For many of us, the secular news has been filled with negativity about our priests. This has made many of our hearts heavy, especially because we know that our priests work hard to serve and we just don’t have enough of them to fill every parish’s need. Even though it has been sad to hear about all of the negative information, it caused me to think about what I could do for priests.
This problem seems so enormous: How could I possibly make a difference? I’m a single mom, full-time teacher, and catechist. In the midst of pondering, I remembered a book I began reading over the summer. This gem of a book, by Kathleen Beckman, Praying for Priests, came back into my mind. I heard a podcast over the summer and Ms. Beckman was talking about how much priests need our prayers, so I ordered the book and began reading but didn’t get very far.
I decided to look for the book in one of my many “to-read piles.” I found it and put it into my backpack, which goes with me to Adoration. This book was my answer. All I needed to do was pray intentionally for priests. Her book clarifies this way of prayer in a beautiful way. So I began in baby steps. I would say a Rosary for priests in Adoration, and reflected on each mystery by using the book. Then, I began to add a list of names of priests to my daily prayers. I chose priests that had guided me and prayed for me over the years. My new endeavor is offering the Eucharist for priests on Sundays, which Ms. Beckman also talks about in her book.
I wanted to do this because priests have so much to do and face so many challenges and perhaps we forget that they need prayers too. We usually focus on why our priest doesn’t mention a particular social challenge in his homily or offer a certain ministry, not thinking that he is human and has feelings just like we do and other challenges as well. Many priests miss their families, are lonely, and may have other spiritual battles as well.
A priest is a gift from God. God chooses each one and invites him to tend His sheep. Many answer the call and begin their lifelong journeys with hope. This vocation is filled with unknowns and challenges, and it’s a vocation that is spiritually attacked every day. The evil ones hates priests.
The more I read the book by Ms. Beckman, the more the Holy Spirit moved me to pray for priests. The more I pray for them, the more I realize that our prayers are needed. It’s scary to think that the evil one could win the battle and priests would be extinct. If this were so, no more Eucharist! That would be horrific. I don’t know about you, but without the Eucharist to sustain me and guide me, my daily life would be challenging beyond words.
For this reason, I have made praying for priests my mission and my son’s as well. We say a prayer at bedtime for our pastor and seminarians. I want to do what I can to give our priests the strength and courage that they need to complete their mission, the mission assigned to them by God.
Will you pray for priests too?
Copyright 2018 Elizabeth Estrada