Monday, August 20, 2007
Pray for priests
Are you in the habit of praying for your priest? They need your payers, for God has entrusted them with a great responsibility as well as a great honour. St Laurence Justinian says that "the sacerdotal dignity is great, but so is the burden." He says that because "priests have been raised to so high a degree of honour, that they must be sustained by great virtue, for without this virtue, instead of receiving great merit, they will receive great punishment."
Priests are called to greater sanctity than seculars, for God has called them to the sublime ecclesiastical state which demands greater perfection from them. According to St Augustine, when a priest is ordained, he places upon himself the obligation of being holy. St. John Chrysostom tells us that "priests should be so holy that all may look to them as models of sanctity; because God has placed them on earth that they may live like angels, and be luminaries and teachers of virtue to all others."
When we consider how God kept the Blessed Virgin Mary free from the slightest stain of sin, because she was to carry the Incarnate Word of God in her womb, it makes sense that God would also want his priests, whose hands daily touch the flesh of the Son of God, to be spotless as well. St. Alphonsus de Liquori call priests mirrors in which seculars should view themselves.
What an incredible responsibility it must be to be a priest! The least we can do is to show them the respect due to their divine office and to pray for them, that God will sustain them in His grace, that they may carry out their holy ministry with heavenly perfection.