he can be contained by it and lifted up into its current of life, sharing in the life of the Most Holy Trinity by means of union with the Son, and by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thus does the Father see in every soul united to the Son by grace the one Object of His eternal Love and the reflection of His Face.

Priests, Victims, Friends, Consolers

From among these brothers of His, sons of the Eternal Father, sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus chooses some in whom He desires to reproduce His victimal priesthood. These He chooses to drink of His chalice and to ascend with Him the altar of the Cross by offering His sacrifice day after day in the sacramental form that He left to His Church on the night before He suffered. These priests of His are also the friends whom He chooses to enter into the sorrows of His Heart and to console Him through the ages.

Divine Affliction

When His love is spurned, when the gift of His Body and Blood is not recognized (discerned), when it is not received worthily and adored by loving and grateful hearts, Our Lord suffers a divine affliction. That is to say that He is wounded in Love, wounded in His Heart. He looks to His beloved priests to console Him and to make up for the coldness, the cruel indifference, the ingratitude, and the irreverence that He suffers hidden in the Sacrament of My Love.

Console Him in His Suffering

There is a consolation that only Jesus' priests sojourning on earth, in the valley of the shadow of death, can offer Him. Only those who live for the altar and from the altar can give Him the consoling and adoring Love that delivers Him from the sorrow that constrains His Sacred Heart.

This is a mystery, a mystery of Love: that He am who is all-glorious and the source of heaven's glory and bliss should, nonetheless, suffer the effects of man's refusal to respond to His Eucharistic Love with love.

Adoration, Reparation, Healing for Priests

Our Lord asks His priests to offer themselves as victims of adoration and reparation to His offended and outraged Eucharistic Love. Remember the Reproaches of the Good Friday liturgy that express so well His Heart's sorrows and His grievances against His people. Who will come forward to offer Him a kiss, not of betrayal, but of faithful love and of consolation? This is the privilege, first of all, of Our Lord's beloved priests. He has chosen His priests to live this mysterious vocation of adoration and reparation. It is not difficult to carry out what He has asked of us. Give Him your presence. Offer Him your companionship. Abide in the radiance of His Eucharistic Face. Offer yourself to His Eucharistic Heart to be loved, and transformed, and used as an instrument of love and of healing for all His priests, your brothers.

AgonyInGarden.jpg

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.

S Jn-M Vianney et S PJ Eymard.jpg

For the Year of the Priest: a painting of Saint John Mary Vianney with his friend, Saint Peter Julian Eymard

Saint Peter Julian Eymard is one of the principal patrons of the work of the Cenacle here in Tulsa. On the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1857 Saint Peter Julian Eymard inaugurated the solemn exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament by which the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament came to life. This week's move to a leased house in Tulsa better suited to a life of prayer and hospitality, and the need for funds to build the new Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle, dedicated to Eucharistic adoration for the sanctification of priests, compel me once again to propose the following novena for those who care to make it with me from January 6-14. It would be grand if those making the novena would leave a word in the comment box letting me know it!

Some readers of Vultus Christi may recall that on October 26, 2007 I wrote:

The desire of the Heart of Jesus is that there should be priest adorers and reparators: priests who will adore for those who do not adore, priests who will make reparation for those who do not. Our Lord asks me -- and will ask other priests as well -- to remain in adoration before His Eucharistic Face, offering all the priests of the Church to His Open Heart present in the Sacrament of His Love.

This inspiration was confirmed by the splendid letter of Cardinal Hummes, published on December 7, 2007, inviting to adoration and reparation for priests.

A Daunting Proposition

The Church is blessed with any number of communities of fervent Benedictines, who glorify Our Lord according to the gifts imparted to them, but nowhere does Our Lord find a house of priest-adorers to keep Him company in the Sacrament of His Love, and to offer themselves for their brother priests. The establishment of a new monastery is a daunting proposition. I might be tempted to lose heart, were it not for Our Lord's assurance that the measure of one's weakness is the measure of the deployment of His grace.

The Gospel tells us: God is the highest priority. If anything in our life deserves haste without delay, then, it is God's work alone. The Rule of Saint Benedict contains this teaching: "Place nothing at all before the work of God (i.e. the divine office)". For monks, the Liturgy is the first priority. Everything else comes later. In its essence, though, this saying applies to everyone. (Pope Benedict XVI, Christmas 2009)

Work for Priests

The traditional Benedictine framework and the commitment to the choral liturgy will protect the life of adoration and the work for priests: the interior work of self-oblation in all things, and the exterior works of hospitality, spiritual counsel, and availability to priests in their times of need and inner darkness.

Assent to the Divine Friendship

At the heart of this special vocation is the assent to Our Lord's Divine Friendship, the "yes" to His merciful love uttered on behalf of all priests through a prolonged daily presence in adoration before His Eucharistic Face.

Our Lord desires with an immense desire to purify, and heal, and sanctify His priests. This He does, and will do, by drawing them into the radiance of His Eucharistic Face and the warmth of His Eucharistic Heart. We priests all too easily forget that Our Lord Jesus Christ is present in the Sacrament of His Love to offer us all the good things that come from friendship: companionship, conversation, joy, comfort, hospitality, strength and, above all, love.

Friends of His Heart

Our Lord is hidden in the Blessed Sacrament; His Face is veiled by the sacramental species and His Heart, too, is hidden. He is, nonetheless, really present as True God and True Man, alive, seeing all, knowing all, and burning with desire that all should come to His tabernacles but, first of all, the priests whom He has chosen to be His intimate friends, the friends of His Heart.

A priest who, in adoration, assents to the friendship of Christ, will want for nothing and will make great strides along the path of holiness. Virtue is not difficult for one who abides in the friendship of Christ. The friendship of Jesus for His priests needs to become the subject of conversations, of reflection, of study, and of preaching; more than anything else it needs to become the lived experience of every priest.

Our Lady and Saint John

A priest who abides in the friendship of Christ will accomplish great and wonderful works for souls. This is the secret of a fruitful priesthood. From her place in heaven, Our Blessed Lady is entirely devoted to keeping priests faithful to the Divine Friendship. Saint John, the Beloved Disciple, also intercedes for priests, that they might persevere in the way of friendship with Our Lord and find their joy in the love of His Heart.

The Remedy

Priests who come to adore the Eucharistic Face of Jesus will quickly discover His Heart and, in His Heart they will discover the friendship for which He created them and to which He calls them. The single greatest deficiency of the clergy is that so many priests are ignorant of the tenderness and strength and fidelity of Our Lord's friendship for them. How can this deficiency be remedied? By adoration before the Eucharistic Face of Christ. This is the raison d'être of my work in the Diocese of Tulsa. Pray, then, that the radiance of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus will reach an ever greater number of priests, until, in all the Church, the Priesthood of Christ shines with all the splendour of His own holiness.

Epiphany Novena in Honour of Saint Peter Julian Eymard
January 6 -- 14, 2010

Recited after Lauds:

Antiphon: And when they were come into the house,
they found the Child with Mary His Mother,
and fell down and adored Him.

V. Arise, shine, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come.
R. And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

Let us pray.

O God, who by the leading of a star,
didst manifest Thine Only-Begotten Son to the Gentiles,
mercifully grant that we,
having been led unto Him by the light of faith,
may, with grateful hearts,
ceaselessly adore Him present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar,
Who is our Mighty King, our Great High Priest, and our Immaculate Victim,
and Who liveth and reigneth with Thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.
Amen.

Recited after Vespers:

Antiphon: The Priests shall be holy;
for the offerings of the Lord made by fire,
and the bread of their God, they do offer,
therefore they shall be holy.

V. Pray for us, Saint Peter Julian.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God, Who through the preaching and example of Saint Peter Julian Eymard,
didst renew the priesthood of Thy Church in holiness
and inflame many souls with zeal
for the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar;
we beseech Thee, through his intercession,
to gather priests of one mind and one heart,
from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof,
to keep watch in adoration before the Eucharistic Face
of Thine Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ
and to abide before His Open Heart,
in reparation for those who forsake Him, hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
and in thanksgiving for the mercies that ever stream
from the Sacred Mysteries of His Body and Blood.
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.
Amen.

Priests Who Pray

| | Comments (2)

gesu-e-il-discepolo.jpg

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]

Jeroni_Jacint_Espinosa,_Adoració_de_l'Eucaristia,_1650.jpg

At no time and in no place does the particular vocation of our little monastery come into focus more clearly than on Thursdays when we succeed each other in adoration and reparation before Our Lord's Eucharistic Face, repeating at the beginning of our watch:

Lord Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim,
behold, I kneel before Thy Eucharistic Face
on behalf of all Thy priests:
(Fathers N. and N.)
and especially those priests of Thine,
who at this moment are most in need
of Thy grace.
For them and in their place,
allow me to remain,
adoring and full of confidence,
close to Thy Open Heart,
hidden in this, the Sacrament of Thy Love.

Through the Sorrowful and Immaculate
Heart of Mary,
our Advocate and the Mediatrix of All Graces,
pour forth upon all the priests of Thy Church
that torrent of mercy that ever flows
from Thy pierced side:
to purify and heal them,
to refresh and sanctify them,
and, at the hour of their death,
to make them worthy of joining Thee
before the Father in the heavenly sanctuary
beyond the veil (Hb 6:19)
where Thou art always living
to make intercession
for us (Hb 7:25). Amen.

An adorer of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus is happy to take his place before the altar. He makes his own the psalmist's inspired words:

My heart hath said to thee: My face hath sought thee:
thy face, O Lord, will I still seek.
Turn not away thy face from me.
(Psalm 26: 8-9)

Behold, O God our protector: and look on the face of thy Christ.
For better is one day in thy courts above thousands.
(Psalm 83:9-10)

I am always with thee.
Thou hast held me by my right hand;
and by thy will thou hast conducted me, and with thy glory thou hast received me.
For what have I in heaven? and besides thee what do I desire upon earth?
For thee my flesh and my heart hath fainted away:
thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever.
For behold they that go far from thee shall perish:
thou hast destroyed all them that are disloyal to thee.
But it is good for me to adhere to my God, to put my hope in the Lord God:
That I may declare all thy praises, in the gates of the daughter of Sion.
(Psalm 72: 24-28)

An adorer of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus opens his inmost soul to the radiance of Our Lord's sacramental countenance. He exposes himself to the One who is exposed before his eyes, and asks to be wounded with the love of His Eucharistic Heart. Enboldened by the words of the Bridegroom in the Canticle, he dares to pray:

"Wound my heart with the love of the Eucharistic Heart.
Make me completely Thine.
Unite me to Thyself in the indestructible bond of Thy Divine Friendship.
Do for me, and in me, and through me,
all that Thou desirest to do for, and in, and through each one of Thy priests.
Let me offer myself to the Mercy which others refuse;
let me believe in the Love that others doubt;
let me accept the Friendship that others ignore
because I am a poor sinner amidst poor sinners,
and because I, even more than others,
have betrayed Thy Mercy, spurned Thy Love, and abused Thy Friendship.

My confidence is immense
because Thou art Love
and because Thou offerest the Friendship of Thy Heart
even to those sinners who have offended Thee most grievously.
Remove then from my soul every obstacle to Thy grace
and every resistance to Thy loving friendship,
until I am completely and forever Thine,
for Thy glory
and for the sake of Thy beloved priests.
Amen."

An adorer of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus prays as the Holy Spirit inspires him to pray: at times in an adoring silence, at times groaning and in tears, and at times in words as they are given him to utter.

Beloved Jesus,
Thou knowest all things and Thou searchest the hearts of men,
despising iniquity, and ready, at every moment,
to purify and heal tem
by a powerful and gentle infusion of Thy Mercy.

To all that Thou art and to all that Thou wouldst do in me,
I say "Yes."
I surrender entirely to the operations of Thy merciful Love
and to the action of the Holy Spirit.
I am all Thine,
and I abandon myself to Thy own burning desire to become my All.
Thou, O Jesus, art enough for me
for in Thee alone lies the happiness
for which Thou didst create me
and which Thou desirest to give me in this life
and in eternity. Amen."

crocefisso_volto[1].jpg

This magnificent Face of Christ is a detail of the 12th century ivory crucifix of Canosa di Puglia, Italy. Of Byzantine origin, the crucifix is masterpiece of extraordinary beauty and theological significance. It presents the Cross, not as the gibbet, but rather as the royal throne of Love Crucified. The kingship of Christ shines through the Face marked by suffering and, yet, radiant. The eyes are closed, but the effect is one of majesty. The hair and beard are depicted with great attention. The halo bears the sign of the Cross.

Our little Benedictine monastery has a special "vocation within a vocation" to keep watch before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus and to console His priestly Heart. Every Thursday calls us to the Cenacle where Jesus, Priest and Victim, offered Himself to the Father and consecrated His Apostles into the mystery of His own victimal priesthood. We prolong our hours of adoration of Thursday by replacing one another before the altar where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the monstrance.

O my beloved Jesus,
I adore Thee and confess Thee truly present here before my eyes
in this, the Sacrament of Thy Love.
Let me adore Thee for those of Thy priests who do not adore Thee.
Let me believe in Thy real presence for those whose faith has grown weak.
Let me love Thee for those priests of Thine whose hearts have grown cold towards Thee in this Sacrament.
And let me hope in Thee for those whose lives are dark with hopelessness.

Turn upon them all, O Jesus, the light of Thy Eucharistic Face.
Let not a single priest of Thine remain in the outer darkness
where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Send to them Thy holy Angels to guide their steps to Thy sanctuaries
and to lead them to the foot of Thy tabernacles,
where Thou waitest for them,
ready to heal them,
to cleanse them of their sins,
and to grace them with the sweetness of Thy Eucharistic Friendship.

Though we are few, beloved Jesus,
receive our hours of adoration for the sake of all Thy priests,
and by the prayers of Thy Most Holy Mother,
deign to make fruitful the time Thou givest us to spend before Thy Eucharistic Face,
close to Thy Open Heart.

