“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, wither He Himself would come. Therefore He said to them, the harvest is truly great, but the laborers are few: pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send laborers into His harvest.” Luke:10.1-2
Thomas Aquinas, in Catena Aurea, quotes St. Gregory, “But not without deep sorrow we can add, but the laborers are few. For although there are who would hear good things they are wanting who should spread them. Behold the world is full of priests, but seldom is there found a laborer in God’s harvest, because we undertake indeed the priestly office, but we perform not its works. Hereby also the people must be induced to pray for their pastors, that they may be able to work what is good for them, and that their tongue grow not lifeless in exhortation. For often for their own wickedness their tongue is tied. But often for the fault of the people it comes to pass that the word of preaching is withdrawn from their rulers.”
Most of us have had priests ask us to pray for them, some even from behind the screen in the confessional. How many of us, however, remember or have ever been told that this is an obligation of the laity; nor have heard instruction regarding what calamities can befall the church if the laity do not pray for our priests and religious!
Our Lady of Fatima told the three children that we must pray and do penance. How many of us are mindful of that message? Are we simply waiting for a pope to specifically, in union with the bishops of the world, consecrate Russia by name … yet neglecting our positive moral obligation to pray and do penance? Where are the multitude of religious that live lives of self sacrifice, some very austere? Have we taught our children that with each cross we are given there is always a great good in the end as long as we accept and embrace it? Is this why so few desire to ask Our Lord if the priestly or religious life is the path He desires for them?
Could this be the reason, in part, that the Church has been in an ever accelerating state of deterioration since the 1960’s? Is this, in part, why we have confusion instead of clarity, ignorance where there should be understanding? Is it because Catholics have failed to live the message of Fatima? Have we failed in our duty to pray for priests, who give us the sacraments, teach us the catechism, and guide us on the paths which hopefully will lead us to heaven? Have they failed to hear God’s call? Could this be why many in the Church are spiritually impoverished?
The peace that is most important is interior peace. It is time for each of us to look deep within ourselves and answer the questions posed above and then, pray and do penance! While issues indeed must be identified and discussed – for recognizing a problem is half the solution – let us not fall into the bad habit of constantly complaining, destroying our own interior peace and of those around us. Let us try to stay focused on our own personal contribution to solutions before all else. This Holy Hour is but one means to make amends to God for our past failures, a means to respond to God for the sins of priests and religious who, for whatever reason, harm the Church, and for those who have been called to the priestly or religious life but have failed to respond to God’s call. The is no doubt that one reason these problems exist due to a lack of interior silence, difficult to attain with the constant noise and distractions in the world; a lack of interior silence which we all need in order to move closer to God, for He speaks to us in the silence of our hearts. This Holy Hour will help bring joy and peace into your own life, and a silence in your heart as your heart becomes a heart of gratitude. Yet even more than this, for as St. Phillip Neri said, “a joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one.”
Please remember your priests in your daily rosaries. Please pray this Holy Hour each week as possible, or find another means to make reparation for these offenses: our own past failure to pray; the sins and negligences of the priests who are to lead us to heaven, and also those of religious; and the neglect shown by those who have a vocation but fail to respond. For as Our Lord said to St. Gertrude; “I come to absolve, by the virtue of My Divinity, all those who humble themselves for the negligences which they have committed concerning their Rule.” May our priests and religious be given great humility! May they be given all the graces necessary to fulfill the duties of their state. May our hearts, and theirs, be filled with peace and joy.
Sincerest thanks is given to His Excellency Bishop Edward Slattery for his permission to print. But even more so to Our Lord, Who though the Blessed Mother gave His Excellency the grace to see the need for this, and to Our Lady Herself for directing our prayers, teaching us gratitude, and showing us the need to pray and make reparation for our priests and religious.