A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pray for the preacher

The Holy See has announced that the Holy Father will not be physically walking all of the Stations of the Cross this Good Friday.

The reason is quite understandable. He is almost 81 years old and the ceremonial obligations of Holy Week are daunting, even for the youngest of pastors in the smallest of parishes: the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Eucharistic Procession on Holy Thursday, the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, increased numbers of confessions, the monumental celebration of the Easter Vigil, and then very full Masses on Easter Sunday.

In addition to these events, the Holy Father must also celebrate the solemn Mass of Chrism and then give important messages in many languages at his Urbi et Orbi on Easter Day.

It is interesting that, at the very end of this overflowing schedule of ceremonies, comes the opportunity – for young priest and venerable Pope alike – to preach to more people than at almost any other time of the year.

On Easter morning, the weary priest looks out at a congregation swelled mightily by an influx of people who rarely come to Church except on Christmas and Easter. On Easter Day, a sound bite from the Holy Father’s Urbi et Orbi will be broadcast and printed by nearly every media outlet in the world.

Parochial Vicar or Pontifex Maximus, as they face so great an opportunity, the words of today’s first reading (Isaiah 50:4-9a) provide great strength to those who must proclaim the word of God:

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.

As we approach our own celebrations of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ during the Triduum, may we remember to pray with extra fervor for the preachers among us: especially for the Holy Father and most especially for the local clergy who we will hear preach in the next few days.

Pray that the Holy Spirit may train their tongues and through these preachers may plant in the hearts of the people – especially those who do not usually come or listen – a word of grace that will rouse them.

May you and I also heed the words of today’s first reading in our own lives, so that we may be faithful and effective instruments of God in what we say and do – no matter what.

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
My face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?

Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, be merciful to me – a sinner.