Take the little we offer Thee, Lord Jesus,
and multiply its effects for the sanctification of Thy priests,
for the joy of Thy Church,
and for the glory of Thy Father. Amen.

willie_doyle_sj-21.jpg

"O my God, I burn with desire for the sanctification of Thy priests."

On this feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola, I am pleased to offer a prayer by the saintly Irish Jesuit Father William Doyle. Those familiar with Father Willie's writings will recognize straightaway his distinctive blend of manly fervour and passion for the Most Holy Eucharist.

O my God, pour out in abundance Thy spirit of sacrifice upon Thy priests.
It is both their glory and their duty to become victims,
to be burnt up for souls,
to live without ordinary joys,
to be often the objects of distrust, injustice, and persecution.

The words they say every day at the altar,
"This is my Body, this is my Blood,"
grant them to apply to themselves:
"I am no longer myself, I am Jesus, Jesus crucified.
I am, like the bread and wine, a substance no longer itself,
but by consecration another."

O my God, I burn with desire for the sanctification of Thy priests.
I wish all the priestly hands which touch Thee were hands whose touch is gentle and pleasing to Thee,
that all the mouths uttering such sublime words at the altar should never descend to speaking trivialities.

Let priests in all their person stay at the level of their lofty functions,
let every man find them simple and great, like the Holy Eucharist,
accessible to all yet above the rest of men.
O my God, grant them to carry with them from the Mass of today,
a thirst for the Mass of tomorrow,
and grant them, ladened themselves with gifts,
to share these abundantly with their fellow men. Amen.

Mystical Tonsure.jpg

A Reminder

From time to time, I like to remind regular readers of Vultus Christi of the Thursdays of Adoration and Reparation for Priests.

An Hour Before His Eucharistic Face

I also want to invite new readers to consider making a commitment to spend one hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament every Thursday in intercession and reparation for priests.

The hour may be made before the tabernacle or before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. Should it be impossible to make it before the Blessed Sacrament, one can, from any place, offer it in spirit before the tabernacle in the world where Our Lord is most forsaken, neglected, and forgotten.

O my beloved Jesus,
I give and consecrate to Thee this Thursday and all the Thursdays of my life,
in praise of the adorable Mystery of Thy Body and Blood,
and in thanksgiving for that of the Priesthood.

Moved by Thy Holy Spirit,
and full of confidence in the help of Thy Most Holy Mother, the Virgin Mary,
Mother of Priests,
I resolve to live each Thursday for the rest of my days here below
in adoration and in reparation for priests
and, especially, for those who do not adore Thee,
for those who are most wounded in their souls,
and for those who are exposed to the attacks of the powers of darkness.
I want to remain before Thy Eucharistic Face for them and in their place;
I want to draw near, in their name, to Thy open Heart,
ever-flowing with the Blood and the Water that purify,
heal, and sanctify all souls,
but, first of all, those of Thy priests.

Let each Thursday find me close to the Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood,
in adoration and reparation for the sake of all Thy priests.
Make me an entirely Eucharistic soul,
according to the desires of Thy Sacred Heart
and the designs of Thy merciful goodness upon my life.
I desire nothing else.
I want to love Thee more each day;
I want to be the faithful adorer of Thy Eucharistic Face
and the consoling friend of Thy Sacred Heart
hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
where it beats, wounded by love, forgotten, forsaken,
and waiting for the adoration and for the love of even one priest.
Amen.

20280N.JPG.jpg

VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text of the letter Cláudio Cardinal Hummes, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, wrote in preparation for The Year of the Priest, which will begin on June 19th.

Dear Priests,

That Priests May Be Happy and Holy

The Year for Priests, announced by our beloved Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the death of the saintly Curé of Ars, St. John Mary Vianney, is drawing near. It will be inaugurated by the Holy Father on the 19th June, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. The announcement of the Year for Priests has been very warmly received, especially amongst priests themselves. Everyone wants to commit themselves with determination, sincerity and fervor so that it may be a year amply celebrated in the whole world -- in the Dioceses, parishes and in every local community -- with the warm participation of our Catholic people who undoubtedly love their priests and want to see them happy, holy and joyous in their daily apostolic labors.

The Church Is Proud of Her Priests

It must be a year that is both positive and forward looking in which the Church says to her priests above all, but also to all the Faithful and to wider society by means of the mass media, that she is proud of her priests, loves them, honors them, admires them and that she recognizes with gratitude their pastoral work and the witness of the their life. Truthfully priests are important not only for what they do but also for who they are. Sadly, it is true that at the present time some priest have been shown to have been involved in gravely problematic and unfortunate situations. It is necessary to investigate these matters, pursue judicial processes and impose penalties accordingly. However, it is also important to keep in mind that these pertain to a very small portion of the clergy. The overwhelming majority of priests are people of great personal integrity, dedicated to the sacred ministry; men of prayer and of pastoral charity, who invest their entire existence in the fulfillment of their vocation and mission, often through great personal sacrifice, but always with an authentic love towards Jesus Christ, the Church and the people, in solidarity with the poor and the suffering. It is for this reason that the Church is proud of her priests wherever they may be found.

Days of Recollection and Spiritual Exercises

May this year be an occasion for a period of intense appreciation of the priestly identity, of the theology of the Catholic priesthood, and of the extraordinary meaning of the vocation and mission of priests within the Church and in society. This will require opportunities for study, days of recollection, spiritual exercises reflecting on the Priesthood, conferences and theological seminars in our ecclesiastical faculties, scientific research and respective publications.

The Eucharist: Heart of Priestly Spirituality

The Holy Father, in announcing the Year in his allocution on the 16th March last to the Congregation for the Clergy during its Plenary Assembly, said that with this special year it is intended "to encourage priests in this striving for spiritual perfection on which, above all, the effectiveness of their ministry depends". For this reason it must be, in a very special way, a year of prayer by priests, with priests and for priests, a year for the renewal of the spirituality of the presbyterate and of each priest. The Eucharist is, in this perspective, at the heart of priestly spirituality. Thus Eucharistic adoration for the sanctification of priests and the spiritual motherhood of religious women, consecrated and lay women towards priests, as previously proposed some time ago by the Congregation for the Clergy, could be further developed and would certainly bear the fruit of sanctification.

Priests in Poverty and Hardship

May it also be a year in which the concrete circumstances and the material sustenance of the clergy will be considered, since they live, at times, in situations of great poverty and hardship in many parts of the world.

Priestly Communion and Friendship

May it be a year as well of religious and of public celebration which will bring the people -- the local Catholic community -- to pray, to reflect, to celebrate, and justly to give honor to their priests. In the ecclesial community a celebration is a very cordial event which expresses and nourishes Christian joy, a joy which springs from the certainty that God loves us and celebrates with us. May it therefore be an opportunity to develop the communion and friendship between priests and the communities entrusted to their care.

Local Churches

Many other aspects and initiatives could be mentioned that could enrich the Year for Priests, but here the faithful ingenuity of the local churches is called for. Thus, it would be good for every Dioceses and each parish and local community to establish, at the earliest opportunity, an effective program for this special year. Clearly it would be important to begin the Year with some notable event. The local Churches are invited on the 19th June next, the same day on which the Holy Father will inaugurate the Year for Priests in Rome, to participate in the opening of the Year, ideally by some particular liturgical act and festivity. Let those who are able most surely come to Rome for the inauguration, to manifest their own participation in this happy initiative of the Pope.

God will undoubtedly bless with great love this undertaking; and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Clergy, will pray for each of you, dear priests.

Cardinal Cláudio Hummes
Archbishop Emeritus of São Paulo
Prefect, Congregation for the Clergy

Adoration at Home

| | Comments (4)

P Mateo SSCC.jpg

Judging from some recent comments, I think it may be helpful to say something about the practice of Eucharistic adoration in the home for those who, for one reason or another, cannot go to a church or chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. The zealous apostle of this kind of adoration in the home was a priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary of Perpetual Adoration, Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey (1875-1960). Father Mateo wrote:

Not every one is able to make the hour of Eucharistic Adoration in the church, particularly at night. Must they be deprived, then, of the honor and privilege of consoling the Divine Prisoner, alone and forsaken in so many tabernacles? By no means! In the sanctuary of their homes, let them prostrate themselves in spirit before the tabernacle, and, in union with the Priests who at that moment, in some part of the world, are offering the Sacrifice of Calvary to the Trinity, let them adore, praise, petition and atone in the name of their own and other families who offend and sadden the Sacred Heart by their daily denial of His rights as King.

It is helpful to make one's adoration at home in front of a blessed image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or of the Holy Face. There are many people suffering from chronic illnesses, who are unable to go to a church where the Blessed Sacrament is present. They are not deprived of the graces flowing from Eucharistic adoration, and their prayer, even if it is made from a sickbed or a chair, is all the more precious in the sight of Our Lord, insofar as they unite it with patience to His own sufferings. One might say something like this;

Lord Jesus Christ,
my desire and the intention of my heart
is to pray before Thy holy image as if I were in Thy Eucharistic presence.
Transport my soul before the tabernacle where
Thou art most forsaken at this hour,
and there let me offer Thee my desire to adore Thee,
and my love,
in a spirit of reparation.

Or, like this:

Receive this time before Thee
as an act of adoration and reparation directed to Thee
in the Most Blessed Sacrament,
especially in that tabernacle on earth where Thou art most forsaken.
Make me, especially for the sake of Thy priests and for their sanctification,
a faithful adorer of Thy Eucharistic Face
and of Thy Open Heart hidden in the Sacrament of Thy Love.
Trusting that faith, hope, and love abolish every distance
and transport the soul straightway to the object of its desire,
I will adore Thee now with the same sentiments
of thanksgiving, confidence, and pleading love
that I would have,
were I prostrate before the Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood
hidden in the tabernacle, or exposed to my gaze upon the altar.

When a Priest Goes Astray

| | Comments (5)

Man in Fog.jpg

Shepherds in the Mist

Not very long ago I finished reading a soul-stirring book: Shepherds in the Mist, by E. Boyd Barrett. Barrett, a Jesuit priest who went astray and then found his way back to the Church, published the odyssey of his own conversion in 1949. In telling the story of his own struggle, Father Barrett, had but one purpose: to move souls to pray for priests, especially for fallen priests, for priests wounded in spiritual combat, and for priests momentarily blinded by passion. In the Preface to his book, Father Barrett writes:

I know that you, fellow Catholics, have charity in your hearts for priests in trouble. I know that you pray for them. But you will want to know, among other things, if there is any way in which you can help them, over and above praying for them. And you will want to be encouraged to pray even more than you are praying and to sacrifice yourselves even more than you are doing for their sakes.
But, besides thinking of you, fellow Catholics of good standing, I am also thinking of our Shepherds in the mist. Some of them will read this book. There are things I want to tell them. Above all, I want to disabuse them of their fear that you have feelings of dislike and resentment against them. I want to tell them that the one burning thought in your minds is how to induce them to come home. I want to reassure them of the fact that it is not hard to come home -- to reassure them that, however rugged his exterior may seem, Peter is kind and gentle with the kindliness and gentleness of Christ.
When a son runs away from home, his mother's one thought is how to get him back again. She worries over his loneliness and sufferings. It is of the dangers that he is in that she thinks, and of the hardships he is undergoing -- not of the faults he has committed. She does not remember the wrong her son has done her by running away; but she dreams of the joy it will be for her when he returns.

Peace and Rest on the Heart of Christ

In 1948 when Father Barrett wrote his book, he was particularly concerned with the plight of priests who, like himself, left the Church and went into the night searching for happiness, wholeness, and love. After an initial period of euphoric relief, most found a gnawing discontent instead of happiness. Further fragmentation instead of wholeness. Loneliness instead of love. The world proved deceiving and its promises empty. Some, like Father Barrett, returned to full sacramental life in the Church, and found peace of heart and rest on the Heart of Christ.

In the Shadows

The past forty years have seen another kind of clerical misery: that of the priest who, while remaining in the Church and keeping up a modicum of outward conformity to what is expected of him, withdraws into a parallel universe of shadows and secrecy. Addictions and vices of all sorts flourish under cover of darkness. The heart of such a priest is painfully divided; the fissure opened by the metastatizing roots of vice exposes the heart to every kind of spiritual infection.

The Drama of Father X

The experience of Father X may help readers to understand how a priest, in spite of all the graces freely offered him, can lose his way.

Off to a Bad Start

Father X was ordained less than ten years at the time of his fall from grace. Intelligent, winning, handsome, and sincere in his youthful desire for holiness, he was "cultivated" by the superior of the religious community who recognized his gifts. He joined the community and, being the superior's protégé, enjoyed a continuous stream of privileges, gifts, opportunities, and promotions.

Late Glittering Nights

A popular guest at ecclesiastical dinner parties and worldly social engagements, Father X enjoyed the compliments and flattery lavished on him wherever he went. Late glittering nights, fine eating and drinking, and stimulating but superficial conversation began to take their toll on his relationship with God. He became addicted to compliments and flattery, and lost his need for silent adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. He began excusing himself from community prayer, from community meals, and community recreation.

Satiety and Emptiness

Admirers showered him with gifts of all sorts. His room became elegantly comfortable; he acquired a taste for the costly and the chic. His magnetism, popularity, and good looks attracted to his religious community the interest of the powerful and the contributions of the wealthy. While his superior looked on approvingly, Father's life became a whirlwind as he rushed from one social or cultural event to another. Increasingly, between events, he began to experience moments of emptiness and solitude. When an illicit relationship presented itself, offering a new and higher dose of flattery, and a certain measure of relief from loneliness, Father X fell into it.

The Crash

After a few months the other party in the relationship demanded a measure of commitment that Father X was incapable of giving. Hurt and disappointed, she went public with her anger. As a result of her disclosures, Father X was ordered to withdraw from public ministry and provided with "professional" help. The underlying spiritual crisis was not, however, addressed. Without a humble surrender to the grace of Christ and to the maternal mediation of the Blessed Virgin Mary how will Father X be able to reactivate the sacramental grace of his priestly ordination, and so salvage his vocation?

