So, I picked up the Magnificat Year of the Priest Companion – a little book of novenas, litanies, essays and meditations on the value and meaning of the priesthood.
Being a Magnificat product, it is as excellently put-together as you would expect: the illustrations are gorgeous and invite contemplation. The prayers are thoughtful and comprehensive. The meditations are little gems.
Skimming through it last night, I came across a brief piece by Fr. Vincent Nagel, and it was stirring, and a little heart-breaking but ultimately so inspiring that I said, “that’s awesome,” loud enough to awake my dozing husband. I read it to him, and he loved it too. “But that’s awfully challenging,” he said. “That’s some saintly prayer…”
One of those dangerous prayers of blessing that we instinctively realize will bring great gifts, if only we dared breathe it. Here is a little excerpt:
A Priest’s Utter Dependence on God
They say that at ordination -and it’s not doctrine, but it makes sense to me- when you’re lying on the floor prostrate on the pavement, and the whole congregation and the bishop and the priests are all calling down the Holy Spirit on you, whatever you ask God in the name of his Son our Lord Jesus Christ for the sake of your vocation, he will grant. . . .
I had no doubt about what to ask. I was sick, and it was killing me, but I specifically didn’t ask to get better. I said, “Lord you know that I will forget to follow you and depend on you . You know that I will not turn to you anymore as your child if I feel I can make it on my own. So you have to break my heart always, you have to keep me poor and humble, you have to keep me incapable of anything without you. You have to make it clear to me that I can do nothing without your grace, and that will never be clear to me if I think things are going well. You have to break my heart.”
I understood that my sickness was a part of that. I didn’t want more sickness; what I wanted was utter dependence on God so that I would be true to my priesthood, true to him
I don’t want to tempt any copyright issues, but it gets even better.
My husband is right. That is some prayer to make. Yeah, downright saintly.
Related: Don Bosco on vocations