Year of the Priest 2009–2010: April 2010 Archives

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Here is another excerpt from the journal of a priest that I quoted yesterday. Readers may find it a timely help as we move towards the end of the Year of the Priesthood.

I Make Myself A Beggar Before Them

"My Heart grieves over so many priests who have no desire to approach Me in the Sacrament of My Love. Their hearts have grown cold, but My Heart burns with love for them still. How I suffer from their coldness, their indifference, their lack of desire for Me and for the friendship I offer them. I make Myself a beggar before them. I plead with them to accept My friendship and to give Me each day but an hour of their time. So much of their time is wasted pursuing things of no value, things of no consequence, and I, all the while, wait for them to come to Me.

Will They Hear My Call?

Will they hear my call during this Year for Priests? Will they turn from the perishable things that fascinate them and hold them enslaved, and turn to Me who will make them truly happy, and Who will give them what no creature can?

A Revolution of Love

My priests are in need of a great revolution: a revolution of love. I have seen the lives of so many priests; I know their sufferings. Nothing is hidden from Me. I will raise up a company of faithful friends of My Heart, priest adorers of My Eucharistic Face. I will gather them together as once I gathered the Twelve in the Upper Room, and will speak to them heart to heart as a man speaks to the friends he has chosen for himself. I will heal those who are wounded. I will refresh those who are weary. I will sanctify them all, but only if they heed My appeal and, following the sound of My voice, seek Me out and learn to abide in My presence. This is how I will renew My priesthood during this year of grace.

One Hour A Day

I do not ask that my priests live all the day in church, as did my faithful servant John Vianney, but I do ask of every priest one hour in My presence, one hour in the light of My Eucharistic Face, one hour close to My Heart. Let them come to Me and I will do for them more than they can ask or imagine.

Come Into the Cenacle

I am calling My priests into My company. I am pressing them to come into the Cenacle and, there, to be radiant in the light of My Face. I would have them listen to the secrets of My Heart, to those secrets that I have reserved for this generation and for the joy of My Spouse the Church in this year of grace.

Console Me

As for you, be the consoler of My Eucharistic Heart. Abide in My presence. Speak to Me as the Holy Spirit moves you to speak. Listen to Me and receive the words that I address to you, words that communicate something of the fire of love that blazes in My Heart for you and for every priest of Mine.

Console Me, console Me, for My own have rejected Me. Console Me, for I am forsaken by those whom I chose for Myself, expecting that they would respond to My love with love, and to My tenderness with a like tenderness. You, at least, give Me all the tenderness of your heart, and know that My Heart is open to you to receive you and to be the sanctuary of your priesthood here and in the world to come."

--

Healing in the Sufferings of His Priestly Heart

"My Heart overflows with Merciful Love for my priests. There is not one of them for whom I would not suffer the most bitter betrayals and humiliations of My Passion over again, so great is My desire to see every priest of Mine made whole, washed clean in My Precious Blood and sanctified in the fire of the Holy Spirit. All that I suffered once -- especially the sufferings of My priestly Heart -- remains available until the end of time to the priests of My Church, the chosen friends of My Heart. My suffering remains for them a wellspring of healing, and from My wounds there flows for my priests a balm of purity and of love. If only My priests would approach Me and apply to themselves the merits and power of My most bitter Passion and of My most Precious Blood!

I Saw Each One's Sins

There were moments in My Passion -- the darkest moments of all -- when My Heart was crushed as in a winepress, beneath a weight of sorrow that no words can describe: when I was suffering particularly for My priests. I saw them passing before Me, a seemingly endless procession until the end of time. I saw each one's sins, each one's betrayals, sacrileges, and coldheartedness. I saw too those who lived and walked in the light; these were My consolation, and in each of them I saw the influence of My Most Pure Mother. She formed them for Me, and this she will continue to do until the last priest is ordained and the sacraments I gave My Church pass into the blaze of glory that they signify in time. I looked into the eyes of each of My priests. In some I saw a burning love and a desire to please Me in all things. I others I saw a mercenary spirit, an inability to move past the necessary organization of My Church into the mysteries for which she came forth from My wounded Side, and received the Holy Spirit at the Third Hour on Pentecost. In still others I saw a terrible indifference, a loss of the First Love, a betrayal of all that My priesthood represents. It is these who added immeasurable sorrow to the sufferings I endured.

Reparation

In this Year of the Priest I ask for priestly souls to console Me and to make up for what is lacking still in a part of My priesthood. For the coldness of so many I ask for an undivided and tender love. For the indifference of so many I ask for a holy zeal. For the irreverence of so many I ask for a renewed awareness of My Divine Majesty and of the holiness that befits My sanctuaries.

