Thursdays of Adoration and Reparation for Priests: May 2008 Archives

Priests

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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:

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“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

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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.

About Dom Mark

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

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