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In Persona Christi

Matthew Harrison

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Pope Benedict on Palm Sunday 2006, from the Vatican websiteYears ago a priest once told me to pray for the Holy Father.
Pray for the Holy Father?
Why does he need prayers? He’s the Holy Father!
I suppose it was a little naive of me to think that way. But I think we often have that attitude.
Priests? Why should I pray for a priest? They don't have a family to take care of, employment to worry about, a mortgage, kids to juggle, etc., etc. Just because they may not have the exact same trials or stresses that lay people may have, it does not mean they do not face trials! In fact they may have parishioners to 'juggle', a low collection and a rising operating cost to worry about, a dying relative who can not be tended to because of parish commitments, and so on. We often forget that these are men who are weak like you and I. They face difficulties, they face temptation and trials.
So as we enter into Holy Thursday, let us pray especially that Jesus, the Eternal Priest, will protect not just the Holy Father, but all priests, bishops, and Cardinals.
That he will grant them strength in times of temptation, consolation in times of discouragement, and courage in the face of adversity. That Christ will fill their hearts with his love, so that they may love their ministry and the flock they are called to shepherd. That they will not be consumed by loneliness or bitterness but filled with a holy joy and a burning zeal to spread the Gospel and serve Christ’s Church.
Consider all priests have done for us: they’ve baptized our children, heard our confessions, celebrated Mass for us, listened patiently to us, anointed our sick and dying, and buried our loved ones.
Join me then in not only praying for priests, but in saying to them, with sincere hearts: "Thank you."

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