What Could Have Been

Looking at Father X's story one can see the real downward spiral began when he stopped praying. Had Father X gone to Confession weekly, remained faithful to daily Mass, to the Divine Office, to Eucharistic adoration, the rosary, lectio divina, and the examination of his conscience, he could have stopped the impending spiritual disaster. Had his superior not been in complicity with his worldly successes, and exercised the vigilance of a true spiritual father, he could have been spared the wreckage of his vocation. Had his brethren, instead of whispering about his absences from community exercises and gossiping about his late nights out, gone to him offering wise counsel and support, he could have been pulled back from the edge of the miry pit. Had Father X, when confronted with the temptation of an illicit relationship, gone to a spiritual father and revealed his situation with humility and complete transparency, he would have found "grace in time of need" and much pain would have spared the other party.

Father X's issues were, I think, more spiritual than affective or psychological. Will he be able to turn his life around and return to the love he had at first? This depends, I think, not only on Father X's cooperation with the unfailing grace of Christ, but also on the supplication and reparation of those who, participating in the merciful advocacy of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests, accept to abide before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus for the sake of all priests, and especially for the most needy and broken among them.

Disclaimer: Father X, even if his story resembles that of hundreds of priests, is no one priest in particular. His story is a fictional composite based on the convergence of the experiences of priests of entirely different times, places, and backgrounds.

JP II rosaryjpg.jpg

On this Thursday, the 4th anniversary of the death of the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, I beg your prayers, dear readers of Vultus Christi, for a very important intention.

Of You I Ask Something More

| | Comments (2)

Francisco Ribalta san Bernardo.jpg

"So few souls remember to thank Me after receiving My Body and Blood. This is true even of my priests -- my priests, my friends, my chosen ones from whom I expect more, from whom I desire more.
Hearts have grown cold and indifferent towards Me in this the Sacrament of My Love. For many, receiving Me has become a routine action devoid of faith and with no manifestation of adoration and of love. How has My Church come to this?
I will raise up holy priests to rekindle a burning love for the Most Holy Eucharist in the hearts of my faithful. I am calling many priests to adore My Eucharistic Face and to approach My Open Heart in the Sacrament of My Love. These are the priests whom I will use to minister first to their own brothers in Holy Orders and then, through them, to vast multitudes of souls who have never understood the mysteries of My Body and Blood offered to the Father and given up for the life of the world.
It is in these few precious moments after Holy Communion that My Heart seeks to hold conversation with My friends, but so many turn away from Me to busy themselves about many things. Of you . . . I ask something more. Remain with Me for these few moments. Listen for the sound of My voice in your heart. Know that My desire is to speak to you and to listen to all that you have to tell Me. It is in these moments that I am most disposed to grant the requests made of Me in faith."

catherineSienaCommunion.jpg

For this Thursday of Adoration and Reparation for Priests, here is a particularly poignant passage from The Dialogue of Saint Catherine of Siena. The image is Giovanni da Paola's Saint Catherine of Siena Receiving Holy Communion from the Hand of Christ. Saint Catherine receives Holy Communion with her arms crossed over her breast, just as Eastern Christians do today. In the classic iconography of the Annunciation, this is the gesture of the Virgin Mary giving her assent to the Archangel Gabriel and receiving the Word in her womb. In the panel on the right a priest stands at the altar offering Holy Mass. Note the little Friar Preacher kneeling on the altar step.

Ministers of the Sun
I have shown you, dearest daughter, a sample of the excellence of good priests (for what I have shown you is only a sample of what that excellence really is), and I have told you of the dignity in which I have placed them, having elected them for My ministers, on account of which dignity and authority I do not wish them to be punished by the hand of seculars on account of any personal defect, for those who punish them offend Me miserably. But I wish seculars to hold them in due reverence, not for their own sakes, as I have said, but for Mine, by reason of the authority which I have given them. Wherefore this reverence should never diminish in the case of priests whose virtue grows weak, any more than in the case of those virtuous ones of whose goodness I have spoken to you; for all alike have been appointed ministers of the Sun--that is of the Body and Blood of My Son, and of the other Sacraments.
Priests in A Condition of Light
This dignity belongs to good and bad alike--all have the Sun to administer, as has been said, and perfect priests are themselves in a condition of light, that is to say, they illuminate and warm their neighbors through their love. And with this heat they cause virtues to spring up and bear fruit in the souls of their subjects. I have appointed them to be in very truth your guardian angels to protect you; to inspire your hearts with good thoughts by their holy prayers, and to teach you My doctrine reflected in the mirror of their life, and to serve you by administering to you the holy Sacraments, thus serving you, watching over you, and inspiring you with good and holy thoughts as does an angel.
They Are My Christs
See, then, that besides the dignity to which I have appointed them, how worthy they are of being loved; when they also possess the adornment of virtue, as did those of whom I spoke to you, which are all bound and obliged to possess, and in what great reverence you should hold them, for they are My beloved children and shine each as a sun in the mystical body of the holy Church by their virtues, for every virtuous man is worthy of love, and these all the more by reason of the ministry which I have placed in their hands. You should love them therefore by reason of the virtue and dignity of the Sacrament, and by reason of that very virtue and dignity you should hate the defects of those who live miserably in sin, but not on that account appoint yourselves their judges, which I forbid, because they are My Christs, and you ought to love and reverence the authority which I have given them.
Badly Ordered Priests
You know well that if a filthy and badly dressed person brought you a great treasure from which you obtained life, you would not hate the bearer, however ragged and filthy he might be, through love of the treasure and of the lord who sent it to you. His state would indeed displease you, and you would be anxious through love of his master that he should be cleansed from his foulness and properly clothed. This, then, is your duty according to the demands of charity, and thus I wish you to act with regard to such badly ordered priests, who themselves filthy and clothed in garments ragged with vice through their separation from My love, bring you great Treasures--that is to say, the Sacraments of the holy Church--from which you obtain the life of grace, receiving Them worthily (in spite of the great defects there may be in them) through love of Me, the Eternal God, who send them to you, and through love of that life of grace which you receive from the great treasure, by which they administer to you the whole of God and the whole of Man, that is to say, the Body and Blood of My Son united to My Divine nature.
Pray for Them and Not Judge Them
Their sins indeed should displease you, and you should hate them, and strive with love and holy prayer to re-clothe them, washing away their foulness with your tears--that is to say, that you should offer them before Me with tears and great desire, that I may re-clothe them in My goodness, with the garment of charity. Know well that I wish to do them grace, if only they will dispose themselves to receive it, and you to pray for it; for it is not according to My will that they should administer to you the Sun being themselves in darkness, not that they should be stripped of the garment of virtue, foully living in dishonor; on the contrary I have given them to you, and appointed them to be earthly angels and suns, as I have said. It not being My will that they should be in this state, you should pray for them, and not judge them, leaving their judgment to Me.
If They Do Not Accept the Breadth of My Mercy
And I, moved by your prayers, will do them mercy if they will only receive it, but if they do not correct their life, their dignity will be the cause of their ruin. For if they do not accept the breadth of My mercy, I, the Supreme Judge, shall terribly condemn them at their last extremity, and they will be sent to the eternal fire.


Josefa Menendez: Confidence and Hope

| | Comments (0)

J.Menendez-274x369.jpg

At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to the little ones. Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in thy sight. (John 11:25-26)

Josefa Menendez (1890-1923), a Coadjutrix Sister of the Society of the Sacred Heart, is surely numbered among those little ones to whom it pleased the Father to reveal things hidden from the wise and prudent.

In many ways this "mystic in an apron" resembles Saint Faustina Kowalska. Josefa was a simple soul, docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and capable of listening to the inner voice of her Bridegroom. Our Lord spoke to Sister Josefa of his merciful love for souls and, very often, of priests and of the desires of His Sacred Heart for their holiness.

When Josefa's writings were edited in 1938, none other than Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, wrote to the Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart: "May [the publication of these pages] efficaciously contribute to develop in many souls a confidence ever more complete and loving in the infinite mercy of this Divine Heart towards poor sinners such as we all are."

For this Thursday of Adoration and Reparation for Priests, allow me to share a page or two from the writings of Josefa Menendez, together with some comments of my own:

To Them I Confide My Secrets
[Priests] live nearest me; they share in my choicest graces, and to them I confide my secrets, My desires . . . and my sufferings also. I have committed to them the care of My little children, their brothers, and through their ministry they must, directly or indirectly, guide them and transmit my teaching to them.

One of the dangers of the ecclesiastical state is the gradual concession to routine that makes a priest act like a functionary, even in carrying out the most sacred mysteries. Once a priest stops resting his head on the Heart of Jesus, he risks losing all contact with the stream of living water that he is called to transmit to souls.

When One Avoids Converse With Jesus
If these chosen souls know Me truly; they will make me known to others; if they love Me, they will make others love Me. But how can they teach their brethren if they hardly know Me themselves? I ask you: Can there be much love in the heart for One who is barely known? Or what intimate converse can be exchanged with One who is avoided . . . or in whom one has little confidence? . . .

Two things assure the fruitfulness of one's priesthood: frequent conversation with Jesus, particularly by means of daily Eucharistic adoration, and confidence in the abiding gift of His Divine Friendship.

Nothing New
This is precisely what I wish to recall to the minds of My chosen ones. Nothing new, doubtless, but they have need to reanimate their faith, their love, and their trust.

One of the indications that a charismatic locution may be authentic and trustworthy is that it announces nothing new. It is the transmission of the Eternal Word in other words. "Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today; and the same for ever. Be not led away with various and strange doctrines." (Hebrews 13:8-9)

Let Love Triumph Over Fear
I look for greater love and confidence in the way they treat Me. Let them seek Me within their own hearts, for they know that a soul in the state of grace is the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. And there, let them consider Me as I truly am, their God, but a God of love. Let love triumph over fear, and above all let them never forget that I love them.

Nothing so paralyzes the élan of soul Godward as does fear. It is touching that Josefa has Our Lord say to His priests, "Above all let them never forget that I love them."

Miseries, Failings, and Destitution
Many are convinced that was because of this love that they were chosen, but when they are cast down at the sight of their miseries, of their faults even, then they grow sad at the thought that I love them less than before. How little such souls really know Me. They have not understood My Heart. For it is their very destitution and failings that incline My goodness towards them. And, when acknowledging their helplessness and weakness, they humble themselves and have recourse to Me trustfully, then indeed they give Me more glory than before their fault.

Was it not so with Saint Peter after his triple denial of the Lord? He humbled himself, and had recourse to Jesus trustfully, thereby giving Him more glory than before his sin. "And he said to Him: Lord, Thou knowest all things: Thou knowest that I love thee." (John 21:17)

Confidence in Prayer
It is the same when they pray, either for themselves or for others; if they waver and doubt, they do not glorify my Heart, but they do glorify It, if they are sure that I shall give them what they ask, knowing that I refuse them nothing that is good for their souls.

Priests are called to intercessory prayer in union with the Eternal High Priest who, standing in the heavenly sanctuary before His Father, "always living to make intercession for us." (Hebrews 7:25)

The Man Who Knew the Heart of Jesus
When the Centurion came to beg Me to cure his servant, he said very humbly: "I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof" . . . and faith and trust prevailing, he added: "Say but the word, and my servant shall be healed." This man knew My Heart. He knew that I could not resist the prayer of one who trusted me absolutely. He gave me much glory, for to humility he joined confidence. Yes, this man knew my Heart, yet I made no manifestations to him as I have to My chosen ones.

It pleased our Lord to recall to Josefa episodes familiar to her from her meditation of the Gospels and from the liturgy. This too is an argument in favour of the authenticity of her special graces: they draw upon and send her back to the Word of God and to the liturgy of the Church.

Hope Obtains Innumerable Graces
Hope obtains innumerable graces for self and for others. I want this to be thoroughly understood, so that My Heart's goodness may be revealed to those poor souls who as yet do not know Me.

The priest must be, above all, a man of hope. He must hope for those who dare not hope, and trust in the goodness of the Heart of Jesus for those who have yet to discover it.

Spiritual Motherhood for Priests

| | Comments (7)

Mother of Priests detail.jpg

In a document from the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome, addressed to all the bishops of the Church on 7 December, 2007, we read:

The vocation to be a spiritual mother for priests is largely unknown, scarcely understood and, consequently, rarely lived, notwithstanding its fundamental importance. It is a vocation that is frequently hidden, invisible to the naked eye, but meant to transmit spiritual life.

A Little Catechism on Spiritual Motherhood for Priests

1. Who can become a spiritual mother to priests?

Any mature Catholic woman, already fully engaged in the sacramental life of the Church, can discern a call to the spiritual motherhood of priests. This spiritual motherhood can be lived in any state of life; it is open to single women, married women, mothers of families, widows, grandmothers, and religious in both the active and enclosed forms of consecrated life. None of its obligations bind under pain of sin. The vocation to the spiritual motherhood of priests is also compatible with the spirituality and obligations of Benedictine Oblates and of those who belong to one or another of the Third Orders: Franciscan, Dominican, Carmelite, Servite, etc.

2. What is spiritual maternity?

Spiritual maternity is a particular grace of the Holy Spirit by which a woman surrenders herself, body and soul, to the fruitful love of Christ, for the sake of His Bride the Church and for the glory of the Father, so that, through her offering, the particular priest entrusted to her, and all priests, may be purified, healed, and sanctified.

3. How does a woman express the grace of spiritual maternity.

A woman expresses the grace of spiritual maternity by imitating the hidden life of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, in the mystery of the Annunciation, consented to the enfleshment of the Word in her womb, and was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, so that through her, Christ, Priest and Victim, might enter the world, save it by His Sacrifice, and offer it back to the Father.

4. How does a woman live out this imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary?

A woman lives out this imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary by embracing the Will of God in joy and in sorrow, health and infirmity, prosperity and want, companionship and solitude, light and obscurity. In a word, she sees in every event of life an opportunity to enter, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, into the sacrifice of Christ the Priest.

