Strayed or faltering shepherds
Jesus, please safeguard priests as true shepherds of Your people. Be mindful of those who have left Your service. Give them the grace of knowing that You love them and that the Church cares for them.
Some priests abandon their ministry due to overstrain of their human resources, or because of doubt or loneliness. Please grant them renewal and the support of others. Love them back to full use of their faith, courage, generosity, and ability. Return them to Your service, with loving-kindness, right judgement, and peaceful balance in acceptance of human limitations that are made fruitful only through You in faith.
Jesus, do not allow You priests or people to flounder in doubt. Give them grace to repeat humbly—“I believe. Help my unbelief.” To Your priests and Your people, give trust that reaches beyond human limitations into eternal truth.
Heal those weakened by illness, worldliness, sensuality, or discouragement. In healing Your priests, please enable them to serve according to realistic judgement. To renewed and faithful priests alike, please grant wholeness and peace. Grant them encouragement, with prayerful, practical support of brother priests and parishioners. Every person has responsibility to share in care and support of others and in the mission of Christ. Let all experience Your love and reality in sharing gospel charity with Your ministers and fellow humans.
Where Your love does not animate their witness then egoism, pride or despair may compromise ministry or cause desertion. Do not allow Your priests to be overwhelmed by material desires. Inspire them to approach everything in a balanced manner. Please give renewal of love and grace to all whose hearts falter in self-reliance, in pride, rebellion, in neglected prayer-life, in mechanical, reluctant, or self-congratulatory good works. Let their humanity help them understand others’ needs and difficulties. Do not allow them to fall to scandal that harms others and results in their discredit and dismissal.
Let Your priests neither abandon You in worldliness, nor despair with Judas. Let them learn of Peter. He whom You had so highly favoured, abandoned You in time of greatest need, denying You before men—thus calling upon himself a similar judgement before heaven. Repenting, he trusted Your mercy. To his contrite heart, You imparted grace to reaffirm love for You, responding by raising him to guardianship of Your continuing life on earth, the Church.
Merciful Jesus, who longs to have Your chosen ones with You forever in the glory of Your Kingdom, have mercy on Your strayed and faltering servants. Please give them grace to return or to remain in Your faithful, loving service. 1982
Jesus, where scandal shadows Your priests, remember that Your own integrity was often questioned. Yet You are sinless God. Even so, You assumed the burden of our sin and died as a criminal. Your followers scattered in shame and fear, and Your cause was discredited. Have mercy, then and restore those hounded by scandal. Where offence is genuine, grant contrition, and pardon the offenders, granting them to rise again in You with courage, love and trust.
Do not permit Your priests to merit the curse of ‘he who gives scandal to Your little ones’. Where others are damaged or disillusioned by Your minister’s offence or misfortune, please grant repentance and pardon, or exoneration. Heal anyone wounded by his fault, sin, omission, misjudgement or misfortune. Please pardon and heal those who accuse or judge Your priest, for in doing so they may fall into grave sin. You alone may judge Your chosen ones.
By Your incarnation and life, death and resurrection, You restore humankind to a state more enriched than our original state of innocence. You achieved this out of a situation where humankind had so fallen from grace that only the Son of God Himself could redeem us. Please grant such restoration to Your chosen ones, to any soul, who have fallen from grace or reputation.
Renew in them the joyful consciousness of the miracle and mystery of Your love for each person. Grant them insight of the preciousness of each child of God, filling them with gratitude that You allow them to serve.