Return to the Wound in My Side

The time is measured and it will pass quickly. Let My priests return to the wound in My Side. Let them follow the beacon that shines from My Eucharistic Face to drawn them into My presence. I wait for them. With a great desire I desire their company and the consolation that only they can offer My pierced Heart."

July 2009
From In sinu Iesu, the Journal of a Priest

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The following excerpt from a priest's journal may encourage the readers of Vultus Christi to persevere in the work of intercession for priests before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus, especially as this Year of the Priesthood begins to draw to a close.

"When you pray for any soul, begin by uniting yourself wholly to My perfect will for that soul and by entering into all the designs of My Heart on that soul. Desire only what I desire. Will what I will. Let your prayer be a way of harnessing yourself to Me so that we might work together for souls and for My Father's glory. This is what I meant when I called my dear friends to take My yoke upon them. I wanted them to learn to labour with Me.

By the prayer of adoration for My priests you are working with Me for them. You are working with Me to lift them when they fall, to bind up their wounds, to deliver them from bondage to evil, to open them to My gifts, and to obtain for them a greater openness to the sanctifying action of the Holy Spirit.

Your union with Me in prayer lessens the resistance of many priests to entering resolutely upon the path of holiness that I am opening before them. When you represent My priests before My Eucharistic Face, you are obtaining graces for them, but also the grace to accept those graces that I long to bestow upon them. So much of what I long to give My priests is refused because they are unable to move beyond their fears and their self-absorption.

I would work marvels in every place on earth through the ministry of My priests if they would accept the graces that I hold in reserve for them. I would first purify and sanctify them, and then, by means of their sacred ministry, purify and sanctify a great multitude of souls, so as to make of them an offering of praise and thanksgiving to the glory of My Father.

Why do My priests refuse the gifts that I would lavish upon them? Many are self-sufficient, relying on their natural abilities and talents, and thinking that these natural gifts are sufficient for the success of their ministry. But their idea of success is not mine. And the means that they would take are not mine. And I have no need of their natural abilities and talents. I can do more with one poor priest who, like the Curé of Ars, is humble and utterly united to Me by ceaseless prayer, than I can with a priest who astounds the world with his knowledge and presents himself brilliantly in the sight of men.

When I find a priest who is open to My gifts, I lavish these gifts upon him. Nothing is lacking to the priest who comes before Me in his poverty, and even in his sins, provided that he give Me his poverty and trust Me with his sins, and expose all his weaknesses to the transforming light of My Eucharistic Face.

This is what I ask you to do . . . not only for yourself, but for all My priests. I am about to renew My priesthood in the whole Church. I will purify the sons of Levi in fulfilment of the ancient prophecy, not those of a physical priestly lineage, but those who have taken the place of the former priesthood, and who are one with Me in the everlasting priesthood of the Order of Melchisedek. I will change the face of the priesthood to make it resplendent with the light reflected from My Eucharistic Face."

23 June 2009
From In sinu Iesu, the Journal of a Priest

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Dear Priests,

The Year for Priests brings great joy to the Church and she thanks the Lord for having inspired the Holy Father to announce it. All the information which is presented here in Rome concerning the numerous initiatives taken by the local Churches throughout the world, in order to put this special year into effect, are proof of how this Year has been so well received and - we can add - how it has responded to a true and deep longing of priests and the entire People of God. It was time to give special attention, acknowledgement and commitment to the great, hardworking and irreplaceable presbyterium, and to each individual priest of the Church.

It is true that, albeit proportionately small in number, some priests have committed horrible and most serious crimes of sexual abuse upon minors, deeds that we must condemn and rebuke in an absolute and uncompromising manner. Those individuals must answer for their actions before God and before tribunals, including the civil courts. Nevertheless, we also pray that they might achieve spiritual conversion and receive pardon from God. The Church, for her part, is determined neither to hide nor to minimize such crimes. Above all we are on the side of the victims and want to support their recovery and their offended rights.

On the other hand, it is absolutely unacceptable to use the crimes of the few in order to sully the entire ecclesial body of priests. Those who do so commit a profound injustice. In the course the Year for Priests, the Church seeks to say this to human society. Anyone possessed of common sense and good will knows it to be the truth.

That being necessarily said, we turn now to you, dear priests. We want to repeat to you, yet again, that we recognise that which you are and that which you do in the Church and in society. The Church loves you, admires you and respects you. You are, moreover, a joy for our Catholic people throughout the world and it welcomes you and supports you, especially in theses times of suffering.