In this way, a woman can participate in the spiritual fecundity of the Mother of the Redeemer who, by her constant intercession, cares for the gift of life that ever flows from the open Heart of her Son, and cooperates with a mother's love in the birth and upbringing of Christ's faithful, her children.

5. How is spiritual maternity related to the Priesthood?

Spiritual maternity in favor of priests derives from the special relationship of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Saint John, that Jesus Himself established when, from the altar of the Cross, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, thy son!" (Jn 19:26). "Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold, thy mother!'" (Jn 19:27).

While John -- representing all priests past, present, and to come -- had the power to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ in the unbloody renewal of His Sacrifice, Our Lady was charged with supporting all her priest-sons down through the ages by standing at their side, even as she stood by the Cross of her Son on Calvary. There, with her Immaculate Heart pierced by a sword of sorrow, she co-offered in silence the Sacrifice of her Son, Priest and Victim, and through Him, with Him, and in Him, offered herself to the Father.

6. What does this imply for a woman called to spiritual maternity
in favor of priests?


For a woman called to spiritual maternity in favor of priests, this implies a readiness to stand by all priests and, in particular, for the priest entrusted to her, in a ceaseless offering of adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and supplication. The Diocese of Tulsa is preparing a prayer book to help the spiritual mothers of priests fulfill this role.

7. What characterizes the adoration of a spiritual mother of priests?

In her adoration, a spiritual mother of priests looks to the Blessed Virgin Mary who, on August 21, 1879 at Knock in County Mayo, Ireland, manifested herself in reference to the immolated Lamb, the altar, and the Cross. The spiritual mother of priests draws near to Christ, the Eternal Priest and to the altar of His Cross so often as she participates in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. She adores the Lamb of God present on the altar during the Holy Sacrifice; she adores Him hidden in the tabernacle and exposed to her gaze in the monstrance. She offers herself in adoration for the sanctification of all priests, desiring with Our Lady, to see them become, in their liturgical service and in all of life, "true adorers, who shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth" (Jn 4:23).

8. What characterizes the thanksgiving of a spiritual mother of priests?

The thanksgiving of a spiritual mother of priests is, first of all, for the Priesthood of Jesus Christ prolonged in space and in time, from the rising of the sun to its setting, by means of the gift and mystery bestowed on the apostles in the Cenacle, and perpetuated in the Church so often as a bishop, a successor of the Apostles, lays hands on a man and pronounces over him the solemn prayer of sacerdotal consecration.

The thanksgiving of a spiritual mother of priests is, also, for the sacramental ministrations and fruits of the priesthood: first of all, for the Most Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of all Christian life; then for the preaching of the Word of God, the forgiveness of sins, the healing of the sick, deliverance from evil, comfort in affliction, and shepherding along the path that leads to holiness.

9. What characterizes the reparation of a spiritual mother of priests?

The reparation of a spiritual mother of priests seeks to console the Heart of Jesus who grieves over the coldness, offenses, and betrayals of His priests, and waits for them to return to Him, for He is merciful.

The spiritual mother prays for priests who fail to pray; adores the Most Blessed Sacrament for those who do not adore; listens to the Word of God for priests who neglect it; and seeks the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for those who have forgotten that she is their Mother and Advocate. She offers herself for the spiritual restoration and resurrection of priests who have fallen into patterns of sin; for the deliverance of priests oppressed by the powers of darkness; and for the healing of souls scandalized, alienated, or wounded by the sins of priests.

10. What characterizes the supplication of a spiritual mother of priests?

The supplication (or intercession) of a spiritual mother of priests draws its inspiration, first of all, from the Priestly Prayer that Our Lord Jesus Christ offered in the Cenacle on the night before He suffered: "Father . . . keep them clear of what is evil. They do not belong to the world, as I too, do not belong to the world; keep them holy, then, through the truth; it is Thy word that is truth" (Jn 17: 16-17). In their intercession for priests, spiritual mothers will also take to heart the words of the Apostle Paul: "Nothing must make you anxious; in every need make your requests known to God, praying and beseeching Him, and giving Him thanks as well" (Phil 4:5); and in another place, "And now, brothers and sisters, let us have your prayers, that the word of the Lord may run its course triumphantly with us . . . and that we may preserved from malicious interference" (2 Thess 3:1-2).

11. Are there any obstacles to spiritual motherhood for priests?

The obstacles to spiritual maternity are the same ones that would impede any growth in holiness: willful attachment to sin, the refusal to forgive another, hardness of heart, pride, and the other "root" or capital sins. The most effective means of overcoming the obstacles to holiness are frequent confession and Holy Communion; full, conscious and zealous participation in the liturgy of the Church; devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary (especially the Rosary); meditation of the Word of God; adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament; acts of penitence and mortification; and obedience to a spiritual father.

12. How does a woman go about becoming a spiritual mother to priests?

A woman who desires to become a spiritual mother to priests should ask her parish priest for the name of the priest charged by the bishop with promoting spiritual motherhood at the diocesan level. She should communicate with him and, after a suitable time of discernment and preparation, can make an act of dedication to spiritual mother on behalf of priests. The Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has developed a program to foster the formation and perseverance of women in the grace of spiritual maternity to priests.

Repos de St Jean.jpg

A Reminder

From time to time, I like to remind regular readers of Vultus Christi of the Thursdays of Adoration and Reparation for Priests.

An Hour Before His Eucharistic Face?

I also want to invite new readers to consider making a commitment to spend one hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament every Thursday in intercession and reparation for priests?

The hour may be made before the tabernacle or before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. Should it be impossible to make it before the Blessed Sacrament, one can, from any place, offer it in spirit before the tabernacle in the world where Our Lord is most forsaken, neglected, and forgotten.

O my beloved Jesus,
I give and consecrate to Thee this Thursday and all the Thursdays of my life,
in praise of the adorable Mystery of Thy Body and Blood,
and in thanksgiving for that of the Priesthood.

Moved by Thy Holy Spirit,
and full of confidence in the help of Thy Most Holy Mother, the Virgin Mary,
Mother of Priests,
I resolve to live each Thursday for the rest of my days here below
in adoration and in reparation for priests
and, especially, for those who do not adore Thee,
for those who are most wounded in their souls,
and for those who are exposed to the attacks of the powers of darkness.
I want to remain before Thy Eucharistic Face for them and in their place;
I want to draw near, in their name, to Thy open Heart,
ever-flowing with the Blood and the Water that purify,
heal, and sanctify all souls,
but, first of all, those of Thy priests.

Let each Thursday find me close to the Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood,
in adoration and reparation for the sake of all Thy priests.
Make me an entirely Eucharistic soul,
according to the desires of Thy Sacred Heart
and the designs of Thy merciful goodness upon my life.
I desire nothing else.
I want to love Thee more each day;
I want to be the faithful adorer of Thy Eucharistic Face
and the consoling friend of Thy Sacred Heart
hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
where it beats, wounded by love, forgotten, forsaken,
and waiting for the adoration and for the love of even one priest.
Amen.

Sant'Ambrogio scrivendo.jpg

I rejoice to celebrate the Votive Office and Mass of the Most Blessed Sacrament on Thursday whenever the rubrics permit it. At Matins I read Saint Ambrose (De Sacramentis 4:4); he is astonishing in his simplicity and clarity. How I love this text!

And yes, dear readers, that is a beehive resting on the book next to Saint Ambrose! So gifted was he at extracting spiritual honey from the Scriptures, and so sweet was his preaching to the palate of souls, that, in his iconography, he came to be depicted with bees and beehives.

The same symbolism is associated with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the Doctor Mellifluus (Honey-flowing Doctor) and "the last of the Fathers."

"Ergo non otiose, cum accipis,
tu dicis: Amen;
jam in spiritu confitens,
quod accipias corpus Christi.
Dicit tibi sacerdos: Corpus Christi:
et tu dicis: Amen.
Hoc est, verum.
Quod confitetur lingua,
teneat affectus."

"Therefore it is not idly that,
when thou art a-receiving, thou sayest: "Amen";
testifying in thine heart that
That which thou art taking is the Body of Christ.
The priest saith unto thee: "The Body of Christ!" and thou answerest: "Amen"
That is to say: "It is true." What then thy tongue confesseth, let thine heart hold to."

Look to Him and Be Radiant

| | Comments (2)

Eucharist Institution.jpg

O my beloved Jesus,
Son of the Father and His Eternal High Priest,
offering Thyself to Him perpetually in the sanctuary of heaven
and here in the Sacrament of Thy Redeeming Love,
I adore Thee.

I praise Thee that here I find Thy Eucharistic Heart,
open, ever-beating with love,
and covering with a flood of Blood and of Water
those who draw near to Thee in this Sacrament.

I praise Thee that here I behold Thy Eucharistic Face,
filling the shadows of this world with Thy deifying light,
and shining into the hearts of those who approach Thee
in faith, in hope, and in love.

I pray to Thee for Thy priests,
without whom this valley of tears would be
devoid of the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar,
without the adorable mysteries of the Thy life-giving Body and Blood,
and without Thy abiding real presence in the tabernacles of the world.

Sanctify thy priests, O Jesus!
Wash them in the Blood and Water gushing at every moment
from Thy Sacred Side
Heal them in the light of Thy Eucharistic Face and,
to do this, draw them all into Thy sacramental presence.

Let thy tabernacles magnetize their souls,
and the desire to abide before Thy Eucharistic Face
hold sway over their hearts.
Let Thy Sacred Body exposed in the monstrance
exercise over them the most compelling of all attractions.

Look today upon those priests who, for whatever reason,
have forgotten the way to Thy tabernacles
and rarely, if ever, stop all else
to rest their tired bodies and still their minds
before Thy Eucharistic Face,
and to adore Thee simply because . . . Thou art there.

Save thy priests in danger of falling into sin,
and lift those who have fallen,
so that, having confessed their faults and received absolution,
they may return to Thine altar and to the joy of their youth.

Let not one of Thy priests remain outside the radiance of Thy Eucharistic Face.
Draw them all out of this world's darkness
into Thy wonderful light,
that with the psalmist they might say not once,
but again and again:
"Look to Him and be radiant
and on your faces there will be no trace of shame."
Amen.

Adoration

| | Comments (1)

Eucharistic Meditation by Pope Benedict XVI
Lourdes, 14 September 2008

olbs2.JPG

Theological and Tender

The Holy Father's Eucharistic piety is at once tender and profoundly theological. He begins by relating the Real Presence to the promise of Our Lord at the moment of His Ascension.

Three times Pope Benedict XVI speaks of "the Sacred Host" as an epiphany of Love Crucified. Contemplation of the Sacred Host, the Victim, invites one to adores to make the oblation of himself. "Accept to offer Him your very lives," says the Holy Father.

Everything Came Through Mary, Even Christ

The Holy Father then elucidates the role of the Virgin Mary in the mystery of the Eucharist: "Everything," he says, "came from Christ, even Mary; everything came through Mary, even Christ." Rarely have I encountered a more compelling statement of Our Lady's universal mediation. Turning to Mary, who assists at every Eucharistic action of the Church, who stands at the side of every priest at the altar, and unites her Immaculate Heart even to the most solitary adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Pope invokes her directly.

In the Presence of His Wounds

Pope Benedict XVI points to the Sacred Wounds of Our Lord; wounds that He chose to keep in His glorious Body, wounds that remain, therefore, in the Most Holy Eucharist where they become the efficacious signs and instruments of His healing love. One hears in this section a touching echo of the Anima Christi: "In Thy Wounds hide me."

Eucharistic Saints of France

The Holy Father draws our attention to three French Eucharistic saints: the first is Saint Peter Julian Eymard, familiar to readers of Vultus Christi. I invoke him daily for the work of the Cenacle of Adoration here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and consider him a patron. Then he evokes Saint Bernadette, the child of the Immaculate, nourished by the Body and Blood of the Lamb. Finally, he presents Blessed Charles of Jesus, a spoiled aristocrat converted from a life of dissolution to a life of Eucharistic adoration crowned by martyrdom.

Witness Out of Silence

The Holy Father concludes by affirming the link between silent adoration and public witness. The two cannot be separated. He is perhaps returning to the idea of Dom Chautard's "soul of the apostolate," a work to which he already alluded in his homily at Mass on September 15th. And now, here is the Holy Father's text:

In His Presence

Lord Jesus, You are here!
And you, my brothers, my sisters, my friends,
 you are here, with me, in His presence!

Lord, two thousand years ago, You willingly mounted the infamous Cross in order then to rise again and to remain for ever with us, your brothers and sisters.

And you, my brothers, my sisters, my friends, you willingly allow Him to embrace you. We contemplate Him. We adore Him. 
We love Him. We seek to grow in love for Him. We contemplate Him who, in the course of His Passover meal, gave His Body and Blood to His disciples, so as to be with them "always, to the close of the age" (Mt 28:20).

Look Upon Him

We adore Him who is the origin and goal of our faith, Him without whom we would not be here this evening, without whom we would not be at all, without whom there would be nothing, absolutely nothing! Him through whom "all things were made" (Jn 1:3), Him in whom we were created, for all eternity, Him who gave us His own Body and Blood - He is here, this evening, in our midst, for us to contemplate. We love, and we seek to grow in love for Him who is here, in our presence, for us to look upon, for us perhaps to question, for us to love.

The Sacred Host Exposed to Our Sight

Whether we are walking or nailed to a bed of suffering; whether we are walking in joy or languishing in the wilderness of the soul (cf. Num 21:4): Lord, take us all into your Love; the infinite Love which is eternally the Love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father, the Love of the Father and the Son for the Spirit, and the Love of the Spirit for the Father and the Son. The Sacred Host exposed to our sight speaks of this infinite power of Love manifested on the glorious Cross. The Sacred Host speaks to us of the incredible abasement of the One who made himself poor so as to make us rich in Him, the One who accepted the loss of everything so as to win us for His Father. The Sacred Host is the living, efficacious and real Sacrament of the eternal presence of the Saviour of mankind to His Church.

