As faithful Catholics, we understand that without our beloved priests we would not have Christ in the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith and Christâ€™s presence on earth.
Arenâ€™t they already holy, you ask?Â Yes, however, as Fr. John Hardon puts it,
â€œPriests are to be more than ordinarily holy, more generous, more zealous, more patient. In a word, those who are responsible for Christ’s presence on earth they are to be, of all people, most Christ-like. They are to be patterns of what Christ wants all of us to be.â€
Fr. Hardon has written some of the most beautiful moving commentary on why we should pray for priests.
â€œIn our day, more than I believe in any other day before, there are pressures on all those who wish to remain faithful to Christ such as were not experienced ever before. But pressures are experienced by priests with a violence and a virulence such as no one else but a priest can understand. One saint after another has declared that the devilâ€™s principal target on earth is the Catholic priest. Stands to demonic reason â€“ if the devil can deceive and delude a Catholic priest and draw him away from Christ, what happens? What happens is what we see happening in our world today. Priests are subject to extraordinary temptations from the devil, first and mainly, but also from the world.â€
Why should lay people specifically pray for priests? Fr. Hardon continues,
â€œ Because through prayer we gain graces for them which otherwise they would not obtain. If we all need the help of one another, and we do to receive the graces we need, how much more should we pray for priests from whom we have received Jesus Christ in the Eucharist â€“ and by whom we have been so often absolved from our sins. I don’t want to even think of the state of soul I would be in except for the absolutions that over the years I have received from priests. As fellow members of the Mystical Body priests need, desperately need, our help and in no way more urgently than to obtain through the prayers we offer for them the graces from God of which, in my judgment, no one stands in greater need than do priests.â€
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