Within two months we will have reached the conclusion of the Year for Priests. The Pope, dear priests, invites you from the heart to come to Rome from every part of the world for this conclusion, on the 9th, 10th and 11th June next. From every country in the world! Shouldn't we expect many thousands of them from the countries nearest Rome? Do not, then, hesitate to respond to the heartfelt and cordial invitation of the Holy Father. Come to Rome and God will bless you. The Pope wants to strengthen the priests of the Church. Their presence in large numbers in St. Peter's Square will be a proactive and responsible way for priests to show themselves ready and unintimidated for the service of the humanity entrusted to them by Jesus Christ. Their visibility in the Square, before the modern world, will be a proclamation of their being sent not to condemn the world, but to save it (cf. Jn. 3: 17 and 12: 47). In such a context even a large number will have a special significance.

There is yet another particular motivation for the presence in Rome of numerous priests for the conclusion of the Year for Priests, which is found at the heart of the Church today. One speaks of offering to our beloved Pope Benedict XVI our solidarity, our support, our confidence, and our unconditional communion, in the face of the frequent attacks direct towards Him, at this moment of time, in the field of his decisions with regard to clerics involved in crimes of the sexual abuse of minors. The accusations directed towards Him are obviously unjust, and it has been shown that no one has done as much as Benedict XVI to condemn and to combat properly such crimes. Therefore, the large presence of priests in the Square with Him will be a determined rejection of the unjust attacks of which he is a victim. So then, come as well to publicly support the Holy Father.

The conclusion of the Year for Priests will not be, properly speaking, a conclusion, but a new beginning. We, the People of God and its shepherds, want to thank the Lord for this privileged period of prayer and reflection on the priesthood. At the same time we want to be alert to what the Holy Spirit wants to say to us. Meanwhile we will return to the exercise of our mission in the Church and in the world with renewed joy and with the conviction that God, the Lord of history, remains with us, both in crises and in new times.

May the Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Priests, intercede for us and inspire us in the following of her Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Rome, 12th April 2010

Cardinal Claudio Hummes

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


No Boasting But in the Cross

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Maundy Thursday
Vesperal Mass of the Lord's Supper


April 1, 2010
Cathedral of the Holy Family
Tulsa, Oklahoma

"For us, no boasting,
but in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
These are the words of the Church as she crosses the threshold
to enter into these Three Days of Awe.

"For us, no boasting,
but in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
These are the words of every priest,
from our Holy Father Benedict XVI
to the very youngest and the very last frail man
anointed and set apart to make present the one saving Mystery of the Cross
on the altars of the world.

"For us, no boasting,
but in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
These are the words of every priest
in this Year of the Priesthood,
a year of grace for the whole Church,
the year of a priesthood that has, in recent weeks
felt the cruel lash of a hostile media,
the sting of a bloodthirsty public commentary indifferent to truth,
and set upon reviling the very things we hold in deepest reverence.

"For us, no boasting" (Gal 6:14).
No boasting, that is, of anything that is ours.
For who am I and who are you to boast
in the presence of God offering Himself as a victim to God?
In the presence of God washing and wiping the feet of sinful man?
In the presence of God feeding us with His flesh
and offering us the chalice of His Blood?
Who am I and who are you to boast
on this the night of God's doing,
the night of the covenant?

At the beginning of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy
the deacon, turning to the priest, says:
"Father, it is time for the Lord to act!"
And so it is among us.
All is His doing, not ours.
It is time for the Lord to act!

"For us, no boasting,
but in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is health and life and resurrection to us,
by whom we are saved and set free (cf. Gal 6L14).

If any one of us is sick; He is health.
If any one of us is in the grip of death; He is life.
If any one of us has stumbled and fallen low,
once, twice, three times or more,
He is resurrection.

If you are bound up and fettered,
if you are pushed down, or held back,
or laden with burdens too heavy to bear,
He is deliverance and freedom.

If you are oppressed in sin's suffocating narrowness,
He takes you by the hand
and tonight, yes, tonight,
He leads you out into the vast and spacious place
of His own prayer to the Father.
"This, Father, is my desire,
that all those whom Thou hast entrusted to me
may be with me where I am,
so as to see my glory,
Thy gift made to me,
in that love which Thou didst bestow upon me
before the foundation of the world. (Jn 17:24).

This is the birthnight of Eucharistic adoration,
the night of a hushed amazement,
the night of believing disbelief,
and of wordless wonder.

This is the night of God at table with man.
Not only does this Companion-God sit at our board to share our bread:
he becomes Bread in every mouth.