Offer Him Your Lives

My brothers, my sisters, my friends, let us accept; may you accept to offer yourselves to Him who has given us everything, who came not to judge the world, but to save it (cf. Jn 3:17), accept to recognize in your lives the presence of Him who is present here, exposed to our sight. Accept to offer Him your very lives!

Our Lady of the Eucharist.jpg

Mary, the holy Virgin, Mary, the Immaculate Conception, accepted, two thousand years ago, to give everything, to offer her body so as to receive the Body of the Creator. Everything came from Christ, even Mary; everything came through Mary, even Christ.

The Holy Virgin Is With Us

Mary, the Holy Virgin, is with us this evening, in the presence of the Body of her Son, one hundred and fifty years after revealing herself to little Bernadette.

Holy Virgin, help us to contemplate, help us to adore, help us to love, to grow in love for Him who loved us so much, so as to live eternally with Him.
An immense crowd of witnesses is invisibly present beside us, very close to this blessed grotto and in front of this church that the Virgin Mary wanted to be built; the crowd of all those men and women who have contemplated, venerated, adored the Real Presence of Him who gave himself to us even to the last drop of Blood; the crowd of all those men and women who have spent hours in adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar.

Do Not Refuse His Love

This evening, we do not see them, but we hear them saying to us, to every man and to every woman among us: "Come, let the Master call you! He is here! He is calling you (cf. Jn 11:28)! He wants to take your life and join it to His. Let yourself be embraced by Him! Gaze no longer upon your own wounds, gaze upon His. Do not look upon what still separates you from Him and from others; look upon the infinite distance that he has abolished by taking your flesh, by mounting the Cross which men had prepared for Him, and by letting himself be put to death so as to show you His love. In His wounds, He takes hold of you; in His wounds, He hides you. Do not refuse His Love!"

0802Eymard.jpg

Contemplate the Wounds of Christ

The immense crowd of witnesses who have allowed themselves to be embraced by His Love, is the crowd of saints in heaven who never cease to intercede for us. They were sinners and they knew it, but they willingly ceased to gaze upon their own wounds and to gaze only upon the wounds of their Lord, so as to discover there the glory of the Cross, to discover there the victory of Life over death. Saint Pierre-Julien Eymard tells us everything when he cries out: "The holy Eucharist is Jesus Christ, past, present and future" (Sermons and Parochial Instructions After 1856, 4-2.1, "On Meditation").

Jesus Christ Past

Jesus Christ, past, in the historical truth of the evening in the Upper Room, to which every celebration of holy Mass leads us back.

Jesus Christ Present

Jesus Christ, present, because He said to us: "Take and eat of this, all of you, this is my Body, this is my Blood." "This is", in the present, here and now, as in every here and now throughout human history. The Real Presence, the Presence which surpasses our poor lips, our poor hearts, our poor thoughts. The Presence offered for us to contemplate as we do here, this evening, close to the grotto where Mary revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception.

Jesus Christ Coming

The Eucharist is also Jesus Christ, future, Jesus Christ to come. When we contemplate the Sacred Host, His glorious transfigured and risen Body, we contemplate what we shall contemplate in eternity, where we shall discover that the whole world has been carried by its Creator during every second of its history. Each time we consume Him, but also each time we contemplate Him, we proclaim Him until he comes again, "donec veniat". That is why we receive Him with infinite respect.

Spiritual Communion

Some of us cannot - or cannot yet - receive Him in the Sacrament, but we can contemplate Him with faith and love and express our desire finally to be united with Him. This desire has great value in God's presence: such people await His return more ardently; they await Jesus Christ who must come again.

BernadetteBest.jpg

When, on the day after her First Communion, a friend of Bernadette asked her: "What made you happier: your First Communion or the apparitions?", Bernadette replied, "they are two things that go together, but cannot be compared. I was happy in both" (Emmanuélite Estrade, 4 June 1958). Her Parish Priest made this testimony to the Bishop of Tarbes in regard to her First Communion: "Bernadette behaved with immense concentration, with an attention that left nothing to be desired ... she appeared profoundly aware of the holy action that was taking place. Everything developed in her in an astonishing way."

Saints of the Eucharist

With Pierre-Julien Eymard and Bernadette, we invoke the witness of countless men and women saints who had the greatest love for the holy Eucharist. Nicolas Cabasilas cries out to us this evening: "If Christ dwells within us, what do we need? What do we lack? If we dwell in Christ, what more could we desire? He is our host and our dwelling-place. Happy are we to be His home! What joy to be ourselves the dwelling-place of such an inhabitant!"

Charles_de_Foucauld.jpg

Blessed Charles of Jesus

Blessed Charles de Foucauld was born in 1858, the very year of the apparitions at Lourdes. Not far from his body, stiffened by death, there lay, like the grain of wheat cast upon the earth, the lunette containing the Blessed Sacrament which Brother Charles adored every day for many a long hour. Father de Foucauld has given us a prayer from the depths of his heart, a prayer addressed to our Father, but one which, with Jesus, we can in all truth make our own in the presence of the Sacred Host:

Prayer of Abandonment

"'Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.'
This was the last prayer of our Master, our Beloved.
May it also be our own prayer,
and not only at our last moment, but at every moment in our lives:
Father, I commit myself into Your hands;
Father, I trust in You;
Father, I abandon myself to You;
Father, do with me what You will;
whatever You may do, I thank You;
I thank You for everything; I am ready for all, I accept all;
I thank you for all.
Let only Your will be done in me, Lord,
let only Your will be done in all your creatures, in all Your children,
in all those whom your heart loves,
I wish no more than this,
O Lord. Into Your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to You, Lord, with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, and so need to give myself in love,
to surrender myself into Your hands,
without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for You are my Father."


Ermitage Foucauld.JPG

Remain Silent, Then Speak

Beloved brothers and sisters, day pilgrims and inhabitants of these valleys, brother Bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, all of you who see before you the infinite abasement of the Son of God and the infinite glory of the Resurrection, remain in silent adoration of your Lord, our Master and Lord Jesus Christ. Remain silent, then speak and tell the world: we cannot be silent about what we know. Go and tell the whole world the marvels of God, present at every moment of our lives, in every place on earth. May God bless us and keep us, may He lead us on the path of eternal life, He who is Life, for ever and ever. Amen.

Franc%C3%A8s%20Mass%20St%20Greg.jpg

Are you willing to commit yourself to one hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament every Thursday in intercession and reparation for priests? The hour may be made before the tabernacle or before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. Should it be impossible to make it before the Blessed Sacrament, one can, from any place, offer it in spirit before the tabernacle in the world where Our Lord is most forsaken, neglected, and forgotten.

O my beloved Jesus,
I give and consecrate to Thee this Thursday and all the Thursdays of my life,
in praise of the adorable Mystery of Thy Body and Blood,
and in thanksgiving for that of the Priesthood.

Moved by Thy Holy Spirit,
and full of confidence in the help of Thy Most Holy Mother, the Virgin Mary,
Mother of Priests,
I resolve to live each Thursday for the rest of my days here below
in adoration and in reparation for priests
and, especially, for those who do not adore Thee,
for those who are most wounded in their souls,
and for those who are exposed to the attacks of the powers of darkness.
I want to remain before Thy Eucharistic Face for them and in their place;
I want to draw near, in their name, to Thy open Heart,
ever-flowing with the Blood and the Water that purify,
heal, and sanctify all souls,
but, first of all, those of Thy priests.

Let each Thursday find me close to the Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood,
in adoration and reparation for the sake of all Thy priests.
Make me an entirely Eucharistic soul,
according to the desires of Thy Sacred Heart
and the designs of Thy merciful goodness upon my life.
I desire nothing else.
I want to love Thee more each day;
I want to be the faithful adorer of Thy Eucharistic Face
and the consoling friend of Thy Sacred Heart
hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
where it beats, wounded by love, forgotten, forsaken,
and waiting for the adoration and for the love of even one priest.
Amen.

Adoro Te

| | Comments (2)

volto cristo bologna.jpg

A Sunday Adoration


I adore Thee who art present here before me.
I adore Thee with all the love of my heart.
I adore Thee humbly.
I adore Thee in faith.
I adore Thee because Thou art God ever worthy of all adoration,
and because Thou hast called me to adore Thee
in this the Sacrament of Thy Redeeming Love.

Here is Thy Blessed Passion,
here Thy immolated Flesh,
here Thy Precious Blood,
here Thy holy and glorious wounds,
here Thy pierced side,
here Thy Sacred Heart all-burning with love,
here Thy merciful priesthood exercised eternally on behalf of poor sinners,
here Thy adorable Face, so humiliated and disfigured in Thy bitter sufferings,
and now so ineffably radiant and divinely beautiful.
All of this I adore
so often as I bow low before the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

I adore Thee to thank Thee, insofar as I am able,
for all the benefits that flow from this Most Holy Sacrament
and, in particular, for those graces of purity, healing, and holiness
that Thou reservest here for Thy priests.

All that Thou givest Thy priests, beloved Lord Jesus,
redounds to Thy glory, because through them, as through "other selves" of Thine,
Thou dost sanctify and speak to souls.
Through Thy priests Thou prolongest Thy saving sacrifice in the world
from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof.
Through thy priests Thou givest pardon to the sinner,
healing to the sick,
hope to the despondent,
and peace to those whose hearts are troubled.

I adore Thee, too, to make reparation
for those who do not adore Thee present in this the Sacrament of Thy Love.
I adore Thee in reparation for those priests of Thine who,
though charged with the Sacred Mysteries of Thy Body and Blood,
have lost all sense of wonder, and rarely remain, freely and willingly,
before Thy Eucharistic Face, close to Thy Eucharistic Heart.

I adore Thee, O Silent Word, in reparation for the noise and lack of reverence
that so often fills Thy sanctuaries,
and for the indifference and neglect that has befallen Thee
in so many tabernacles where Thou art present, but forsaken.

I adore Thee, O Lamb of God, in reparation for my own innumerable sins
and for the sins of my brother priests,
trusting utterly in Thy boundless mercy
and in Thy readiness to restore by Thy grace whatever we have lost by sin.

I adore Thee, Radiant Splendour of the Father, because in approaching Thee,
I approach Thy Father,
and because in adoring Thee
I glorify Thy Father Who so loved the world
that He sent Thee into it,
that by Thy Sacrifice all creation might be cleansed
and all things made new.

I adore Thee, Victim and Priest,
begging Thee to unite me to Thy own oblation.
Draw me to Thy Open Heart by the action of Thy Holy Spirit,
that through Thee, and with Thee, and in Thee,
I may pass already from before this altar
where I contemplate Thee hidden beneath the sacramental veils
into the glory of Thy Kingdom
where the praise of Thy Father in the Holy Spirit is perfect and unending.
Amen.

Hidden, And So Often Left Alone

| | Comments (2)

wounds.jpg

This magnificent tabernacle door depicting the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus and His Five Holy Wounds is found in Saint Stephen's Catholic Church in Skipton, North Yorkshire, England.

Lord Jesus,
I come before Thy Eucharistic Face today
by placing myself in spirit close to that tabernacle in the world
where Thou art most forsaken, most ignored, and most forgotten.

And because Thou hast asked me for my heart,
I offer it to Thee
to keep company with Thy Sacred Heart, Thy priestly and Eucharistic Heart.
I adore Thee in a spirit of reparation for all the priests of the Church,
but especially for those who never, or rarely,
pause to be still in Thy presence,
there to rest their hearts,
there to put down their burdens,
there to receive from Thee new strengths,
new lights, and new capacities to love, to pardon, and to bless.

I do not want to depart from before this tabernacle today,
wherever it may be.
I want, at every instant, to remain there prostrate in the adoration
Thou waitest to receive from Thy priests.

I unite myself to the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces
and first Adorer of Thy Eucharistic Face.
By her most pure Heart, may the prayers that rise in mine
ascend even to Thine own open Heart,
hidden, and so often left alone,
alone in the Sacrament of Thy Love. Amen.

Looking Round for Pity

| | Comments (0)

popule.JPG

Heart-broken with that shame, I pine away, looking round for pity where pity is none, for comfort where there is no comfort to be found.
They gave me gall to eat, and when I was thirsty they gave me vinegar to drink.
(Psalm 68, 21, Offertory of the Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus)

The Sufferings of a Love Wounded and Spurned

Our Lord, when He instituted the Most Holy Eucharist, foresaw outrages and sufferings: the sufferings of a Love wounded and spurned. He still waits for a little compassion from priests, from His priests. Today more than ever, Jesus is looking for priest consolers, that is to say, priest adorers who will make reparation. To one priest He said:

I Want Priest Adorers and Reparators

I want priests who will adore for priests who do not adore, [I want] priests who will make reparation for priests who do not make reparation, not for themselves, nor for others. I want priest adorers and reparators.

All Heaven Weeps

My Father, too, is grieved by the coldness and indifference with which I who am His Beloved Son, His Eternal Priest, His Immaculate Victim ceaselessly offered in the sanctuary of heaven, am treated on earth. This comes not from strangers, but from my very own, from those whom I chose, out of love, to share in my priesthood, to abide in my presence, to nourish my people with the mysteries of my Body and Blood. All heaven weeps over the sins of my priests. For every sin there is mercy in the Blood and Water that flow from my wounded Side, but the sins of my priests call for reparation. Make reparation for your brother priests by adoring me, by remaining before my Eucharistic Face, by offering the love of your heart purified by my great mercy.

I Love My Priests

My Sacred Heart is divinely sensitive to the coldness and indifference of my priests. I ask you to make reparation to me for them. Allow me to love you as I would love each of them. Allow me to heal you, to comfort you, to sanctify you, just as I would heal, comfort, and sanctify any one of my priests. I love my priests -- but few of them believe in my love for them. You, believe in my love for you. I am your Friend. I have chosen you to be in life and in death the privileged friend of my Sacred Heart.

Console Me

I ask you to console me by remaining before my Face. I ask you to console me by staying close to my Heart, pierced for love of you and for all sinners. Be my priest adorer. Console me and make reparation for those who spurn my love, for those who mock my wounds, my Blood, my sacrifice.

