Church-Gospel integration


#1

Dear brethren in Holy Mother Church,

At the behest of the Catholic Answers Fora’s Administrator(s), I personally would like to invoke intercession on behalf those who, in seeking their calling, have (like me) met so far only with the resistence of bureaucratic gurus, who in our day have a tendency to style themselves as vocation directors and other clergy/religious while demonstrating at best a diminished regard for orthodoxy and common sense.

In other words, I pray for a more spiritual, Evangelo-centric religious landscape among the professed and the men of the cloth, so that young men and women who actually subscribe to such old-fashioned, universalist views of faith and ethics may have a home within the Church’s work of (supposedly) preaching and serving.

(If anyone else, as we end this Pauline year, senses, as I sense, a calling to be a true “apostle to the gentiles” instead of putting up with the all-too-common system-serving runaround, please feel free to message me so we can rebuild the Church from the inside like Sts Francis of Assisi and Philip Neri or perhaps evangelize pagans like Sts Paul the Apostle and Patrick!)

Have a Mary Christmas and Happy Holy Days!

John


#2

In response…part 1

Bless Your priests

Remember God, that although we are consecrated into Christ’s priesthood, we retain our personal limitations and needs. Lest we ourselves become castaways, protect and give us wholeness. Nourish our prayer life and relationship with You. Nurture and enrich our entire human personalities so that we have stamina and love to serve each according to need.

Behold the endless stream of persons seeking assistance and guidance, with genuine need or with apparently trivial interruption! Behold all who pass by the periphery of our lives! Each one is an entire world, uniquely precious and sacred to You. Grant us the particular teaching and grace required for each person in our care, for we perhaps cannot guess the true state and need of the child of God confronting us. Give us the gift of loving availability, so that no one is harmed or lost due to our lack of charity or wisdom.

Give wisdom to priests and pastoral leaders. Let us be open as the Spirit reveals truth through the Church—in Scripture and Tradition, through the Magisterium, through insight subject to Truth. Let us witness gospel truths with inspiration, clarity and power. Give us humility and discernment to teach appropriately and correctly, inviting Your action with humility and trust rather than to satisfy personal tastes. Direct us safely beyond misleading doctrine, error or possibility of scandal. Help us to avoid misleading devotions while remaining open to what is genuine. Let us be inspirational, instructive, but succinct, lest we cause alienation and frustration by our homilies. These things cloud the light of Your love, and may appear to devalue our service.

Where our faith wavers, compassionately renew us, for we left much and came to follow You, willingly and hopefully. Please grant restoration and renewal of hope, courage and peace to ministers who falter before the endless demands of our vocation. Refresh those discouraged by seeming spiritual failure in self or others. Grant resolution to those enduring inner conflicts. Grant renewal of those in suffering depression or aridity. Let their fidelity free them into fullness of divine love, joy, hope, and service.


#3

part two…

Thank You for many gifts and graces that are bestowed unasked. Yet because we are created with free will, You have made prayer conditional to the granting of some graces. Please imbue us with daily prayer, joy, discipline, and humility to accept in each moment the graces offered for growth of personal wholeness and for loving service of others. Without continual conversion, we may drift from You, coming to depend upon human resources alone. We cannot persevere in our responsibility to the Church, to myriad individuals, if we remain utterly dependent on our own efforts and abilities.

Failure to trust in Your Spirit widens the gulf between our will and Yours. Our ministry, while achieving some social success, may then strain through formal practice or through humanism dressed as ‘enlightened modernism’. Rigidity of mind and heart may masquerade as righteousness. Self-will may figure as ‘courageous response to divine inspiration’ or as worldly wisdom. Limited vision and personal bias may claim to be updated theology, yet result in hidden or overt revolt against the Holy Spirit within the Church. Grant that the Church is wise in its rulings, so that people are not exasperated and disillusioned by unnecessary legalism or religiosity.

Let us not betray the Christian vision and mission entrusted to us, lest anyone—finding no gentle, firm hand of Christ warmly extended from those who purport to serve in His name—instead draw back unsolaced. They may be confused or betrayed by guidance that has none of the divine Spirit’s knowledge of their true state and need. Conversely, they may be falsely confirmed in mistaken beliefs and practices that could damage Your life in them. Please ensure that they may find enlightenment and truth.

Lack of genuine ministry discredits the Church and Christ. Therefore, grant that the prayers and penance of fellow Christians obtain abundant blessing to redress their compromised mission so that their people may receive grace and inspiration otherwise perhaps denied them.

