Friday, 17 July 2009

More on the Year of the Priest . . .

I will be referring to St John Vianney from time to time this year especially as it is the Year of the Priest.

I find the book, 'A Curé of Ars Prayer Book' very inspiring. Here, for example, is an extract from the saint's writing on Priesthood:

How great is a Priest

Oh, how great is a priest! The priest will not understand the greatness of his office till he is in Heaven. If he understood it on earth, he would die, not of fear, but of love. The other benefits of God would be of no avail to us without the priest. What would be the use of a house full of gold, if you had nobody to open you the door! The priest has the key of the heavenly treasures; it is he who opens the door; he is the steward of the good God, the distributor of His wealth. Without the priest, the Death and Passion of Our Lord would be of no avail. Look at the heathens: what has it availed them that Our Lord has died? Alas! they can have no share in the blessings of Redemption, while they have no priest to apply His Blood to their souls!

The priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he does not administer the Sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you. After God, the priest is everything.

God Our Father,
we thank you for all our parish priests.
We entrust them to your paternal care.
Help them in the challenges and difficulties they are faced with.
Guide them in their ministry, and keep them faithful to their calling as
pastors of your flock and stewards of your Kingdom.

As well as praying for priests, it is of course very important that we continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood. As Pope John Paul II said in his Letter To All the Priests of the Church for Holy Thursday 1986, '. . . We beseech the Holy Spirit to call to the Church's service many priest of the calibre and holiness of the Curé of Ars . . . "

My Dear Jesus,
Thou desirest that we pray the Lord of the Harvest
that He send zealous labourers into His harvest.
Deign to raise up in Thy Church, and especially in this diocese,
numerous and holy priests who, taking Thy Divine Heart as their Model,
will, in the exercise of their holy priesthood,
promote the glory of Thy heavenly Father and
the salvation of those souls whom
Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.

Give us true holy priests who, inflamed with the fire of Thy divine love,
seek nothing but Thy greater glory and the salvation of souls.

O Mary, Queen of the clergy, pray for us;
obtain for us a great number of vocations to the holy priesthood.


Flick Saunders said...

Wow! That quote from the 'A Cure of Ars Prayer Book' is powerful stuff. If I were a priest I think on reading that I would feel both very humbled but also, so inspired by the immensity of my role in the redemption of mankind. We are all called to be part of the redemptive process - by our reception of the body and blood of Christ we are changed by Him and enabled to carry on His redemptive work. However, as it says, without a priest,
we would not be able to receive this sacred food - so where would we be?

Thanks to all our priests and to you Fr Miceal for your generosity of self. You are well deserved of our prayers.

Cindy said...

Well said, Flick. I couldn't agree more. We all owe so much to our priests for, as has been pointed out before, without our priests we would have no Mass and without the Mass there would be no Church.

Thank you to Fr Míċeál and all our priests for accepting God's call to the priesthood and for all that you do for us. With assurance of continued prayers.