Time Before My Eucharistic Face

I want you to learn to remain before my Eucharistic Face, silent, adoring, listening to me, and loving me for those who do not adore me, those who do not listen to me, those who never express their love for me in this way. If only my priests would spend time before my Eucharistic Face, I should heal them, purify them, sanctify them, and change them into apostles set all ablaze with the Living Flame that consumes my Heart in the Blessed Sacrament. But they stay away. They prefer so many other things, vain pursuits and things that leave them empty, bitter, and weary. They forget my words, "Come to me . . . and I will refresh you." My priests will be renewed in holiness and in purity when they begin to seek me out in the Sacrament of my Love.

The Desires of My Heart

How it grieves my Heart when the unique love I offer a soul is spurned, or ignored, or regarded with indifference. I tell you this so that you may make reparation to my Heart by accepting the love I have for you and by living in my friendship. Receive my gifts, my kindnesses, my attention, my mercies for the sake of those who effuse what I so desire to give them. Do this especially for my priests, your brothers. I would fill each one of my priests with my merciful love, I would take each one into the shelter of my wounded Side, I would give to each one the delights of my Divine Friendship, but so few of my priests accept what I desire to give them. They flee from before my Face. They remain at a distance from my open Heart. They keep themselves apart from me. Their lives are compartmentalized. They treat with me only when duty obliges them to do so. There is no gratuitous love, no desire to be with me for my own sake, simply because I am there in the Sacrament of my Love, waiting for the companionship and friendship of those whom I have chosen and called from among millions of souls to be my priests and to be the special friends of my Sacred Heart. Would that priests understood that they are called not only to minister to souls in my Name, but even more to cling to me, to abide in me, to live in me and for me, and by me and no other. I want you to tell priests of the desires of my Heart.

A Company of Priest-Adorers Making Reparation

Oh, how my Heart longs to raise up a company of priest-adorers who will make reparation for their brother priests by abiding before my Eucharistic Face. I will pour out the treasures of my Eucharistic Heart upon them. I want to renew the priesthood in my Church, and I will do it beginning with a few priests touched to the quick by my friendship, and drawn into the radiance of my Eucharistic Face.

I am indebted to my friend, Father Scott Bailey, C.SS.R. for this poignant image of the Eucharistic Face and Heart of Jesus.

corpus_christi_2003.jpeg

I am happy to share with the readers of Vultus Christi, the remarkable message that His Excellency, Bishop Edward J. Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa published on June 22, 2008 in his diocesan newspaper, Eastern Oklahoma Catholic.

A Request Addressed to the Bishops of the World

Since the Vatican asked every bishop in the world to consider this request, you can imagine the importance it has in the mind of His Holiness. Such a world-wide effort is not easily achieved and would only be attempted for the most important of reasons!

Recovery of a Eucharistic Consciousness

The pope's request, delivered through the Congregation of the Clergy, has three interconnected aspects; but when considered as a single whole, these three aspects have a single end or purpose - the recovery of a Eucharistic consciousness in the Church.

Turning Toward the Eucharist

Pope John Paul II called this consciousness of the Eucharist our "Eucharistic imagination," and I have seen the process of recovering it referred to as a "Eucharistic
conversion of life." In spiritual theology, when we speak of a conversion of life, we generally mean a daily effort to turn toward the Lord, that is, a conscious effort made every day to orient our lives to fulfilling God's will, so that little by little, by placing God's love at the center of our lives, our senses, minds and hearts, our hands and our labor, our family life and the love which illuminates it, can all slowly begin to reflect that Divine Love.

A Eucharistic conversion of life would be much the same. It would entail a daily effort to turn toward our Eucharistic Lord, a conscious effort to place the Eucharist at the center of our lives so that little by little everything we do and think and say will reflect the sacrificial love of Jesus which we receive in Communion. Only in this way will we be able to "live and move and have our very being" in Christ's Eucharistic Heart. (cf. Acts
17:28)

Why Adoration?

I think that there may be some people for whom Adoration may be considered a salutary devotion, but still on the periphery of Church life. I fear there may even be priests for whom things like Holy Hours and extended periods of Eucharistic Adoration
are nothing more than quaint relics of a past piety or something which ought to take second place to the pursuit of social justice and the search to find the face of Jesus in the poor. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth!

Being with the Lord

Pope Benedict reminds us that "Eucharistic Adoration is an essential way of being with the Lord." When someone spends time with Our Lord in the Eucharist, he or she makes a conscious and deliberate choice to belong to Christ entirely for that period, since the believer cannot be present to Christ through the mind alone or through the senses alone. Since the believer has put aside every other activity, sacrificed every lesser good which might have been accomplished in that hour for the greater good of lingering
a time with Jesus, that person has made a very clear accounting of what in his or her life belongs by right to Christ. It is everything.

Understood in this sense, Adoration is not a "dispensable" devotion. Rather, it captures within itself the full essence of the Church's response to God's initiative in grace and expresses in a very real sense that the baptismal vocation of each Christian is to live in, with and through Christ.

Priests and Deacons as Adorers

But I should add immediately that Eucharistic Adoration expresses in a very personal way the particular vocation of those whom Christ has called to a deeper
union with Him through their ordination. Priests should find themselves drawn to Eucharistic Adoration so that they might be ever more deeply identified with
Christ the High Priest, Who lives forever before the Father that He might intercede for us.

Deacons should find themselves drawn to Adoration so that they might pattern their leadership and charity after the love of Christ, the Suffering Servant. I am convinced that those priests and deacons who begin by contemplating the love of Our Lord's Eucharistic Heart must eventually end by recalling the days of their youth, not their biological youth, but rather the youthful energy with which they first responded with
their heart's "YES!" to the invitation whispered by the Heart of Jesus.

Restoration of the Church's Ordained Priests and Servants

In this way, through Adoration, priests and deacons will be constantly rejuvenated and never grow old or weary or stiff-necked in their service of God's people.
This is why when I read the recent instruction on Eucharistic Adoration from the Holy See, I also sensed that while the Vatican talks about the recovery of the
Church's Eucharistic imagination as the end or purpose of this initiative, there is also a very real sense that this whole effort is directed in love toward the spiritual,
psychological, moral and physical restoration of the Church's ordained priests and servants.

The Eucharistic Shrine

This explains, I think, the third request made by Cardinal Hummes. The first two: that each diocese set aside specific churches or oratories to serve as Eucharistic
shrines, similar to Marian shrines; and that in each diocese a priest be appointed to the specific priestly ministry of promoting Eucharistic Adoration, are each
connected to the larger theme of Eucharistic Adoration in the Church as a whole and can be understood as steps to be taken for our recovery of that Eucharistic
imagination of which I have spoken.

Spiritual Motherhood of Priests

But the third request is different. The third request can only be understood as pertaining to the life and holiness of our priests. Becoming the spiritual mother of a priest Cardinal Hummes' third request was that bishops across the world encourage the women of their diocese to discern whether or not they have received the vocation of serving the priestly Heart of Jesus by offering themselves, their prayers and sacrifices, to be the spiritual mothers of those priests who are configured through Holy Orders to the one and eternal Priest, Jesus Christ.

A Feminine Vocation

Of that vocation, Cardinal Hummes writes: "The vocation to be a spiritual mother for priests is largely unknown, scarcely understood and consequently rarely lived,
notwithstanding its fundamental importance. It is a vocation that is frequently hidden, invisible to the naked eye, but meant to transmit spiritual life." Independent of one's age or social status, any woman who has been called by Christ can become a mother for
his priests. It would be just as possible for an unmarried woman or a widow to spiritually adopt a priest-son as it would be for the mother of a family to love another
son, spiritually given her to adopt and nurture. Nor would there be any barriers to prevent the elderly or the handicapped from fully embracing this vocation,
which is at the same time, Marian (since Our Lady is the perfect model of what it means to be united in spiritual motherhood with Jesus the Priest), Eucharistic (since the essence of their prayer and reparation for their spiritual sons will be offered in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament), Ecclesial (since it is intimately connected with the sacramental life of the Church) and Feminine (since it is life-giving and nurturing).

Give Birth to a Movement of Prayer

As I reflect upon the Cardinal's letter, it seems to me that the vocation of spiritual motherhood is so intimately linked to the Eucharistic Conversion of Life of which we have spoken, that the only proper way to put it is that the Church is asking Her women to give birth to a movement of prayer, specifically Eucharistic Adoration, so that from every home there might flow constant love, adoration, thanksgiving and reparation to God on behalf of his priests, that those men who stand before the altar, stand there holy and blameless in God's sight.

Finally, a Welcome

As you will read elsewhere in this issue of the EOC, I have invited Cistercian Father Mark Kirby to come to Tulsa and help all of us - that is, help me as the Bishop, help the priests and deacons serving in our parishes, help the lay people and the religious - to implement this program of Eucharistic conversion of life by offering the witness of his own life of Adoration and reparation, his ministry of spiritual direction to priests and
deacons, and his labors to build a Cenacle of prayer and piety from which, I hope, sufficient graces will flow until the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus is enthroned in every
parish, worshiped in every home and loved in every heart.

An End and a Beginning

| | Comments (6)

sanluigigonzaga_lovefortheword.JPG

June 21, 2008
Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Official End of my Service as Chaplain
to the Monastery of the Glorious Cross, O.S.B.
Branford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

Luigi: A Eucharistic Saint

Saint Aloysius, Luigi to call him by his proper name, may well be the most loved Jesuit in history. Luigi contracted the plague from those whom he was nursing. He foresaw his own death and asked Our Lord that he might die within the Octave of Corpus Christi. He died, in fact, on the Octave Day of Corpus Christi with the name of Jesus on his lips. Luigi was twenty-three years old. The liturgy commemorates the Eucharistic glow surrounding Luigi’s death in today’s Communion Antiphon:

He gave them the bread of heaven:
men ate the bread of angels (Ps 77:24–35).

Into the Radiance of the Eucharist

I should like to think that this my last “official Mass” as chaplain of the Monastery of the Glorious Cross might also leave us in a kind of Eucharistic glow. Every Holy Mass does this, certainly, but I see this particular celebration, after seven years of service as chaplain to the Sisters, as marking a movement in my own life and, I would hope, in yours too, from the radiance of the Eucharist into the radiance of the Eucharist.

With Faces Unveiled

The high point of my seven years here was, without any doubt, the Year of the Eucharist proclaimed by Pope John Paul II in 2004–2005. The Year of the Eucharist was that of his death, followed by the election of Pope Benedict XVI. It was also, for all of us, I think, in one way or another, a year marked by very special graces flowing, all of them, from the adorable mystery of the Eucharist, and carrying us as on a great surging wave, back into it, again and again. Does not the psalmist say, “In Thy light we shall see light” (Ps 35:10)? And does not Saint Paul describe the Christian journey as a movement from brightness to brightness? “It is given to us,” he says, “all alike, to catch the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, with faces unveiled; and so we become transfigured into the same likeness, borrowing glory from that glory, as the Spirit of the Lord enables us” (2 Cor 3:18).

The Eucharistic Face of Christ

The contemplation of the Eucharistic Face of Christ, the adoration of the Eucharistic Face of Christ is something that, for me at least, came into focus very clearly over the past three years. I had meditated, it is true, the invocation that the Congregation [of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified] taught me thirty-three years ago — “Most Holy Face of Jesus, sub Sacramento abscondita, hidden in the Host, look upon us, and have mercy” — but I needed, as we all do, those thirty-three years of sufferings, weaknesses, sorrows, blessings, and joys, for that invocation to pass from my head into the very fibres of my heart.

My New Mission

The wonderful Providence of God has so arranged things that I find myself now preparing to enter upon a new mission, one that is explicitly Eucharistic and priestly, one that will be marked by adoration, reparation, and a full-time dedication to the spiritual needs of priests and deacons.

In the June, 8, 2008 edition of his diocesan newspaper, Eastern Oklahoma Catholic, His Excellency, Bishop Edward J. Slattery, presented something of his vision for the Eucharistic renewal of his diocese, beginning with the Eucharistic renewal of his clergy. Rather than explain this to you in my own words, allow me to share with you what Bishop Slattery wrote.

“As a living organism, the Diocese must be assessed not at the level of measurable material things, but at the level of spiritual health, that is, the level of our ever-growing intimacy with Jesus Christ. Since the spiritual life is based on love, not to advance in this dynamic relationship with God in Christ is to retreat. One either grows in Divine intimacy or retreats from it; but the spiritual life is never static.”

Spiritual Health of the Clergy

Bishop Slattery has called me to the Diocese of Tulsa to be an agent of the spiritual health of his clergy, to foster and facilitate the ever-growing intimacy of his priests and deacons with Jesus Christ. His Excellency goes on to say:

“Let me introduce an idea, which is evidently a strongly felt part of the Pope’s vision. . . . The pontiff expressed his desires . . . through the Congregation for the Clergy in a circular letter from the Prefect of that Congregation, Cláudio Cardinal Hummes. That idea, briefly put, is this: Since there is an undeniable link between - on the one hand - the holiness of our clergy, the effectiveness of their pastoral ministry and the depth of their personal commitment and – on the other hand - the centrality of prayer and Eucharistic adoration in their lives, then of all the things which are necessary for the good of the Church, nothing can be considered more important, more necessary or more vital than helping our priests and deacons grow in Divine intimacy.”

It is that last line — nothing can be considered more important, more necessary or more vital than helping our priests and deacons grow in Divine intimacy — that explains Bishop Slattery’s mandate to me. He explains:

First and Foremost An Adorer of the Eucharist

“After their ordination, priests and deacons step to the altar of sacrifice and kiss it. They embrace a life of sacrifice which opens them up and makes them vulnerable to their Master’s redeeming love and allows His Eucharistic love to flow through them to sanctify the communities they serve. As Pope Benedict said “The secret of (priestly) holiness lies precisely in the Eucharist. The priest must be first and foremost an adorer who contemplates the Eucharist.”(Sept. 18, 2005).”

