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Let Us Suffer for Priests

From “Adoration, Reparation, Spiritual Motherhood for Priests” produced by the Congregation for the Clergy, 2007

St Therese of Lisieux

(1873 - 1897)

Therese was only 14 years old when, on a pilgrimage to Rome, she understood her vocation of spiritual motherhood for priests.

In her autobiography she describes that after having met many holy priests on her trip to Italy; she understood that they are weak and fragile too, in spite of their sublime dignity.

“If holy priests…show in their conduct their extreme need for prayers, what is to be said of those who are tepid?”

In one of her letters she encouraged her sister Céline, “Let us live for souls, let us be apostles, let us save especially the souls of priests. …Let us pray, let us suffer for them, and, on the last day, Jesus will be grateful.”

In the life of Therese, Doctor of the Church, there is a moving episode which highlights her zeal to aid souls, especially those of missionaries. While she was very ill and had great difficulty walking, the nurse advised her to take a little walk for a quarter of an hour each day in the garden. She faithfully obeyed although she did not find it effective. On one occasion, the sister accompanying her noticed how painful it was for her to walk and remarked, “You would do better to rest; this walking can do you no good under such conditions. You’re exhausting yourself.” The saint responded, “Well, I am walking for a missionary. I think that over there, far away, one of them is perhaps exhausted in his apostolic endeavours, and, to lessen his fatigue, I offer mine to God.”

You will see that there is much stress on the need for personal holiness. Without prayer we can do nothing. Since we need Holy Bishops and Priests we not only pray for vocations but also pray:

• that priests be filled with the love of Christ, that they will be secure in their identity and vocation and alive with the power of the Holy Spirit;

• that priests will attain to a deep interior life that will liberate them from materialism and sensuality and from discouragement, indifference and cynicism;

• in thanksgiving for the vast army of faithful priests that they may grow in the love of Christ and that the title "Father" may have meaning because of all those who are brought to new life and holiness;

• for Bishops and priests who are persecuted and imprisoned; who are rejected and poor;

• That priests will be protected from the deception of the evil one and safeguarded from confusion of doctrine and rebellion against authority in the Church.

During the Prayer Vigil on 10th June 2010 to commemorate the close of the Year for Priests Pope Benedict XVI encouraged all present by saying : “As the Lord invites us, we must pray to God, knock at the door, at the heart of God, that He may give us vocations. Pray insistently and with great determination and conviction, because God does not close Himself to insistent, incessant and trusting prayer, even if He lets us wait .... longer that we expect".

Vocations Guide to Priesthood


The need to pray for our priests


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