Bless the commitment and faith with which we approach and minister Your sacraments. Grant that Your people respond with true conversion to this loving action of the Holy Spirit in our service. Aware that the Sacraments draw life from Jesus in His Mystical Body, we ask that His presence shines through His ministers, and each Christian—for Your power transcends all failure and sin. Flood Your mercy upon anyone who does not wholeheartedly follow Christ, so that we may become one with each other in Him!

Grant to Your priests and all persons, a vibrant, loving communion in You in prayer and service focussed in the Sacramental life of Your Church. As we persevere in prayer and effort, please live, love and act in us continually, even when our limitations obscure to us the operation of Your grace. Thank You for Your love in our apostolate. Bless Your priests, and each of your followers, with the fullness of Christ and of the Holy Spirit. Glorify Yourself in us in everlasting crescendo!


#4

Rebuild Your Church

Jesus, send Your Holy Spirit to renew Your Church through grace and human labour. Inspire an escalating influx of authentic vocations to priestly, religious and lay apostolates. Protect and build up Your Church through mutual love, so that the gospel is witnessed and received amongst our families, our communities, and our world.

Overcome in us that decline of worship and service into token observance, religiosity or neglect. We have clung to materialism, sensuality and ease, therefore punish ourselves by their tenacious hold upon our lives. This strangles peace of soul and impoverishes human relationships, fostering discord and injustice amongst us. Please send the Holy Spirit to inspire us with faith and mutual charity.

We have clung to our own will and preferences, thus punish ourselves by inability to rise above our limited selves into the freedom of Your love. We choose worldliness—even many of us who are consecrated to You—rather than to commit ourselves to Your love with unconditional trust.

Liberate us from imbalance regarding human appetites so that we respond to relationship with gospel love. Overcome in us the influence of immoral and unchristian values normalised by convenience, by custom, by literature and by media. Let us recognise our true relation to You and to each other as children of God. Thus, imbue us with reverence towards the sacredness of human life from conception to enfeebled old age, for we live in a society corrupted by accepted forms of injustice and murder.

Let Christ’s forgiveness, healing and peace flow through us. Rescue us from our apathy, agnosticism and atheism and from our search for instant miracle where You desire patient trust. Convert those who live religiously but without genuine faith. To those who do believe, grant deepening faith that leads us into generous commitment and loving service.

Allow Your Holy Spirit to purify and strengthen us in love, faith, hope, in justice and harmony, granting us true conversion within Your Mystical Body. Thank You for Your gift of each other in Church, our God.

I don’t know if these prayers meet your wish…from my journal ‘a handful of wildflowers’


#5

Love and commitment
Heavenly Father, for Jesus’ sake You look on Your priest and love him more than human mind can conceive!

Through Your Spirit, please transmute his humanity through Your love and unite him with You! Make Your love to be his love, Your thoughts to be his thoughts, Your truth to be his truth, Your ways to be his ways, Your strength to be his strength.

Transform him into a fountain of Your goodness and love, a source of salvation to the whole human spirit of Your people. Fill him with loving-kindness, with peace and faith to share with others.

Ever deepen his contemplation and comprehension of You, and commensurately, his love and service. Intensify his perception and understanding of other human beings. Deepen his ability to communicate Your gospel to them, and commensurately, his love and service.

Expand in him the gift of opening others’ hearts and minds, so that they become receptive to Your love and teachings. Let others be thus inspired to seek God, rather than concepts of God.

Wherever he goes, whatever he does, whatever he says or preaches, endow Your priest with grace and wisdom to inspire others to love and faith. Empower him to inflame complacency into genuine and faithful practice of Your greatest commandment, of love for You above all and others as self!

Almighty God, make him the saint You mean him to be. With thanksgiving, I offer him to Your merciful love! Lent 1980


#6

Goodness and failings of Your priests
Jesus, behold all the faith, obedience, self-denial, all the beauty, wisdom, humility and love of so many faithful priests and religious. Grant that through Your great love for them, the Father will pardon, heal and make whole all within and flowing from them.

Yet a time may come when some prove that they are fallible men, with selfishness admixed with their goodness. Please minister to anyone injured by the frailties of Your priests. Give them grace to overcome hurt and disillusionment. Heal them in the strength of Your Spirit.

Jesus, please grant reparation for the offences of Your chosen ones for their sins against faith and hope, against humility and integrity, against obedience, chastity, and above all against charity. Please absorb into Your sacred passion, the suffering that such sin draws upon the offender and upon others—together with the prayer and merit of the communion of saints—so that it becomes reparation for the sin which occasions it.

Thereby make their ministry and witness no less efficacious—despite their sins and omissions—as You heal injury, supply what is lacking, and cleanse what is tainted. Jesus, minister to Your priests. Give them grace to become truly like You the Good Shepherd who never betrays or abandons his sheep. Let their hearts and lives overflow with Your loving goodness.


#7

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