Adoration in the Diocese of Tulsa

His Excellency wants to express this concretely in the life of his Diocese:

“Cardinal Hummes asked that Eucharistic adoration be fostered in every parish and Catholic institution, with priests, chaplains and directors encouraged to strengthen the practice of adoration where it is already firmly established and introduce this devotion in places where it has not been known or where it has been allowed to disappear. Cardinal Hummes would be pleased to know that the kind of Eucharistic renewal he envisions has been quietly but steadily growing in our Diocese. Already eight parishes (plus St. John Hospital – a ninth site!) offer continuous (daily or even 24-hour) adoration, and a further 32 offer weekly periods of adoration. In fact, fully 72 out of our 78 parishes and missions have some form of Eucharistic Adoration during the course of the year!”

The Eucharistic Cenacle

Bishop Slattery intends to do still more. Listen to the description of his project:

“Cardinal Hummes asked that wherever possible, specific churches or oratories be set aside by the Bishop to serve the diocese as Eucharistic shrines, similar to Marian shrines. In these shrines of adoration, the Church’s special love for the Holy Eucharist, worthily celebrated and continuously adored, can be fostered and nourished until the light of Our Eucharistic Lord transfigures the whole Diocese. I have already decided to do this, but have prayed much that Our Lord direct me to the best location of our first such Eucharistic Cenacle of Prayer.”

For the Holiness of the Clergy

His Excellency has decided then, to set aside a place, and to designate it a Cenacle of Eucharistic Adoration for Priests. Then he describes what my mission will be.

“A second recommendation made by Cardinal Hummes was that in each Diocese a priest be appointed to the specific priestly ministry of promoting Eucharistic adoration. In some ways, the ministry of this priest-servant of the Eucharist would be to coordinate this important movement throughout the Diocese; but his ministry would be much more than simply coordination and management. Dedicating himself generously to making Our Eucharistic Lord better known and more loved, this priest would live a life of personal reparation and sacrifice offered for the holiness of the clergy. I am taking Cardinal Hummes’ recommendation very seriously; but I think that in this Diocese, it would be very beneficial to add to this priest’s ministry of sacrifice, a further responsibility, that of serving as spiritual director and confessor to our priests and deacons.”

Spiritual and Material Support

I took the time — your time — today to quote Bishop Slattery at length because I want to ask you to adopt this new mission of mine, first of all spiritually, by carrying it in the secret of your own prayer, but also materially if you are able to do so. I appeal to the Sisters, and to all the women here; I ask you to respond generously to the Holy See’s request that you accept the challenge and responsibility of spiritual motherhood for priests. This means offering your prayer, your sufferings, your sacrifices for the sake of priests, for the healing of those who are spiritually wounded, and for their growth in Divine Intimacy.

Thursdays of Adoration and Reparation for Priests

I invite all of you to commit yourselves to an hour of Eucharistic adoration in a spirit of reparation and supplication for priests every Thursday. Thursday is, as you know, the beginning of the weekly rememoration of the Paschal Mystery, it recalls the “Birthday of the Chalice,” that is, the institution of the Priesthood and of the Most Holy Eucharist.

Thanksgiving

It is time now to go to the altar of the Holy Sacrifice. Today, I carry to the altar and place upon the corporal, together with the bread that will become the Body of Christ, and the wine mixed with water that will become His Precious Blood, all that has happened in the Monastery of the Glorious Cross over the past seven years and — because God is eternal — all that the future holds in store for you and for me. For all things willed and permitted by God, I will sing, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.” To that, there can be but one suitable response: “It is right and just.”

I gratefully acknowledge Rorate Caeli as the source of the above image of Saint Luigi Gonzaga.

Priests

| | Comments (0)

BeautifulSacredHeart.jpg

Sursum Corda

Given all the demoralizing and cranky rants about priests that float through the blogosphere, I find it more than ever necessary to point to models of priestly virtue and holiness. I am a great believer in visiting each day a gallery of heavenly heroes. Sursum corda! Hearts on high! This is one of the reasons why holy priests like Padre Leopoldo Pastori, Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Saint Gaetano Catanoso, Saint Théophane Vénard, Saint Claude La Colombière, and others, so often figure prominenty on Vultus Christi.

The Offering of Little Souls

Precious few in the Church are given the incisive and prophetic charisms of a Saint Peter Damian or of a Fra Girolamo Savonarola. All the members of Christ's Body are, however, called to a life of Eucharistic oblation: "And now, brethren, I appeal to you by God's mercies to offer up your bodies as a living sacrifice, consecrated to God and worthy of his acceptance" (Rom 12:1). Even "little souls," hidden in the humdrum activities of ordinary life, can offer themselves quietly but effectively for the sanctification of priests; for the deliverance of priests oppressed by the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil; for the refreshment of priests grown weary in their service; for the conversion of priests who may have compromised with sin.

The Sin Never Lost to My Sight

There is not a priest alive who cannot say every morning with the psalmist, "Wash me clean, cleaner yet, from my guilt, purge me of my sin, the guilt which I freely acknowledge, the sin which is never lost to my sight" (Ps 50:4). I, for one, am acutely conscious of that part of my being that is "a shell of perishable earthenware" (2 Cor 4:7). Saint Paul's words find an echo in my heart:

"We have a treasure, then, in our keeping, but its shell is of perishable earthenware; it must be God, and not anything in ourselves, that gives it its sovereign power. For ourselves, we are being hampered everywhere, yet still have room to breathe, are hard put to it, but never at a loss; persecution does not leave us unbefriended, nor crushing blows destroy us; we carry about continually in our bodies the dying state of Jesus, so that the living power of Jesus, may be manifested in our bodies too" (2 Cor 4:7-10).

Some Proposals

The World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests that will be observed on this coming Friday, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, invites all of us — clergy, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful — to consider making certain resolutions. I would propose, for example:

Gaucheron%20%26%20Wrotnowksa.gif

“For this were we called and it is for the sake of priests that the Lord presses us to let ourselves be immolated entirely. We should have for the souls of priests . . . a burning zeal and a sort of jealousy that will spur us on to work better, to pray better, to suffer better, so that they may be more and more priestly.

We have been promoted by the Lord Himself to give birth to holiness in the souls of priests. We also, and in a super-eminent way, must become the mothers of priests. Oh! How crucial it is for this high function that we humble ourselves profoundly and put no limit to our generosity.”

Mother Marie des Douleurs (1902–1983)
Foundress of the Congregation of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified

In Illuminatione Vultus Tui

| | Comments (0)

Santa%20Misa.jpg

Posuisti iniquitates nostras in conspectu tuo,
occulta nostra in illuminatione vultus tui.

So jealous thy scrutiny of our wrongoing,
so clear our lives show in the light of thy countenance.

(Psalm 89:8: sung every Thursday morning at Lauds in the Monastic Office)

Every Thursday I am mindful of the readers of Vultus Christi who have committed themselves to participate in the Thursdays of Adoration and Reparation for Priests by spending one hour before the Eucharistic Face of Christ. One priest-adorer prays:

Lord Jesus Christ,
I thank Thee with all my heart for having allotted me this time
in the light of Thy Eucharistic Face.

Into the light of Thy Countenance veiled in this adorable Sacrament
I lift up all those for whom I have promised to intercede
and, in particular, those priests, known to Thy Heart,
who are most in need of graces of repentance, healing, and deliverance.
Thou knowest them, O Lord,
and Thou seest clearly and compassionately
the wounds inflicted upon their souls by their own sins
and by the sins of others.

Have mercy on us all.
Let not one of Thy priests remain untouched by Thy gracious mercy.
Draw them irrestistibly into the light of Thy Eucharistic Face
and into the Wound in Thy Side,
there to be washed and healed in Thy Blood
and in the Living Water of the Holy Spirit.

Mary, Mother of all priests,
stretch forth thy pure hand to those priest-sons of thine
who are most in need of thy maternal interventions in their lives.
Amen.

Focusing On That Face

| | Comments (3)

Holy%20Face%20Altar%20Sr%20Pat%20NYC.jpg

I am overwhelmed by this letter from the Congregation for the Clergy. It expresses all that I have tried to say on Vultus Christi and elsewhere. The subtitles in boldprint are my own. I will be returning to the text of the letter in order to meditate its content. I took the photo of the Altar of the Holy Face in Saint Patrick's Cathedral, New York City.

Vatican City, April 22, 2008
Here is the message published by the Congregation for Clergy for the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. The day will be celebrated May 30, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Reverend and dear Brothers in the Priesthood,

Focusing On That Face

On the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus let us fix the eyes of our minds and hearts with a constant loving gaze on Christ, the one Savior of our lives and of the world. Focusing on Christ means focusing on that Face which every human being, consciously or not, seeks as a satisfying response to his own insuppressible thirst for happiness.

Hearts Wounded By His Love

We have encountered this Face and on that day, at that moment, his Love so deeply wounded our hearts that we could no longer refrain from asking ceaselessly to be in his Presence. "In the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch" (Psalm 5).

Healed By His Flesh

The Sacred Liturgy leads us once again to contemplate the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, the origin and intimate reality of this company which is the Church: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob revealed himself in Jesus Christ. "No one could see his Glory unless first healed by the humility of his flesh.... By dust you were blinded, and by dust you are healed: flesh, then, had wounded you, flesh heals you" (St. Augustine, Commentary on the Gospel according to John, Homily, 2, 16).

Mercy That Embraces Our Limitations

Only by looking again at the perfect and fascinating humanity of Jesus Christ -- alive and active now -- who revealed himself to us and still today bends down to each one of us with his special love of total predilection, can we can let him illumine and fill the abyss of need which is our humanity, certain of Hope encountered and sure of Mercy that embraces our limitations and teaches us to forgive what we ourselves do not even manage to discern. "Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts" (Psalm 42[41]).

In Sinu Jesu

| | Comments (2)

lastsupp-1.jpg

When the Heart of Jesus speaks to the heart of a priest . . .

Your Divine Friend

"You and so many of your brother priests do not know Me as I would have you know Me. Many of you are strangers to My Heart. Come close to Me. Remain in My presence. Seek My Eucharistic Face. Learn of My love for you and you will begin to trust in it. I am not harsh. I am not a taskmaster. I am your Divine Friend. I am your Advocate, your Comforter, your Refuge in every trial. Those who persevere in seeking My Eucharistic Face will begin to read there all the secrets of My Heart, that is, the unsearchable depths of My love for souls and, in the first place, for My priests.

Prolong My Presence in the World

This is the root of the evil that eats away at the priesthood from within: a lack of experiential knowledge of My friendship and love. My priests are not mere functionaries; they are My chosen ones, the friends whom I chose for myself to live in such communion of mind and heart with Me that they prolong My presence in the world. Each priest is called to love My Church with all the tender passion of a bridegroom, but to do this, he must spend time in My presence. He must experience Me personally as the Bridegroom of his soul.

My Eucharistic Face

I want you to call priests to the experience of My friendship. Show them how to remain before My Eucharistic Face by giving them an example of adoration and reparation. Draw near to My Open Side in the Sacrament of My Love for them and in their place, and they will begin to follow you there. Reach out to My priests, not so much by speaking to them, but rather by reaching out to Me for their sake.

My Wounded Heart

I tell you again: I want you to be My priest-adorer, the priest-adorer of My Eucharistic Face and of My Heart hidden in the Sacrament of My Love. My Heart is wounded even in My glory. It is My wounded Heart that you find when you approach Me in the Most Holy Eucharist. And from My wounded Heart there flows a ceaseless torrent of merciful love to purify souls, to strengthen, heal, sanctify, and glorify them. The mystery of My Sacred Heart hidden in the Sacrament of My Love is still so little known. I want all My priests to know that in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar there beats for them a living Heart, a Heart all aflame with the most tender love.

Faithful Companion

There is no need for My priests to go through life isolated, lonely, and friendless. I want to be the Faithful Companion of their days and of their nights. I want to be their solace and their rest. I want to be their Friend, ever ready to listen to them, to welcome them, to heal them, and renew their hope. Oh, if only they would seek Me out in those tabernacles where I wait for them, in those tabernacles where no one joins Me in My ceaseless prayer to the Father.

In the Sacrament of My Love

Never miss an opportunity to greet Me, to adore Me, to remain with Me, even if only for a moment, in the Sacrament of My Love. In eternity you will see the inestimable value of every moment spent in My Eucharistic presence."

Thursday

| | Comments (0)

lastsup1-1.jpg

O my beloved Jesus,
I give and consecrate to Thee this Thursday and all the Thursdays of my life,
in praise of the adorable Mystery of Thy Body and Blood,
and in thanksgiving for that of the Priesthood.

Moved by Thy Holy Spirit,
and full of confidence in the help of Thy Most Holy Mother, the Virgin Mary,
Mother of Priests,
I resolve to live each Thursday for the rest of my days here below
in adoration and in reparation for priests
and, especially, for those who do not adore Thee,
for those who are most wounded in their souls,
and for those who are exposed to the attacks of the powers of darkness.
I want to remain before Thy Eucharistic Face for them and in their place;
I want to draw near, in their name, to Thy open Heart,
ever-flowing with the Blood and the Water that purify,
heal, and sanctify all souls,
but, first of all, those of Thy priests.

Let each Thursday find me close to the Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood,
in adoration and reparation for the sake of all Thy priests.
Make me an entirely Eucharistic soul,
according to the desires of Thy Sacred Heart
and the designs of Thy merciful goodness upon my life.
I desire nothing else.
I want to love Thee more each day;
I want to be the faithful adorer of Thy Eucharistic Face
and the consoling friend of Thy Sacred Heart
hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
where it beats, wounded by love, forgotten, forsaken,
and waiting for the adoration and for the love of even one priest.
Amen.

72mass.jpg

A Hidden Soul

Fifty--six years ago, in the heart of Rome, died one of those hidden souls whose entire life is but a silent offering. The holiness of such souls is brought to light when, providentially, one discovers that their action, although discreet, is wonderfully fruitful in the mystery of Mother Church.

