Tomorrow is the last day of this year that has been dedicated to praying for priests. This morning we asked the priest who said Mass for us to stay for breakfast and then took some time to pray over him before he left. He said, “I’m a bit afraid now that this year is ending that people will stop praying for us. Please pray for priests.” I pass on his appeal.
Here’s an inspiring excerpt from He Leadeth Me, by Fr. Walter Ciszek about his time of imprisonment in Russia during the communist era:
The moment a priest appeared on the camp grounds by himself or with a fellow priest, he would be joined by passing prisoners. The moment it became known in a new brigade or new barracks or a new camp that a man was a priest, he would be sought out. He didn’t have to make friends; they came to him instead. It was a very humbling experience, because you quickly came to appreciate that it was God’s grace at work and had little to do with your own efforts. People came to you because you were a priest, not because of what you were personally. They didn’t always come, either, expecting wise counsel or spiritual wisdom or an answer to their every difficulty; they came expecting absolution form their sins, the power of the sacrament. To realize this was a matter of joy and of humility. You realized that they came to you as a man of God, a representative of God, a man chosen from among men and ordained for men in the things that are of God; you realized, too, that this imposed upon you an obligation of service, of ministry, with no thought of personal inconvenience, no matter how tired you might be physically or what risks you might be running in the face of official threats. For my part, I could not help but see in every encounter with every prisoner the will of God for me, now, at this time and in this place, and the hand of providence that had brought me here by strange and tortuous paths . . . The things that are of God are all the joys and works and sufferings of each day, however burdensome and boring, routine and insignificant they may seem. It is the priest’s function to offer these things back to God for his fellow men and to serve as an example, a witness, a martyr, a testimony before the men around him of God’s providence and purpose.
Don’t stop praying for priests.