A few years ago when our parish said good bye to a great priest, (he was called to help another parish ), I wondered if God would bless us again with another great priest (after all, we already have a great pastor.) Would our parish even get a second priest due to the shortage of priests?
Not long after Father left, our parish was blessed once again with a holy, enthusiastic priest. From the first Mass he said for our parish, I knew God blessed us once again. He has been with us for a little over a year now and I've seen how much he loves our God and our Lady. We still have a winning team of priests at our parish. With the world as tough and depressing as it is, every time I go to Mass, my hope is renewed. God is reminding me that He is with us and He has many faithful shepherds ready to guide us to Him. Isn't God amazing?
Our "new" priest said many Masses and homilies over the year and, just like with our pastor, I've learned something from each one. Sometimes he reinforces the teachings we grew up with. In this world that tells you the church is wrong and unfair, it's nice to come "home" and be reassured. Other times we hear some tough teachings, just as Jesus gave to His disciples. Another time I've seen him completely humbled and literally on his knees in reparation for the priest scandals. Finally, there are the times I've seen him be brave and talk about things that might make him unpopular in this secular world.
I've also learned so much from the priests we've had in our parish. One thing I'm learning here is that when God takes something precious from us, he doesn't leave us stranded. He bestows greater blessings on us which often fulfills a need we never even knew we had. I've learned our priests have the toughest job in the world. They will often be unpopular, ridiculed, and called discriminatory. Not only is there a potential for them to be attacked by the secular world, but if they do their job well, there is potential for them to be attacked by the devil and his temptations. Yet they still do their job. I've learned that more than anything, our priests need our prayers. After all they give us with Mass and of course bringing us Jesus every week (and even every day), offering prayers for them is the least we can do for them.
So here is my personal prayer for not just my parish priests, but for priests worldwide:
Dear Jesus, the Good Shephard
Thank you for giving us our holy priests.
May your Spirit of Truth and Wisdom inspire their hearts
And their words be Your words, King of Peace.
Guide them with your Providence
and Protect them from harm.
May they always be faithful to You
in doing your Will.
Bless them with courage for their tough job ahead
Shield them from the temptations of the evil one
and Surround them with your holy angels.
Copyright Jennifer Gladen 2012