Since today is the feast of St. John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests, let’s again take this time to thank God and pray for those men who have answered the call to freely renounce the gift of self to another person that they might give themselves totally to Christ “for the kingdom of heaven.” I should have noticed today’s feast day when I did my TOB Tuesday post last week! Oh well, our priests, who are just as vulnerable to temptation and human weakness as the rest of us, need all the prayers they can get!
Dear Saint John Vianney,
your childhood dream was to be a Priest, to win souls for God. You endured years of toil and humiliation to attain the Priesthood. You became a priest truly after God’s own heart, outstanding in humulity and poverty; prayer and mortification. Totally devoted to the service of God’s people. The Church has exalted you as model and patron saint of all Parish priests, trusting that your example and prayers will help them to live up to the high dignity of their vocation to be faithful servants of God’s people, to be perfect imitators of Christ the Saviour Who came not to be served but to serve, to give His Life in ransom for many.
Pray that God may give to His Church today many more priests after His own Heart. Pray for all the priests under your patronage, that they may be worthy representatives of Christ the Good Shepherd. May they wholeheartedly devote themselves to prayer and penance; be examples of humility and poverty; shining modelss of holiness; tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God; zealous dispensers of God’s Grace in the Sacraments. May their loving devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist and to Mary His Mother be the Twin Fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry.
While Christ reveals to man and woman another vocation, above the vocation to marriage, namely, renouncing marriage in view of the kingdom of heaven, he highlights the same truth about the human person with this vocation. If a man or a woman is capable of making a gift of self for the kingdom of heaven, this shows in turn (and perhaps even more) that the freedom of the gift exists in the human body. This means that the body possesses a full “spousal” meaning. (JP II, 1/16/80 TOB 15:5)
See my previous post: “How do They Know? They’re Celibates!” on celibacy for the kingdom and the fulfillment of our sexuality. The celibate vocation is so important in our society, especially today, because, while the marriage is a sort of rocket booster meant to shoot us into heaven, celibates proclaim to the world that this heaven is real.