Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Know what you pray for Daughters!

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

You must understand well what it is that you pray for in order that you give yourself over fully to the life of Adoration and Reparation.  You must grasp in a way that even few priests do the significance of their calling and the magnitude of their identity.  Not only has the priesthood been stripped of its dignity in recent years, dimming the Face of Christ the Eternal Priest, but the impact of this on the life of the Church and the loss for the faithful has been incalculable.  The reflections below from In Sinu Jesu capture not only the beauty of the priesthood and the gift that it is for the Church but also the commitment and grace that is needed for men to be conformed to Christ in every way.  

Contrary to the attempts of the world to diminish the priesthood and make it invisible or absent altogether, the priest must give his whole self to God and allow himself to be shaped as God wills.  He must chose definitively to turn away from the vanities of the world and have eyes only for Christ and the holiness to which He has called Him.  A priest must live for the Blessed Sacrament as Christ keeps Himself present for us always in the Tabernacle.  A priest must truly put on the mind of Christ and live in complete docility to the Spirit of Lord in order that He might truly act and speak through him.  

A priest is not a functionary but rather an "alter Christus", an other Christ, in and through whom the Lord continues to speak to and heal His people.  He makes Christ present to others not in an abstract way but through his touching souls and comforting them.  The recent scandals may make many priests shrink back from making themselves so radically present to others, from loving them, and so build the walls high to protect themselves.  Yet they must not hide themselves and their identity from others but make themselves visible and vulnerable.  As Spiritual Mothers, you are poised to understand the importance of and the world's need of true fathers - fathers who heal the wounds of abuse and neglect and provide souls in their care with love, comfort, direction, guidance and courage.  The absence of true fathers has left so many with a distorted view of God and the world. And so you, Daughters, must bear priests in your hearts as you come before the Lord in Adoration and through your asceticism and sacrifices until through God's mercy the souls of true spiritual fathers are reborn.

Leave aside the things that distract you from Me. I am the one thing necessary to you in this life. Save your eyes, your ears, your mouth, your hands, and your heart, your whole being for Me, and I will unite you to Myself. Close your eyes to vanities, and your ears to flattery and deceit. Open your mouth to praise Me, to sing My glory, to speak of Me, and to speak good things to your neighbour. Keep yourself for Me, as I keep Myself for you in the Sacrament of My love. 
Know that I wait for you. There is a consolation that only you can give Me. It is your friendship that My Heart desires, and this friendship of yours cannot be replaced by any other. You are Mine and I am yours. Abide in Me and I will abide in you, speaking through you, and touching souls through your words. 
Allow Me to be the physician of souls and bodies through you. I want to live in you and pursue on earth all of those things that I did out of love and compassion when I walked among men in My flesh. You are My flesh now, and you are My presence in the world. It is through you that I make Myself visible to men. It is through you that I will speak to them, and comfort them, and heal them, and draw them to My Father in the Holy Spirit. 
There is nothing that I will not do for souls through My priests. Let them be visible and present in the world that needs them and, without knowing it, seeks them and waits for a word from them: a word of life, a word of hope, a word of compassion, a word of forgiveness. Let My priests be visible, not in order to make themselves seen and admired by men, but in order to make Me seen, and known, and loved in them and through them. 
The world is looking for fathers, and in My priests I have given souls the fathers whom they need. There are false fathers who would abuse souls and lead them along, and exercise seduction and power over them. These are not the fathers whom I am sending into the world. The fathers whom I send to souls are men in My own image and likeness: humble, meek, self-sacrificing, tender, and strong. I will give to these fathers, chosen and sent out by Me, a wisdom and a courage that the enemies of My Cross will not be able to confound. 
Let My priests forsake all selfishness and worldly aggrandisement, and so become fathers to souls in need of love, comfort, direction, guidance, and courage. It is through My priests—fathers in whom the tenderness and mercy of My own Father will be revealed to His children in this valley of tears—that the world will be healed of the sufferings inflicted upon it by the absence of true fathers. Let My priests be fathers! Let them beg Me for the grace of spiritual fatherhood, and I will give it to them in abundance.

Your prayers, Daughters, must be made with the clarity and courage of the Mother of our Lord; for you must desire that the hearts of the priests you support be shaped by the same self-emptying love of Christ.  In other words, you must pray that they be willing and able to become both priest and victim.  You must pray that they abandon themselves so completely to the embrace of Christ that they stretch themselves out with Him on the Cross.  They must bear within their bodies the marks of the Christ crucified.  In offering the Sacrifice of the Mass, they must allow the immolation of the Lamb to be renewed in their bodies and souls each day.  It is for this reason that they are ordained - to become living icons of the Christ crucified.  

It is normal that a priest be stigmatised; what is not normal, in fact, is that he not be. The real union with the Crucified each day at the altar should leave the traces of His holy wounds in his hands, in his feet, and in his heart. In offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the priest is totally assimilated to Jesus crucified. This the Father sees; this the angels see; it is only men who do not see it. 
The depth of the impression of the wounds of Jesus in the heart and in the soul of the priest is proportionate to his degree of abandonment to the embrace of Jesus, who desires only to unite him to Himself. In some, the interior impression is so strong that it manifests itself even in the flesh of the priest; in others, the identification with the Crucified remains all interior and hidden; in still others, it is barely sketched in the soul of the priest, because he rebels against the idea of letting himself be crucified with Christ, and wants to keep his life for himself. 
To ascend to the altar to offer there the Holy Sacrifice is already to offer oneself to the piercing of the nails and of the lance, and to the crown of thorns. To offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is already to risk the secret interior stigmatisation that the Father sees, who sees in secret, and the angels who are admitted to contemplate the immolation of the Lamb renewed in the body and in the soul of a man. 
To offer oneself to the interior stigmatisation is entirely in the logic of priestly ordination. In some men, God permits it to be manifested visibly, with outpourings of blood. In others, the same mystery is lived in secret, without any outward manifestation. It remains that every priest is chosen to bear the marks of the Passion of Christ, and to be the living icon of His immolation each day upon the altar.