Maria Sieler, who died in Rome in 1952, was one such soul. Austrian by origin, she settled in the Eternal City in 1939 to pursue and consummate a life yielded entirely to Christ, and to plant there the seed of the work that Heaven had asked of her.

Childhood in Austria

Born on February 3, 1899 in Winterdorf in central Styria, she was baptized the following day. Her parents were modest but very devout farmers. They had five children; Maria was the second of these. At six years of age she lost her father. His death reduced the family to poverty. At a very young age, Maria was obliged to begin work on the family farm and to care for her three younger sisters. Her childhood was divided among the school, the farm where she worked as a shepherdess, and her visits to the church. Very early on, she received two mystical graces, which were to orient her entire existence.

0802MOSCINI%20Pier%20Giuliano%20Eymard.jpg

It was on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1857 that Saint Peter Julian Eymard inaugurated the solemn exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament by which the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament came to life. The movement of Thursdays of Adoration and Reparation for Priests, begun on October 29, 2007, compels me, in some way, to offer the following novena for those who care to make it with me.

You may remember that on October 26, 2007 I wrote that, "The desire of the Heart of Jesus is that there should be priest adorers and reparators: priests who will adore for those who do not adore, priests who will make reparation for those who do not. Our Lord asks me — and will ask other priests as well — to remain in adoration before His Eucharistic Face, offering all the priests of the Church to His Open Heart present in the Sacrament of His Love."

This inspiration seems to have been confirmed by the splendid letter of Cardinal Hummes, published last December 7th, inviting to adoration and reparation for priests.

Epiphany Novena in Honour of Saint Peter Julian Eymard
January 6 — 14, 2008

Antiphon: And when they were come into the house,
they found the Child with Mary His Mother,
and fell down and adored Him.

V. Arise, shine, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come.
R. And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

Let us pray.

O God, who by the leading of a star,
didst manifest Thine Only-Begotten Son to the Gentiles,
mercifully grant that we,
having been led unto Him by the light of faith,
may, with grateful hearts,
ceaselessly adore Him present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar,
Who is our Mighty King, our Great High Priest, and our Immaculate Victim,
and Who liveth and reigneth with Thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.
Amen.

Antiphon: The Priests shall be holy;
for the offerings of the Lord made by fire,
and the bread of their God, they do offer,
therefore they shall be holy.

V. Pray for us, Saint Peter Julian.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God, Who through the preaching and example of Saint Peter Julian Eymard,
didst renew the priesthood of Thy Church in holiness
and inflame many souls with zeal
for the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar;
we beseech Thee, through his intercession,
to gather priests of one mind and one heart,
from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof,
to keep watch in adoration before the Eucharistic Face
of Thine Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ
and to abide before His Open Heart,
in reparation for those who forsake Him, hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
and in thanksgiving for the mercies that ever stream
from the Sacred Mysteries of His Body and Blood.
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.
Amen.

MMD%20showing%20crucifix.JPG

I was speaking this afternoon with a friend who carries in his heart the needs of priests: their sanctification, their healing, and reparation for their sins. Our conversation moved me to translate two texts of Mother Marie des Douleurs Wrotnowska (1902-1983), the foundress of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified. Mother Marie des Douleurs was not given to half-measures. She held her daughters accountable, in some way, for the falls of certain priests, and so called them to task. She wrote the first of these texts in 1932. The clergy in France were affected, at the time, by the controversy surrounding the Action Française, and also by the defection, and subsequent excommunication, of certain "modernist" priests.

There exists no vocation higher or more divine than the priestly vocation. It is a grace that cannot be measured, and we will never be able to thank the Divine Master enough for having willed that, to continue it, there should be priests among us.

We must, however, also think that if the soul of a priest is something very great and very beautiful, it is also — as are all human creatures — something that is very weak. There is nothing more irremediable, more scandalous, and more shameful than the fall of the soul of a priest into sin, and yet, there is in their nature nothing that keeps them away from this forever.

There is where our duty lies: the essential reason for our religious life, which exists only for the priesthood. We must surround priests with our continual prayer so that this prayer may be a barrier between them and the spirit of the world in which they live, and against which it is our duty to protect them.

What purity must be our own, and what supernatural spirit must be ours, in view of this very lofty task which God has given us. We were chosen to help the elect of the Lord, those who give life to the world. We will be able to fulfill this vocation only if we ourselves live purely for God, truly handed over, without falling back on ourselves. We are responsible for the sanctity of many priests; the Lord, having chosen us to help them, we must do it, and we know that the only way we can help is by sanctifying ourselves more and more each day so as to lead souls after us into the furrow of fire that ought to mark our lives in the sight of the angels.

And in 1933 Mother Marie des Douleurs wrote:

Our ministry, belonging to us, is to pray for the sanctification of priests. What are we then doing that this horrible thing of certain priests being excommunicated can happen? We are there, in spite of that, to prevent such scandals that rend the heart of our Mother the Church and the Heart of her Spouse. At least, let these terrible falls call us back to the generous fidelity that we ought to put into the least acts of our lives.

We have come together in the religious life so as to become each day more surrendered to the will of God and more stripped of ourselves, so as to be less unworthy of being offered as holocausts in reparation for such outrages. We must not allow the conviction of our responsibilities to become attenuated, nor let ourselves become drowsy and tepid while the Lord is counting on us. We ought to be such reservoirs of charity and humility for priests! Alas, while Jesus begs us, in vain, to show Him pity, the angels can sometimes, even now, see us rather sadly turned in on ourselves, occupied with our fatigues or with our imperceptible ailments.

Our Lord to a Priest

| | Comments (5)

02083_christ_emmanuel.jpg

Ici en ma présence, je te comblerai, pas seulement pour toi-même, mais aussi pour tous ceux à qui tu auras à transmettre mes messages d’amour et de miséricorde. Je veux aussi que tu leur parles de ma solitude au tabernacle. Certains esprits forts en riront. Ils oublient que je ne suis pas là comme un objet inanimé. C’est mon Cœur qui vous attend au tabernacle ; c’est mon regard qui, depuis le tabernacle, se pose, plein de tendresse, sur ceux qui s’en approchent. Je n’y suis pas pour moi-même. J’y suis pour vous nourrir et pour vous combler des joies de ma présence. Je suis Celui qui comprend la solitude de tout homme, surtout celle de mes prêtres. Je veux partager leur solitude pour qu’ils ne soient pas seuls avec eux-mêmes, mais seuls avec moi. Là je leur parlerai au cœur comme je te parle. Je brûle d’être pour chacun de mes prêtres l’Ami qu’ils cherchent, l’Ami avec qui ils pourront tout partager, l’Ami à qui ils pourront tout dire, l’Ami qui pleurera sur leurs péchés sans, pour un moment, cesser de les aimer.

Here in my presence, I will fill you full, not only for yourself, but also for all those to whom you will have to transmit my messages of love and of mercy. I also want you to speak to them of my loneliness in the tabernacle. Certain "sophisticated" spirits will laugh at that. They forget that I am not there like an inanimate object. It is my Heart that waits for you in the tabernacle; it is my gaze that, from the tabernacle, poses itself, full of tenderness, on those who draw near to it. I am not there for myself. I am there to feed you and to fill you with the joys of my presence. I am the One who understands the loneliness of every man, and especially that of my priests. I want to share their solitude so that they will no longer be alone with themselves, but alone with Me. There I will speak to their hearts as I speak to you. I burn to be for each one of priests the Friend whom they seek., the Friend with whom they can share everything, the Friend to whom they can tell everything, the Friend who will weep over their sins without, even for a moment, ceasing to love them.

C’est dans l’Eucharistie que je les attends comme médecin et remède. S’ils sont malades dans leur corps ou dans leur âme, qu’ils viennent me trouver et je les guérirai des maux qui les affligent.

It is in the Eucharist that I wait for them as physician and remedy. If they are sick in their bodies, or in their soul, let them seek me out and I will heal the ills that afflict them.

Beaucoup de prêtres n’ont pas une foi réelle et pratique en ma présence Eucharistique. Ne savent-ils pas que l’Eucharistie renferme pour eux tous les mérites de ma Passion ? Qu’ils retrouvent la foi de leur enfance. Qu’ils viennent me trouver là où je les attends et moi, j’opérerai en eux des merveilles de grâce et de sainteté.

Many priests do not have a real and practical faith in my Eucharistic presence. Do they not know that the Eucharist contains for them all the merits of my Passion? Let them recover the faith of their childhood. Let them come to Me where I wait for them and I will work wonders of grace and of holiness in them.

Ce que je veux surtout, c’est que mes prêtres soient saints, et pour cela je leur offre ma présence dans l’Eucharistie. Oui, c’est le grand secret de la sainteté sacerdotale. Il faut que tu le leur dises, il faut que tu répètes ce que je te dis pour que les âmes en soient réconfortées et stimulées à chercher la sainteté. Mon Cœur a soif de l’amour des saints. À ceux qui viennent à moi, je donnerai et l’amour et la sainteté. Et mon Père en sera glorifié. Et cela se fera par l’action intime de mon Esprit. Là où je suis dans le Sacrement de mon Amour se trouve aussi l’Esprit du Père et du Fils. C’est par l’Esprit Saint que ma présence Eucharistique est ma présence glorieuse au Père dans le ciel, et c’est par l’Esprit Saint que ma présence Eucharistique rejoint les âmes qui l’adorent pour les unir à moi, et les porte jusque devant la Face de mon Père.

What I want above all is that my priests be saints, and for that I offer them my presence in the Eucharist. Yes, this is the great secret of priestly holiness. You must tell them this, you must repeat what I say to you so that souls may be comforted and stimulated to seek holiness. My Heart thirsts for the love of saints. To those who come to Me I will give both love and holiness. And my Father will be glorified by this. And this will happen by the intimate action of my Spirit. There where I am present in the Sacrament of my Love, the Spirit of the Father and the Son is also present. It is by the Holy Spirit that my Eucharistic presence reaches the souls who adore it to unite them to me, and carries them even before the Face of my Father.

Thursday Adorers

| | Comments (11)

Dad.JPG

Among the very first people to commit themselves to an hour of adoration every Thursday in thanksgiving for the Gift and Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist and of the Priesthood, and in reparation for priests who do not adore Our Lord in the Sacrament of His Love, was none other than my own Dad! Thank you, Dad! Others have responded too, some by posting a comment, and others by sending me an e-mail. One other priest has responded so far.

Concerning this work of adoration and reparation, Our Lord deigned to say to one of His priests:

Respond to my call, just as you are doing today, and I will do all the rest. I am the Friend who never fails, the Friend whose love is a rock of stability and a refuge. I am the Friend whom you have always sought. Now, I have called you to live in the radiance of my Face and to remain close to my Eucharistic Heart. Do this, trusting in my promises, and many priests will be rescued from the plots laid for them by the Evil One. Many will discover that they too are loved, that my Eucharistic Face shines upon them, that my Heart is open to receive them, and that my Mother is their Mother too, their life, their sweetness, and their hope. Your very presence here, in obedience to the call you heard, obtains many graces for my priests. For this have I called you to live in adoration and in reparation.

For Priests

| | Comments (0)

70mass.jpg

O my beloved Jesus,
true Friend of my heart,
Priest of the Father,
Anointed of the Holy Spirit,
Immaculate Victim upon the altar of the Cross
and upon the altars of the Church, Thy Spouse,
I adore Thee.

Tell me how Thou wouldst have me live this Thursday in Thy presence.
Thou wouldst have me watch before Thy Eucharistic Face;
Thou desirest that I should abide close, very close, to Thy Open Heart.
Thou callest me near to Thee,
that I might remain there in the name of all priests,
and in their place.

Thou wouldst heal the priests of Thy Church.
Thou wouldst purify them.
Thou desirest to make them shine with holiness.

I can offer Thee only what Thou hast asked of me:
to give Thee all the Thursdays of my life
and to spend them, insofar as possible,
with Thee in the Sacrament of Thy Love,
so as to receive there all the graces destined for Thy priests.

Franc%C3%A8s%20Mass%20St%20Greg.jpg

Surely there are lay faithful and religious who will hear the call to make the Thursdays in Adoration and Reparation for Priests. Are you willing to commit yourself to one hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament every Thursday in intercession and reparation for priests? The hour may be made before the tabernacle or before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. Should it be impossible to make it before the Blessed Sacrament, one can, from any place, offer it in spirit before the tabernacle in the world where Our Lord is most forsaken, neglected, and forgotten.

I ask lay faithful and religious who want to commit themselves to make the Thursdays of Adoration and Reparation for Priests to send me a message to that effect, indicating the hour on Thursday when, as a rule, they will make their Hour.

Priests who desire to join me in this commitment are warmly invited to contact me for further information.

O my beloved Jesus,
I give and consecrate to Thee this Thursday and all the Thursdays of my life,
in praise of the adorable Mystery of Thy Body and Blood,
and in thanksgiving for that of the Priesthood.

Moved by Thy Holy Spirit,
and full of confidence in the help of Thy Most Holy Mother, the Virgin Mary,
Mother of Priests,
I resolve to live each Thursday for the rest of my days here below
in adoration and in reparation for priests
and, especially, for those who do not adore Thee,
for those who are most wounded in their souls,
and for those who are exposed to the attacks of the powers of darkness.
I want to remain before Thy Eucharistic Face for them and in their place;
I want to draw near, in their name, to Thy open Heart,
ever-flowing with the Blood and the Water that purify,
heal, and sanctify all souls,
but, first of all, those of Thy priests.

Let each Thursday find me close to the Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood,
in adoration and reparation for the sake of all Thy priests.
Make me an entirely Eucharistic soul,
according to the desires of Thy Sacred Heart
and the designs of Thy merciful goodness upon my life.
I desire nothing else.
I want to love Thee more each day;
I want to be the faithful adorer of Thy Eucharistic Face
and the consoling friend of Thy Sacred Heart
hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
where it beats, wounded by love, forgotten, forsaken,
and waiting for the adoration and for the love of even one priest.
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.

Donations for Silverstream Priory

Categories

Archives