As I wrote before, August 4th is normally the feast of St John Vianney, a good time to thing about our priests and what they go through. A fried wrote in response that we need to pray for our priests. How often do we go to our priests and ask them to pray for a special intention of ours? How often do we think that we should be praying daily for our priest? We think because he is ordained he is holier than we are and doesn’t need our prayers but the reality is far different.
Ordination doesn’t mean Father isn’t going to be attacked by Satan. It means that Satan will send the heavy hitters to attack him. It is far more efficient to attack Father and mess up his ministry then to attack all the parishioners in a parish. We need to pray for the angels to protect Father and the Holy Spirit to guide him in his ministry. We should offer up a prayer every time we see him, every time we go to mass and to confession.
This is especially true of priests who try to promote a strong devotion to the Eucharist. Satan will do everything possible to keep people from a real devotion to the Eucharist because he knows that devotion to the Eucharist is what changes lives.
Mary has repeatedly asked people to pray for the priests in her locutions to Father Gobbi. On page 70 of the Pieta Prayer book, Jesus is quoted as telling people to pray for their priest rather than complain. If we disagree with a priest the first place we should go with our disagreement is to God.
It is important whether we agree with Father or disagree with Father that we pray for Father. Pray that Father becomes more like Jesus, more loving, more forgiving, more generous and responsive to the needs of his congregation. Pray that Father be more open to the Spirit and inspiration of God. Pray that he becomes more humble. Pray that he always be faithful to the pope and magisterium of the Church, that he be zealous in following canon law and the norms of the Church. Pray that he be filled with the Holy Spirit when he preaches. Pray that he be more devoted to the Holy Mother. Whatever your disagreement relates to; bring it to God in prayer.
If there are enough people praying for Father then you will see Father becoming a better priest but it needs to be serious consistent prayer not just one quick Hail Mary. Find a hundred people willing to pray daily for Father and things will change. Find two hundred and things will improve even quicker.
Unfortunately, it seems easier to find two hundred people to complain and tear down Father than it is to find two hundred to pray. We have to ask ourselves why that is true, where all this negativity and dissension comes from. Who gains from all the disagreements?
If you are sitting there in the pew complaining to yourself, looking for every possible negative meaning in his sermons and comments what are you getting out of the mass? Are you really going to receive all the graces you possibly could? Who is gaining from this situation, not you, not Father and not God; who’s left? Too often it seems we play into Satan’s hands. He wants dissension and disagreement. He wants to weaken and destroy your parish. Why help him? Pray and try to see the truth of the situation.
No priest is going to be perfect. No priest is going to be liked by all the parishioners. I think I’ve heard complaints about every priest I’ve ever known. That’s the reality. I prefer the sermons of certain priests to others but in this day and age we can’t be picky. Priests do make honest mistakes. Their interpretations of Church documents and rules are influenced by the way they were taught growing up, the parishes they were in and the pastors they worked under. They are genuinely trying to bring people closer to God. We may not understand their methods or agree but the solution is not to yell, confront or try to make a big deal. The solution is to pray and when possible teach.
The Internet has made the life of a priest a lot harder. It is easy to look up all the regulations of the Church and all the norms and say that Father is doing this wrong. We wonder why Father doesn’t know all the rules etc. The reality is that Father has less time to read Zenit than we do. I used to be close to a parochial vicar who served in a parish of 1900 families. He served with another vicar, a pastor and a retired priest so he was lucky. He couldn’t even keep up with his email there were so many demands on his time. He was also lucky because he served the first twelve years of his priesthood with a pastor to guide and advise him.
Not all priests are that fortunate to be able to turn to another more experienced priest for guidance or to have other priests to share the load. Too many are stressed and overloaded going from one demand to another. They don’t have the luxury of time to create perfect Lenten programs. They make mistakes. The solution is to pray and when possible help out in the parish.
Heavenly Father, we thank You that we have a priest to give us the Sacraments. We ask that You send angels to protect him. Fill him with your spirit; open his heart to Your love so that he can love his parishioners. Fill him with love for You, Mary, the Church, the Sacraments and his people. Guide him in his decisions and actions. Help him to be faithful to the pope and magisterium. Open our hearts to love him as You desire us to. Protect us from the temptations of Satan to criticize and tear down. Put our parish under the protection of Your angels. We ask all of this in the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen