"The priesthood is an irreplaceable treasure in the Church. This is so, not because of administrative, culture or educational needs, but because it is essentially united to the sacramental ministry of Christ, the High Priest. The ordained Priest, acts in persona Christi capitis, that is: in the person of Christ who is the Head, when he celebrates the Eucharist and the other Sacraments of salvation. [...] So also the responsibility of teaching the gospel, guiding the faithful and counseling the distressed."
- Adapted from the speech of Bishop Nicola de Angelis at the Chrism Mass
Fr. Marcial Maciel summarized the importance of priests in our world today.
Most of us who have priests as our friends, worked with them before, or even those who only had opportunities speaking to them or having encountered them in one way or another, would agree that priests are influential not just in our spiritual lives, but in every aspect of our lives.
Many friends have shared with me how priests have touched their hearts; how their (priests) encouragements, prayers and even their little gestures of love have helped them increase their faith and kept them going in the midst of great hardships.
"Pope John Paul II is always my hero, and he's here in my heart forever." - A youth of my parish told me. Amazing how John Paul II could touch the hearts of young people (like me!) without having to meet us personally! I personally have met a lot of interesting priests and each of them is so different, but they are all so loving and caring! Some of them are even good looking! (Oh gosh, Lord have mercy!! But they look good because Christ shines through them!!) And I thank the Lord for working through these wonderful priests to make a difference in people's lives.
If priests have 'power' to build, so can they misuse their authority (given to them by Christ during Ordination) to destroy. And to be honest, I have also met this kind of priests.
"You are a stumbling block in this parish!"
How do you feel if a priest would point a finger at you with these words?
"They left this parish on their own free will. It has nothing to do with me or others!"
If a major misunderstanding broke out in your parish, and people (who have been faithfully serving the parish for years) started leaving one by one but the parish priest didn't even care to settle it in a way it ought to be settled, rather he made this statement and caused more faithful getting hurt... what would you do?
It hurts me when I heard these from a priest! And it hurts me double when he broke the heart of God's people!!
"I'm not going to step into this parish again. Yes, I know I'm serving the Lord but why do I have to put up with those who purely want to condemn? I can no longer grow spiritually here!"
"I don't know if I should ever trust him again, after so many things that happened here."
"He drove me out, so why should I go back?"
Imagine these happenings being witnessed/encountered by a Catholic who is still not mature enough to deal with matters like this. He/She might end up leaving the Church or becoming Protestant or worse still, turning away from God. The bottom line is, priests need a lot of prayers and support from us. I love all the priests I’ve met, no matter what personality each of them has. I have a special respect and love for them; it is the kind of love and respect that I don’t understand and I don’t know how to explain. In them, I saw and experienced a glimpse of His presence – something which I’m constantly searching for.
The following are taken from Our Lord’s revelations to Mutter Vogel (pg. 29, Mutter Vogel’s Worldwide Love, St. Grignion Publishing House, Altoting, South Germany):
"One should NEVER attack a priest, even when he's in error, rather one should pray and do penance that I'll grant him My grace again. He alone fully represents Me, even when he doesn't live after My example!" (29.6.1929)
"Oh pray much for My priests, that they'll love purity above all, that they'll celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of Mass with pure hands and hearts. Certainly the Holy Sacrifice is one and the same even when it’s celebrated by an unworthy priest, but the graces called down upon the people is not the same!" (28.2.1938)
I urge you, friends, to constantly remember your priests in your daily prayers.
For further reading, I recommend these:
This post is meant to be posted for World Day of Prayer for Priests.
Please pardon me for the imperfect use of English as it is my 2nd language. Thank you.