Friday, November 8, 2013

November Prayer Intention for the Holy Father

The Holy Father always has prayer intentions. Some are personal: for friends, family, or other needs. One per month is made public and are published, among other places, by the Apostleship of Prayer. He also has a mission intention each month that goes along with it. These are what we especially should pray for when praying for the Holy Father's intentions.

Here is the Holy Father's prayer intention for November:
“That priests who experience difficulties may find comfort in their suffering, support in their doubts, and confirmation in their fidelity”.

 We always need to pray for the sanctification of priests. I think we forget to do this because we think that priests are superheros of their own accord. Or something.

As a minister of the sacraments, it is only natural that grace that flows through him also dwells in his soul, for instance when hearing Confessions. Grace also comes into his soul when he himself receives the sacraments. So it's not so much cooperating with grace to keep out of sin as it is transforming one's weaknesses into an ever-increasing charity, into picking up one's cross of sin and perfecting it.

Priests are sinners, certainly, but I think the priests I know are largely on their way to controlling battles of grave sin. A priest's schedule of prayer and work along with spiritual formation beginning in seminary contribute to this. It's the little things they need help with. Unruly parishoners, crises of health or other issues we don't see typically. It also seems to me that we need to pray that priests can outwardly show the Christian spirit as often as possible.

Look at Pope Francis and Monsignor Marini during and after the liturgy. All priests should emulate this as much as possible. Cardinal Burke is also a good priest to model. I wish I could be half as friendly as His Eminence.

Oh yes, I can't forget Fr. Nathan Malavolti, TOR, who is a vice president (and I think he has chem classes?) here at Franciscan. He's new on campus this year, and if someone asks which friar he is, I just say "The smiling priest." Nuff said.

 That is not to say that they cannot be upset or suffer (and we must pray for these priests as the Holy Father asks), for the Christian life is not on the mountaintop. But pray for them to persevere in things large and small so that they might be examples to us. Especially pray for Fr. Gordon MacRae, a priest of the Diocese of Manchester falsely imprisoned for abusing children, who is still imprisoned.

One final thing: the attitudes of these priests who I have suggested as models are good ones for all Christians, not just priests.

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