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Being a mother of priests

Behind every priest there is a mother; a mother who begot him, who nourished him, who taught him to take his first steps and who finally gave him to the Lord. All this makes the mother of a priest endowed with a particular dignity; for she is not the mother of just any man, but the mother of a man who upon ascending the altar surpasses in dignity all the kings of the earth and the angels of heaven because she works in the person of Christ.

 

This dignity of the mother of the priest can be seen in a particular way in a pious tradition that takes place on the day of her son’s ordination. When a priest is ordained, the bishop anoints his hands with holy chrism as a sign of his peculiar participation in the priesthood of Christ. Then those hands anointed with the holy chrism are cleansed with a purificator made of linen cloth which is given to the mother of the new priest. The mother of the priest must keep that purificator until the day of her death to be buried with it. According to this ancient custom when the mother appears before the divine tribunal and Christ questions her saying, “I have given you life. What have you given me?” She will hand over the purificator and answer: “I have given you my son as a priest”. And thanks to this Christ will have a particular mercy on her.

 

All that was said referred to carnal motherhood. It is evident that not every woman can be the carnal mother of a priest, only those privileged women that God chose from eternity to bring his priests into the world. However, we must say that there is also another motherhood that is within the reach of every woman, spiritual motherhood. Through prayer every woman can beget and sustain priests. Every priestly vocation has its origin in prayer: “Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Lk 10:3). In this way Christ ordained it; and just as the priest has the power to transubstantiate the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, so every woman can transubstantiate the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. In a similar way, every woman can, by her prayer, transform a simple man into a priest.

 

For this reason, it is through prayer that every woman can beget priests, thus becoming the mother of so many priests. A clear example of this was St. Therese of the Child Jesus, of whom we can say with total certainty that she was the mother of many priests, she dedicated her whole life to pray for priests. The saint said that she had entered Carmel “to save souls and, above all, to pray for priests”.

 

In the letters she wrote to her sister Celina, she constantly insisted on this idea: “I feel that Jesus is asking both of us to quench his thirst by giving him souls, especially the souls of priests”; “Celina, let us pray for priests, yes, let us pray for them! Let us consecrate our lives to them”; “We have to forge this year many priests who know how to love Jesus!”; “Dear Celina, what I have to tell you is always the same: let us pray for priests.”

 

Each one of you is also called to become a mother of priests, whether you are married, single or a religious. To beget and sustain priests through prayer is the noblest action to which a woman can give herself. While it is true that with a spiritual motherhood at the moment of death you will not have a purifier to give to Christ, on the other hand, you will be able to say with full confidence in divine mercy: “I have dedicated myself to pray for your priests”.

 

Fr. Francisco Javier de Igarzábal, IVE

St. John Paul II: Will you remain indifferent?

MESSAGE OF POPE JOHN PAUL II FOR THE XXI WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS (1984)

 

(…) I address above all to you, dear boys, girls, young and not so young, who are at the decisive moment of your election. I would like to meet each one of you personally, call you by name, speak heart to heart about extremely important things, not only for you individually, but for all of humanity.

 

I would like to ask each one of you: What are you going to do with your life? What are your projects? Have you ever thought about giving your existence totally to Christ? Do you think there could be something greater than leading men to Jesus and men to Jesus?

 

(…) It is obvious that praying for vocations does not mean dealing only with the vocations of others. For everyone, but especially for you, it means directly committing one’s own person, offering one’s availability to Christ. You already know that He needs you to continue the work of salvation. Will you then remain indifferent and inert?

 

Today, dear young people, there are many voices that try to invade your conscience, how to distinguish the Voice that gives the true meaning to your life? Jesus makes himself felt in silence and in prayer. In this climate of intimacy with Him, each one of you will be able to perceive the invitation, sweet and at the same time firm, of the Good Shepherd who tells you: “Follow me!” (cf. Mk 2, 14; Lk 5, 27).

 

Many of you are called to make the priesthood of Jesus present; many others to give themselves totally to Him by living a chaste, poor and obedient life; many to launch as missionaries on all continents. Many young women are called to offer their exclusive love to Christ, the only Spouse of their lives. Each call of Christ is a unique and unrepeatable love story.

 

What is your answer? Perhaps you lack the courage to answer yes? Do you feel alone? Do you wonder if it is possible to commit yourself to following Jesus totally and for your whole life?

 

If he calls you and draws you to himself, be sure that he will not abandon you. Many times we read in the Gospel: “Do not be afraid!” (cf. Mt 14, 27; Mc 6, 50); “I will not leave you orphans” (Jn 14, 18). He means that He knows our difficulties and gives those called strength and encouragement to overcome them. Jesus is everything in our life; therefore, trust Him!

Litanies of the Precious Blood

Lord, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us;

Lord, have mercy on us;

 

Christ, hear us.

Christ, hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

 

God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.

God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

 

Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father, Save us.

Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word of God, Save us.

Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament, Save us.

Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in the Agony, Save us.

Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging, Save us.

Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns, Save us.

Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross, Save us.

Blood of Christ, price of our salvation, Save us.

Blood of Christ, without which there is no redemption, Save us.

Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls, Save us.

Blood of Christ, stream of mercy, Save us.

Blood of Christ, victor over demons, Save us.

Blood of Christ, courage of martyrs, Save us.

Blood of Christ, strength of confessors, Save us.

Blood of Christ, source of virginity, Save us.

Blood of Christ, help of those in peril, Save us.

Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened, Save us.

Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow, Save us.

Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent, Save us.

Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying, Save us.

Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts, Save us.

Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life, Save us.

Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory, Save us.

Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor, Save us.

 

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

 

L. You have redeemed us, O Lord, in your Blood.

R. And made us, for our God, a kingdom.

 

Let us pray:

Almighty and Eternal God, you have appointed your only-begotten Son the Redeemer

of the world, and willed to be appeased by his Blood. Grant, we beg of you, that we

may worthily adore this price of our salvation, and through its power be safeguarded

from the evils of this present life, so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in heaven.

Through the same Christ our Lord.

Amen.