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Pray For Our Priests

Did you ever wonder what it would have been like to live in the Holy Land while Jesus was alive? Can you imagine watching Him heal the sick and miraculously feed the multitudes? Can you picture being able to actually touch Him? As Catholic Christians, we believe that Jesus still makes His Body and Blood available to us in Holy Communion. We can still encounter His healing touch in the sacrament of Confession and The Sacrament of the Sick. Did you ever stop to think that none of this would be possible without the priesthood?

In spite of this, our priests still get a lot of criticism. Their homilies are boring, they don’t have enough time for us, all they talk about is money, the bishops are too liberal or too conservative, etc. Even the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, is not above criticism for any number of issues. Believe me, it’s easy to fall into this trap… I do it all the time. I observe how a priest or bishop handles a situation and think, “If I were him, I’d…” However, I try to remind that I’m not him and ask myself, “How would Jesus want me to treat the men that make it possible for me to encounter Him through the sacraments?”
St. Francis of Assisi had such a tremendous love for the priesthood that he said, “If I saw an angel and a priest, I would bend my knee; first to the priest and then to the angel.” He truly understood the gift that we have been given. St. John Chrysostom also had some very strong comments on this matter, “He who honors a priest honors Christ; he who insults a priest insults Christ.”

The next time we feel the urge to criticize one of our priests (even with an innocent comment), why not say a quick prayer for him instead? Taking it a step further, the following prayer by St. Therese of Lisieux would be a great daily Lenten devotion:
O Jesus, eternal Priest,
keep your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart,
where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands,
which daily touch Your Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips,
daily purpled with your Precious Blood.
Keep pure and unearthly their hearts,
sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and
shield them from the world’s contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit and
may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here and in heaven their beautiful and
everlasting crown. Amen.

It’s easy to forget this, but our priests have a very difficult job and we owe them so much. We should always try to remember that without the priesthood, there would be no Eucharist.
If that isn’t reason enough to be grateful to them, I don’t know what is!

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