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Thursdays of Adoration and Reparation for Priests Archives

October 29, 2007

Thursdays of Adoration and Reparation for Priests

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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.

October 31, 2007

For Priests

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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.

Continue reading "For Priests" »

November 3, 2007

Thursday Adorers

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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.

December 6, 2007

Our Lord to a Priest

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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.

December 13, 2007

The Furrow of Fire That Ought to Mark Our Lives

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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.

January 6, 2008

Epiphany Novena Asking for Priest Adorers

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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.

January 9, 2008

Maria Sieler: A Life Offered for Priests

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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.

Continue reading "Maria Sieler: A Life Offered for Priests" »

February 28, 2008

Thursday

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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.

March 13, 2008

In Sinu Jesu

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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."

April 23, 2008

Focusing On That Face

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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]).

Continue reading "Focusing On That Face" »

May 15, 2008

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.

May 26, 2008

Impossible to Man's Powers, But Not To God's

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All Priest

In recalling the holiness of Saint Philip, it occurs to me that it was essentially this: he was all priest. He was always and everywhere a priest. His priesthood suffused his very being, making him incandescent with the fire of the Cross and of the altar. As we prepare to observe the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests on this coming Friday, June 30th, Saint Philip Neri makes his appearance to stimulate our generosity, and to show us what happens when a priest surrenders to the fire of Divine Love.

Spiritual Combat: The Seven Capital Sins

Have no illusions about priestly holiness. Like all men, priests are locked in a combat to the death with the seven capital sins: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. Priests are, if anything, subject to more subtle and more violent temptations than anyone else because they are Satan’s preferred quarry. Is the propensity to any one particular sin worse than the propensity to another? I dare not speculate about secrets of conscience. God alone probes the mind and heart.

To God All Things Are Possible

Souls called in a particular way to offer themselves for the sanctification of the clergy should entertain no illusions about the seriousness of their apostolic mission. There were, there are, and there always will be prideful priests, covetous priests, lustful priests, angry priests, gluttonous priests, priests who are drunkards, priests who consumed by envy, and priests who are lazy. One might be tempted then to say with the disciples in today’s Gospel, “Why then, who can be saved?’ (Mk 10:26). Listen to Our Lord’s reply. Jesus spoke it, according to Saint Mark, with His eyes fastened on the disciples. “Such things are impossible to man’s powers, but not to God’s; to God, all things are possible? (Mk 10:27).

Spiritual Maternity

Read the appeal from Rome, asking women in all states of life to become spiritual mothers to priests, and calling for a worldwide movement of adoration in a spirit of reparation and supplication for the priesthood. It is not enough to read it once and file it away. Our Lord will hold those women who consent to spiritual motherhood accountable for the sins and for the sanctity of a multitude of priests. Does this shock you? It shouldn’t. Saint Paul says, “A man’s body is all one, though it has a number of different organs; and all this multitude of organs goes to make up one body; so it is with Christ. . . . If one part is suffering, all the rest suffer with it; if one part is treated with honour, all the rest find pleasure in it. And you are Christ’s body, organs of it depending upon each other? (1 Cor 12:12, 26-27). Again, the Apostle says in another place, “Bear the burden of one another’s failings; then you will be fulfilling the law of Christ? (Gal 6:2).

Continue reading "Impossible to Man's Powers, But Not To God's" »

May 27, 2008

To Give Birth to Holiness in the Souls of Priests

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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

May 28, 2008

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:

Continue reading "Priests" »

June 21, 2008

An End and a Beginning

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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.

June 28, 2008

Bishop Slattery on Eucharistic Conversion

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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.

About Thursdays of Adoration and Reparation for Priests

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Vultus Christi in the Thursdays of Adoration and Reparation for Priests category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Santa Croce in Gerusalemme is the previous category.

Travels is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.