Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Don't Forget to Pray for Priests

One of the principal vocations of the Carmelites, and of St. Therese in particular, is to pray for priests. Priests are at the forefront of our attention this year because His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI made this the Year of the Priest, but hopefully none of us needs a special year designated for this purpose to remember them in our prayers.

People can be hard on their priests. They can take each perceived slight and blow a mountain out of a molehill. They forget what it is a priest does every day. They forget that priests, like doctors, are on call and the sick and the dying don't make appointments with them. A priest is never going to complain about being up all night with a dying parishioner, but it happens. Can't we give them the benefit of the doubt?

Priests are expected to admininster the sacraments to us and act as administrators, psychologists, and to some people, entertainers. How many times have you overheard someone complaining about a sermon being boring or long? Priests are human. Some are better speakers than other. That is immaterial to the fact that the greatest thing our priests do is bring us Christ in the Eucharist. No priests, no Eucharist.

When is the last time you thanked a priest for, well, becoming a priest? When is the last time you let your priest know he gave a helpful sermon, or that his work is much appreciated by the parish? I often think one of the best ways to show our priests support is by our attendance at Mass and other parish devotions. And it doesn't take but a few minutes to send a priest a note thanking him for his service and assuring him of our prayers. I think it's human nature to assume priests don't need our prayers. In fact, they may very well need them even more than we do. The devil never quits, and a collar will not protect a man from the attacks - if anything, priests are in even greater danger. Prayer, especially the Holy Rosary, is the best spiritual weapon we have against evil. We should make it a habit to every day offer prayers for our priests, and let them know about it.

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