Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saint Thérèse and her spiritual maturity in praying for priests...

Indignant at the actions of some priests and bishops?

We learn from many of the saints that spiritual maturity involves praying for others and not venting about them.  For Thérèse, this was especially true about clerics for whom she felt particularly moved to pray, recognizing they must also fight the effects of Original Sin and are in need of grace.  Helping one priest this way helps his entire flock.  Helping one bishop this way helps an entire diocese.

It's hard to  imagine that,  had the Little Flower had lived today, with all of the technology we have, that she would choose to take to the internet to complain about priests and bishops rather than to take her concerns to Our Lord, begging for graces to convert and strengthen them.  The worldly approach to vent is part of the 'gospel of feel good', as it gives us relief. But venting has no basis in Scripture. The chance of actually changing imprudent and wayward clerics this way is quite small.  Time and again, the saints have shown us that praying for others and making sacrifices for them can do the greatest good, especially when it comes to priests.  Saint Thérèse is among them.

This is not to say we cannot respectfully voice disagreement where we feel there is a danger to the faith, but so much of what is out there hardly respectful. We have lost a sense of what is considered respectful disagreement and castigating others in a rage-filled online vent.

Pray for the Sanctification of the Priesthood

The Order of the Holy Cross has been holding a Holy Hour every Thursday night at 8:00 for the sanctification of the priesthood at Assumption Grotto.  I know of other parishes who hold holy hours with Exposition on Thursday nights - the night of Our Lord's Passion.   Can you give one hour every week in prayer for priests at an Adoration Chapel near you, or in a parish that is open, or in your home if those are not options?  Can you pray daily, the prayer by Saint Thérèse at the top of this page? Fathers - can you begin a Holy Hour for the sanctification of the priesthood and for priestly vocations every week? Bishops - can you arrange for a weekly holy hour in your cathedral for this purpose?

Below this line is the beginning of a conference that took place on May 17, 2000 and is found on the Vatican's website.  A link to continue reading is at the bottom.

Wednesday 17 May – The Saints speak to the Priests


It was a Sunday in July 1887.

Teresa Martin, an adolescent, shut her prayer book at the end of Mass, and suddenly she saw an image of Crucified Jesus on the margin: it was only the nailed hand of Jesus, and the drops of wine seemed to fall into emptiness…

Later on she told how much sorrow she had experienced in that moment, «at the thought that blood had fallen on the ground and nobody had paid any attention about collecting it…», and that was when she promised to spend her life at the foot of the Cross to collect the precious blood of Christ and give it to souls.

Thus began the ecclesial mission of Theresa of Lisieux.

However, there is a very interesting note, which she added to this episode: « Even the cry of Jesus on the Cross continuously echoed in my heart: «I am thirsty!» These words aroused in me a very strong burning never experienced before…I wanted to give my Lover to drink and I myself felt devoured by the thirst of souls. These were not yet the souls of priests who drew my attention, but the ones of great sinners – I was burning with the wish to pull them away from those eternal flames…» (Ms A. 45v).

When Theresa was about fourteen years of age, she thought of the great sinners, and implored for the salvation of a well-known criminal who was about to be hung.

She was not even thinking of priests at that time, because she was absolutely convinced of their holiness.

We know that as a child she simply identified them with Jesus.

Writing about her first confession, she said:

«Beloved Mother, how careful you were in preparing me by saying that I was telling my sins not to a man, but to the good Lord. I was really convinced of this. Hence I said my confession with a strong spirit of faith and even asked you whether I should say to Don Ducellier that I loved him with all my heart since I was talking to the good Lord through his person…» (Ms A 16v).
But when she took part in the pilgrimage to Rome organised by the dioceses of Coutances and Bayeux (one hundred and ninety-five pilgrims of whom seventy-three priests), her apostolic anxieties began to turn in particular towards priests.

She explained that change by simply saying the following:

«Praying for sinners fascinated me, but praying for the souls of priests, whom I thought were purer than crystal, seemed strange to me! Ah! I understood my vocation in Italy: it was not going too far to have such useful knowledge… I lived with many holy priests for one month and understood that, if their sublime dignity lifts them above the angels, this does not mean that they are not weak and fragile. If holy priests, whom Jesus calls in His Gospel «Salt of the Earth» show by their behaviour great need for prayer, then what must one say about the ones who are lukewarm? Did Jesus not also say: «If the salt lost its taste, what could one use to make it salty?» Oh Mother! How beautiful is the vocation to preserve that salt destined for souls! This is the vocation of Carmel, because the only purpose of our prayers and our sacrifices is to be anapostle of the apostles, to pray for them whilst they evangelise souls by words and above all by example…» (Ms A 56r).

Hence something deeply struck her during the pilgrimage: if even the most «holy» priests did not hide their weakness and fragility, and «showed by their behaviour to have great need of prayer»…Then what happened to the «lukewarm» people who spoilt «thsalt destined for souls»?

The question did not scandalise that young maiden who was going to Rome to ask Pope Leo XIII the grace to be able to enter the Carmelites at eighteen years of age. On the contrary: she threw a dazzling light on her vocation which so many people considered too immature.

Continue reading Saint Thérèse on praying for priests...


For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.