January 2016 - Oh Lord, Grant Us Priests!
This month, we are challenged to reflect on the crisis of vocations and the need for holy priests. Because of the noise of the world, its enticements, and the attacks of the devil, aspiring men really have to exercise quasi-heroic virtue in order to persevere. The appeal is for prayer for present and future vocations.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
In his teaching, Our Lord clearly tied the rise of vocations to the fidelity of our prayers. It is advisable to follow this instruction of Christ to the letter. In his time, the holy Curé of Ars said that a parish left without a priest for thirty years would end up worshipping animals. We are there now.
The need to have priests, holy priests, is today more urgent than ever. God knows this and He keeps calling souls to His exclusive service. But these souls have difficulty in hearing this divine call because the world, a luxuriant jungle, chokes it without pity. Taken up by a thousand enticements, accustomed to follow the easy way, with little real education and, consequently, little inclined to make efforts, young people do not pay any attention to God and do not hear Him calling them. Therefore, the prayer to obtain these Levites must continue and intensify.
There is no lack of generosity among the youth, but it is infected by the pervading hedonism of our age. Children of a world which has put God aside, our young people do not know the language of love that He uses to attract souls to Himself. They are satisfied to live superficially and no longer know how to make silence in themselves to adore, listen, recollect themselves. God, who speaks in silence, is not heard any more. Thus, He is not listened to any more.
And when, in spite of everything, our young people manage to extract themselves from the noise to hear the voice of God, it is often difficult for them to detach themselves from this sprawling world that holds them in slavery. Their will, weakened by the succession of sensible enticements, rises with difficulty above the tyranny of the senses. When they reach that point, this effort requires from them a quasi-heroic virtue, fruit of prayers and hidden sacrifices.
It is very necessary, therefore, to pray for vocations and for those who are called, so that, recognizing the voice of God, our young people may follow it with enthusiasm.
Thus, the beginning of this year, we ask: could each family take the resolution to pray every evening specifically for this intention? Could we take the resolution to pray more often for vocations and to offer some small sacrifices so that the divine seed may bear many and holy fruits? Indispensable fruits…
At the seminary, we have a handful of these courageous young people who have heard this call of love and enthusiastically answered it – and this is to their honor. For that, they already deserve our respect; but they need especially our prayers so that the call heard may be concretized and continued in their daily life. It should not be assumed that the seminary is, for those who live there, a smooth-flowing river. Admittedly, the environment in which they move is favorable to the development of their interior life and allows them to acquire the virtues necessary to answer God in all serenity, but the devil attacks them and tries by all means to destroy the divine call in them.
The devil particularly uses discouragement as a weapon. He makes them believe that they will never arrive at the goal and that they should return to the world. He whispers to them not to be open with their spiritual directors, throws doubt in their souls and tries to make them close in upon themselves so that they lose peace and hope.
These young souls have thus an urgent need for prayers. The duty of the Christian, a duty which constrains and obliges, is to pray for vocations and to support them so that their answer may be worthy of the call.
The appeal of souls dying of thirst is real and present; priests really are the leaven which makes it possible for the dough to rise. Without priests, what will we become? An absence of priests would immediately cause an absence of Masses and, thus, an absence of graces; in other words: death. God would no longer receive the glory due to Him and souls would wither because the world is created only to give glory to God.
The priest is necessary. Consequently, vocations are equally necessary: they demand our prayers. We cannot withdraw from this duty which is, among all those which fall to us, a most important duty. The world will be restored only by the power of Christ acting in His priests. We thus need priests, holy priests who, forgetting themselves, are given – body and soul – to God and point out the path of salvation to souls fallen into darkness.
Oh Lord: grant us priests!
May He bless you in this new year and keep you serene amidst the growing wreckage that surrounds us. May He Himself be the reward of your inexhaustible generosity that is, for us every day, a source of edification and for which we will never be able to thank you enough.
In Christo sacerdote et Maria,
Fr. Yves le Roux