“Perhaps, more than we realize, the lay faithful take a cue from a priest’s commitment to God. If we perceive authentic fervor, we are inspired. But if fervor seems lacking, we ca try to excuse our own mediocrity. Yet it’s also true that “holy Christians guarantee holy priests.” If we want to be inspired by our priests, we need to be people who inspire them.” You might ask yourself how is this possible? How can we be inspiration to our priests? You will find out that answer and more in Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization
by Kathleen Beckman.
Kathleen presents in this book a mission for us all. In 2012 the lay faithful were asked by the Congregation for the Clergy to engage in Eucharistic intercession for priests and vocations to the priesthood. “The Congregation for the Clergy’s initiative and other Church documents invite intercession for through family prayer in the home, the formation of prayer groups within parishes or homes, and individual prayer.” Kathleen continues, “The priests responsibility is awesome, and he is held to a higher standard that requires a continuous offering of prayer, from him and others. Praying for our beloved priests assumes a deeper appreciation for the grandeur of the priestly office and a magnanimous response to Jesus, who exhorts us to ask the Lord to send laborers into His harvest (cf. Matt.9:38).” The opening chapters of the book centers around these themes and establishes the reasons why we should be praying and put particular emphasis on the fact that we at least need to try to engage in the mission of prayer.
Upon establishing the why, Kathleen explains how to take up this mission. “The initiative of prayer for priests calls for deepening our encounter with Jesus the Eternal Priest through worship of Him in the Eucharist.” That is the first step and the best way to achieve this deepening encounter is through Eucharistic Adoration. Kathleen devotes an entire chapter of the book to this devotion and how it can be used to spiritually fortify our priests.
Additionally another chapter is spent on the Rosary. The author explains the importance of the Rosary and highlights the call of Saint John Paul II to pray the Rosary for priests. This chapter was filled with examples of the power of the Rosary as an intercessory prayer for good. If you already regularly pray the rosary you may find this chapter a bit elementary but you should still work your way through it as there a number of interesting nuggets included.
Part Two of the book provides the tools for our mission. It contains three spiritual rosaries. The first, A Scriptural Rosary for Priests, focuses on the Joyful, Glorious, Sorrowful and Luminous Mysteries.
The second, A Scriptural Rosary for Vocations, utilizes the Luminous Mysteries. Lastly the third, A Scriptural Rosary for Reparation, focuses its meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries.
Another exceptional resource was the first Appendix Spiritual Exercises for the Mission. The appendix includes a wealth of prayers and reflections including: Self Offering: Intercession for Priests, Seven Holy Communions for Priests, Seven Holy Hours for Priestly Virtues, a Litany of Reparation for Offenses against the Priesthood, and a Self-Offering of Suffering for Priests.
This was a valuable and timely book on the priesthood, a topic that has seen much negative press in recent years. Now more than ever our priests need our support and prayers. Kathleen Beckman has made this her mission. She has written a book that allows us to be a part of that mission and gives readers a road map on how. Our priests are on the front lines of perhaps an unprecedented period of spiritual warfare. As secular society continues to undermine the significance of religion and focus on the mistakes of those in the abuse scandal the laity must step up and support those who have dedicated their lives to Christ. We would do well to read and listen to what we are being told and in turn take up the call and pray for our priests.
I received a copy of the book for this review from the publisher, Sophia Institute Press.