This is the night of the Blood of the Lamb
drunk first by those whom He calls friends
and then drunk, drop after drop, by Gethsemani's ancient earth.
This is the birthday of the Chalice,
the first wave of that immense crimson tide
that tomorrow will gush from the pierced side.

This is the night of the astonishing humility of God.
the night of God bending low
to wash,
to kiss,
to perfume the very feet
that will run from the fearful garden in the night,
and from the proud praetorium,
and from the Cross terrible against dark and heavy skies.

"Before you run from me,
O you whom I have chosen to run after me,
let me wash your feet," He says,
"and mark them sweetly with the imprint of my kiss.
'You did not choose me, but I chose you'" (Jn 15:16).

"This kiss to your feet is the pledge of my paschal absolution.
My feet, you will see them pierced by a nail;
yours, I would pierce them with a kiss,
that turning, you would come back to me
who have come so far in search of you.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, turn back,
turn back to the Lord your God!"


Tonight our Priest begins his ascent:
the solemn procession to the high place of his preaching:
to the noble Tree
from which his voice will go out through all the earth.

Tonight our Priest, without leaving us,
enters the hidden sanctuary beyond the veil (Heb 6:19);
there He appears in the presence of God on our behalf (Heb 9:23),
taking not the blood of goats and calves
but his own Blood, thus securing an eternal redemption (Heb 9:12).

Tonight the Paschal Lamb is set before us.
Tonight His Blood is given us,
not to be smeared, as of old, on doorposts and lintels,
but to sanctify our lips
and moisten every parched tongue;
to warm every heart grown cold
with a libation of fire;
to give sweetness for bitterness,
and boldness for fear.

Those marked by the Blood of Lamb,
those with the Blood of the Lamb wet upon their lips
and fragrant on their breath
have passed from death to life.

Every mouth sanctified by the Blood
is, in the Father's eyes, the mouth of the First-Born Son.
Every prayer uttered from Blood-blessed lips,
every kiss offered,
every sigh and every groan,
the Father receives
as coming from the Son, the Only-Begotten, the Beloved.
"In that day you will know
that I am in the Father,
and you in me, and I in you" (Jn 14:20).

The psalmist too sang of the Chalice and of the Blood:
"I will lift up the chalice of salvation,
and call upon the name of the Lord" (Ps 115:13).
Lifted up, it is our thanksgiving: a sun blazing red against the sky.
Pressed to our lips, it is our salvation: the antidote, the remedy,
one drop of which is enough to cure this weary world of every ill,
to wash the defiled heart of every impurity,
to heal the hearts oldest and deepest wounds,
the very ones we thought incurable.

The Apostle handed on to us
what had had been handed on to him.
O humble and glorious Tradition!
Ours it is to receive what he received,
(to transmit and not to betray,)
to cherish what he cherished,
to obey the commandment he obeyed,
to adore the mystery he adored.

"This is My body which is for you.
Do this in remembrance of Me. . . .
This chalice is the new covenant in My Blood.
Do this, as often, as you drink it, in memory of Me" (1 Cor 11:24-25).

This is the night of the new priesthood.
Awed they are, not quite understanding and not quite misunderstanding
the fearful spectacle of God bent prostrate at their feet.
He, sinless, kneels to absolve the sinner
while the sinner, seated,
has nought to offer but two bare journey-worn feet
and the story they tell of paths they have trod,
and places they have been.

"What I am doing you do not know now,
but afterward you will understand . . . .
For I have given you an example,
that you also should do as I have done to you" (Jn 13:7, 15).

Feet, these first priests of the New Covenant will wash,
but more than feet:
hearts caked with the hard crust of sin,
and polluted souls,
and faces bearing the traces of blood and tears.

Then we did not know what He was doing,
but now we understand the mystic absolution.
"Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven;
if you retain the sins of any they are retained" (Jn 20:22-23).

For us, no boasting but in what Love has left us:
the Bread and the Chalice
making present His Sacrifice;
and priests with feet washed clean and anointed hands
to pronounce the Absolution,
and to lift high the spotless Oblation.

And behind the sacramental veils
shines the Face for which we yearn:
the Face of immolated Purity,
the Face of Beauty humbled,
the Face of the Priest,
the Face of the Victim,
the Face of Holiness,
the Face of Crucified and Triumphant Love.

In looking, adore Him.
In adoring, look at Him.
And so, pass over
from what is old to what is new,
from the land of heavy burdens to the land of freedom,
from darkness to light,
from sin to holiness,
from groans to jubilations,
from tears to laughter,
from sorrow to bliss,
from combat to peace,
from struggle to rest,
from death to life
It is the Passover of the Lord (Ex 12:11).

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

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