Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Divine Mercy For Our Priests

During his visit this year to Fatima, Portugal, Pope Benedict XVI expressed in a special prayer the desire for Priests to be 'Apostles of Divine Mercy' guided by Mary.   The Holy Father entrusted and consecrated priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on May 12 at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Fatima. There, he invoked the Blessed Virgin Mary as "Mother of Mercy" and prayed:

Guided by you, we want to be Apostles of Divine Mercy, glad to celebrate every day the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar and to offer to those who request it the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Also when Pope Benedict XVI opened the Year for Priests in his homily in St. Peter's on June 19, 2009, the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It also marked the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, the patron of priests. On that occasion, the Holy Father expressed how much priests themselves need to respond to "the call to conversion" and have "recourse to Divine Mercy," so they can avoid "the terrible risk of harming those whom [they] are bound to save":

Even our shortcomings, our limitations, and our weaknesses must lead us back to the Heart of Jesus. Indeed, if it is true that sinners, in contemplating Him, must learn from Him the necessary "sorrow for sins" that leads them back to the Father, it is even more so for holy ministers. How can we forget, in this regard, that nothing makes the Church, the Body of Christ, suffer more than the sins of her pastors, especially the sins of those who are transformed into "a thief and a robber" of the sheep (Jn 10:1 ff.), or who deviate from the Church through their own private doctrines, or who ensnare the Church in sin and death? Dear priests, the call to conversion and recourse to Divine Mercy also applies to us, and we must humbly address a heartfelt and ceaseless invocation to the Heart of Jesus to keep us from the terrible risk of harming those whom we are bound to save.

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