Posted September 22, 2014 in The Pope's Corner:
A Prayer for Priests

by Pope Francis.

I ask the Lord Jesus to enable many young people to discover that burning zeal which joy kindles in our hearts as soon as we have the stroke of boldness needed to respond willingly to his call.

I ask the Lord Jesus to preserve the joy sparkling in the eyes of the recently ordained who go forth to devour the world, to spend themselves fully in the midst of God’s faithful people, rejoicing as they prepare their first homily, their first Mass, their first Baptism, their first confession..

It is the joy of being able to share with wonder and for the first time as God’s anointed, the treasure of the Gospel and to feel the faithful people anointing you again and in yet another way: by their requests, by bowing their heads for your blessing, by taking your hands, by bringing you their children, by pleading for their sick.

Preserve, Lord, in your young priests the joy of going forth, of doing everything as if for the first time, the joy of spending their lives fully for you.

I ask the Lord Jesus to confirm the priestly joy of those who have already ministered for some years. The joy which, without leaving their eyes, is also found on the shoulders of those who bear the burden of the ministry, those priests who having experienced the labors of the apostolate, gather their strength, and rearm themselves: "get a second wind," as the athletes say.

Lord, preserve the depth, wisdom, and maturity of the joy felt by these older priests. May they be able to pray with Nehemiah: the joy of the Lord is my strength (cf. Neh 8:10).

Finally, I ask the Lord to make better known the joy of elderly priests, whether healthy or infirm. It is the joy of the Cross, which springs from the knowledge that we possess an imperishable treasure in perishable earthen vessels.

May these priests find happiness wherever they are; may they experience already, in the passage of the years, a taste of eternity. May they know, Lord the joy of handing on the torch, the joy of seeing new generations of their spiritual children, of hailing the promises from afar, smiling and at peace, in that hope which does not disappoint.

—Excerpted from the pope’s homily at the Chrism Mass, April 17, 2014


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