Pray for Priest

Featured article from December's Spirit of Medjugorje
Pray For Priests
By Dianne Yochim

     My husband and I have been blessed to know some very holy priests over the years, but one stands out among the rest. I’ll call him Father G. He was particularly close to our family. As Mom lay dying in the hospital, this priest knelt down on the hard tile floor beside her bed and led the family around her in the Rosary and then in the Litany of the Blessed Mother. What was so remarkable was the fact that not only did he recite the entire Litany completely from memory, but that he was 93 years old!

     Years earlier, we had been invited to a special dinner celebrating Father G.’s 50th Anniversary as a priest. He told us how grateful he was for all the people who prayed for him over the years. He assured us that it was through those prayers that he was able to remain faithful to the priesthood that God had chosen him for. Then he shared a personal story with us that he said not many people knew. He said that when he was a young priest, he went through a very dark and troubling time. For months he contemplated leaving the priesthood. He didn’t tell anyone, but prayed and prayed for guidance. One day, he found his answer in a painting that he would never forget. In the foreground of the painting, a poorly dressed man sat on a park bench looking forlorn and dejected. On his shoulder sat a devil. Then in the background, high up on a hill, the artist had painted a monastery. All around and in the monastery, the monks were busy about their chores. There were many devils hovering over the monastery, and each monk had several devils attacking him individually. When Father G. saw this painting, he understood why he had become so confused about the priesthood; he was being severely tempted by many devils. At this understanding, his darkness vanished. 
     When Father G. shared this personal story with us, I remembered hearing before that, when we are tempted, we have one devil on our back, but when a priest is tempted, he has ten devils on his back. 

     Why are priests under such heavy attack? They are God’s ministers to us. Through them, we receive the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and the forgiveness of our sins. We receive God’s grace and, hopefully, one day salvation and union with Him. Through the ministry of one priest, thousands of souls can be saved. We need priests. 

     As much as we need priests, they need our prayers and support. The Second Vatican Council states: “The Christian faithful, for their part, should realize their obligations to their priests…Sharing their cares, they should help their priests by prayer, and work insofar as possible so that their priests might more readily overcome difficulties and be able to fulfill their duties more fruitfully” (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 9).

Priests concelebrating Mass in Medjugorje
     Along with the call to pray for priests, the Congregation of the Clergy, on Dec. 8, 2007, sent letters to all diocesan bishops in the world, asking for “Eucharistic Adoration for the sanctification of priests and spiritual maternity after the example of Mary, Mother of the Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ.” We do well to take Mary as our model in this endeavor. She is a powerful intercessor with our dear Lord. She knows exactly what each of Her priest-sons needs to fulfill his call to holiness and succeed in his mission to gain souls for God and His Church. God cannot refuse Mary’s requests for anything. All graces come through Her. Let us also become spiritual mothers for our beloved priests, interceding through Mary for their sanctification and work on earth. We can do this by our prayers and sacrifices, by offering all our sufferings and sorrows for them, by offering Masses and Eucharistic hours of Adoration for them. 

     The Opus Sanctorum Angelorum (Order of the Holy Angels), under the guidance of the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, has sponsored a spiritual Crusade of Prayer and Reparation for Priests for many years. They offer free bi-annual meditations on the priesthood and ask for commitment to pray on behalf of priests, remembering them especially on Thursdays, the day of the institution of the priesthood.

     They also offer a program in which you can spiritually adopt a specific bishop, priest, seminarian, or young man discerning a vocation. Upon request, they will send a free Crusade packet with a suggested daily prayer for priests, the Litany of Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim, and a copy of the booklet, “Chalice of Strength,” containing many prayers for priests. 

     For more detailed information, or to sign up to join this Crusade, you can visit their website at opusangelorum.org or email them at contact@opusangelorum.org. As we pray for our beloved priests, may we also remember to thank God for this precious gift of priesthood! On October 2, 2014, Our Lady said, “My dear children, as your shepherds offer you the Body of my Son with their blessed hands, always in your hearts give thanks to my Son for the sacrifice and for the shepherds that He always gives you anew.” Mary Immaculate, Mother of Priests, intercede for us!
Editor’s note: Dianne is from Erie, PA and is on our mailing staff. I was touched when she told Father G.’s story at one of our mailings and asked her to write it up to share. What a great gift this would be to give Baby Jesus – to spiritually adopt a priest, bishop, seminarian, or young man discerning the priesthood.

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