I am sure that by now all of you have heard the distressing news about Fr. Corapi leaving the priesthood. He has been on my mind and heart all week, and I’ve gone back and forth a thousand times about whether I wanted to say anything about him on the blog. Today I realized that the only thing I want to say is this: guys, we have to pray for our priests.
And by “pray for our priests” I don’t just mean “mention them in our prayers every now and then, when we happen to remember to pray for them or when Fr. So-and-So looks like he’s having a particularly rough day.” I’m talking about a personal commitment to intercede for them daily, by name, with the particular intention of praying for their holiness, their perseverance, and their protection from the enemy.
I have long felt that spiritual motherhood for priests was an important part of my vocation (more about that in another post!), and for years I have prayed for the priests in my life as best I knew how – but now it seems as though the Lord is inviting me to do more for them. From now on, I want to be more fervent in my prayers, more generous with my sacrifices, and more willing to suffer for their sakes. The whole sad situation surrounding Fr. Corapi has left me more convinced than ever of the tremendous need priests have of our prayers – particularly those priests who struggle most to be faithful to their vocation, those who suffer most (physically, emotionally, spiritually), those who are most tempted, those who are trapped in patterns of sin, those who are persecuted, those who have no one to support or encourage them, those who are closest to death, and most of all, those who have left the priesthood.
I read on Zenit.org this week that the Congregation for the Clergy is encouraging Catholics to participate in prayer vigils for Pope Benedict XVI as he prepares to celebrate his 60th anniversary of ordination on June 29. We are being asked to pray not only for the Holy Father, but for all of the clergy:
In addition to praying for the Pope’s life, health, happiness and protection from every evil, the faithful are asked to pray for bishops, priests, deacons and all ministers of the Gospel, that they may be faithful to their vocation and their self-giving, and to remember the Church, vocations, the laity and deceased priests.
The “prayer campaign” is set to conclude next Friday, July 1, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was designated by Pope John Paul II in 2002 as a special day of prayer for priests.
I’ve decided that over these next nine days, I will post a “novena” of my favorite prayers for priests – a different prayer each day. (Obviously this is not a novena in the traditional sense, but I really wanted to share all of these beautiful prayers with you, not just one!) Please join me in praying for the Holy Father, for Fr. Corapi, and for all priests.
This first prayer is my favorite prayer for priests. I keep a copy of it in my breviary and pray it each night after Compline.
Mother Teresa’s Prayer for Priests
Mary, Mother of Jesus, throw your mantle of purity over our priests. Protect them, guide them, and keep them in your heart. Be a Mother to them, especially in times of discouragement and loneliness. Love them, and keep them belonging completely to Jesus. Like Jesus, they too are your sons, so keep their hearts pure and virginal. Keep their minds filled with Jesus, and put Jesus always on their lips, so that He is the One they offer to sinners and to all they meet.
Mary, Mother of Jesus, be their Mother, loving them and bringing them joy. Take special care of sick and dying priests and the ones most tempted. Remember how they spent their youth and old age, their entire lives serving and giving all to Jesus.
Mary, bless them and keep a special place for them in your heart. Give them a piece of your heart, so beautiful and pure and immaculate, so full of love and humility, so that they too can grow in the likeness of Christ. Mary, make them humble like you and holy like Jesus. Amen.
Lord, give us priests! Give us holy priests! Give us many holy priests!
Mary, Mother of Vocations, pray for us!
St. Joseph, Guardian of Vocations, pray for us!
All you angels and saints of God, pray for us!