Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in æternum! Amen.
Happy Year of Faith, everyone! I woke up to the Mass opening the Year of Faith from Rome. ’twas quite nice to wake up to some sung Latin. Nothing like hearing the Pope offer Mass in Latin with his hybrid Bavarian-Italian accent. I❤ mah Papa Bene!
As I covered in a previous post, Pope Benedict declared that starting today (11 October 2012) until 24 November 2013 will be commemorated as a Year of Faith. Today just so happens to be the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, which I think is a highly misunderstood and oft-abused Council in some circles of the Church (I won’t get into that rant today).
As part of the observations for the Year of Faith, the Pope has asked us to read the The Documents of Vatican II along with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Pertaining to the reading of the Catechism, today was the first day of the daily emails containing sections of the text for those who wish to undertake the reading of it in its entirety in a year’s time. I got it this morning but I have not has a chance to read it yet. Probably tonight before Vespers and Compline and in between parts of the VP debate (Go Ryan! Vote Romney Ryan 2012!).
Here are two posts from a new favorite Catholic blog of mine (that shall be added to the blogroll soon) with suggestions for what to do for the Year of Faith:
100 Catholic books to read for the Year of Faith – perusing the list, there are rather good texts on that list. I have read a few of them already!
Did we mention the PLENARY INDULGENCE?!!?! Yes, Catholics still have indulgences. We just can’t sell them anymore. *sarcastic “oh shoot” fingersnap*
But what does this all have to do with our dear priests?
Isn’t it obvious?!
We all have a universal call to holiness but our dear priests (and bishops, of course) are our leaders with the Pope at the head. They are the ones who are trained to preach, teach, and proclaim the Truth of Christ and His Church to all. While they cannot promote or decry a particular political party, they can preach about what the Church teaches.
Sometimes, they are embraced for it. Other times, sadly, they are ostracized and calumny-ed for it. It’s not an easy vocation (no vocation is easy).
The priest brings us the Truth in his words of preaching and teaching. He brings us Truth in his offering Mass and celebrating the sacraments. He brings us the Truth by the manner he lives his vocation.
When you have a doctrinal question, if you don’t go to a solid book like say Catholicism For Dummies, you typically go to your priest. The priest is our spiritual father. The priest is the presence of Christ among his people.
The Evil One hates priests more than anyone save the Blessed Virgin Mary (but that’s because she stepped on his head with her heel) because of for Whom they stand: Truth/Christ.
The Devil has special traps to trip up priests to get them to falter in their vocation that while they may be used on others, are set in such a way that they are “tailor-made” for priests. He likes to attack them with bouts of loneliness and despair, with doubts and questions, and with spiritual aridity (though sometimes that comes from God to strengthen the soul).
Imagine if we lost many of our priests to these and other specially-laid traps! Who would be our spiritual fathers?! Who would offer Mass for us and bring us the Lord in the Holy Eucharist? Who would absolve us from sin in persona Christi in the sacrament of Confession/Penance? Who would anoint us when we are sick or dying? Who would preach the Truth at Mass?
We need to pray for our priests. We need to offer sacrifices for our priests. They help us grow in our relationship with Christ and in our Faith.
I have decided that every Thursday (a special day honoring the Priesthood since it was established on Holy Thursday), I will post a special prayer for priests. When you offer this prayer, think of all the priests dear to you and pray for those priests who are in danger of losing the vocation or are not necessarily the most faithful to Christ and His Church. Pray for seminarians too since, God willing, they will be priests in due time.
For the first Thursday, I am going to offer a prayer for Thursdays that I pray every (you guessed it) Thursday when I am at Church. It was written by Venerable Pope Pius XII (one of my favorite Popes). The prayers I am sharing come from the non-copyrighted prayers (I know, who puts a © on prayers but that’s another story) from Chalice of Strength which come from Opus Sanctorum Angelorum and can be purchased online here.
O Jesus, Eternal Pontiff, Good Shepherd, and Fountain of Life, Who by the special goodness of Your Most Sweet Heart, have given us priests to fulfill in us the designs of sanctification which Your grace inspires in our hearts, we ask You: come to their aid with the assistance of Your mercy.
O Jesus, may they have in their labors a lively faith; in trials unwavering trust; in their decisions a burning charity.
Grant that Your Word, the irradiation of the Eternal Wisdom, may become through continuous meditation the never failing nourishment of their interior life. Let the example of Your life and passion animate their actions and sustain them in their suffering, so that they may teach, enlighten, and comfort us in our sorrow. Lord, grant our priests the grace of detachment from purely worldly concerns. Let them first and foremost be solicitous for Your glory and keep them faithful to their duties.
Keep them pure in conscience till their last breath, so that when death comes to the body, they may place into Your hands their mission faithfully accomplished so that they may find in You, Lord Jesus Christ, Who on earth were their Master, the prize of the Crown of Justice, in the glory of the saints.
As we observe the Year of Faith in different ways, may we never forget our priests, our spiritual fathers who are charged with the welfare of our souls by their words and actions. Support them. Love them. Pray for them. Even adopt a priest/bishop or two. Pray and offer sacrifices for them and for those who are not faithful to the Church Christ founded. Remember, if it were not for the priest, we would never have been able to have been baptized (you know, besides our parents and godparents) and we would never receive the Lord in Holy Communion. Our priests are a great treasure for us.
Feel free to share the different ways you are observing the Year of Faith in the comments below.
All right, I have a hair appointment in a bit so I have to get some other stuff done. It’s amazing how fast my hair goes from nicely-shaped to a hawt mess. It will be so nice to have a well-coiffured head of hair again! YAY!
Have a wonderful day!