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Friday, August 4, 2017

How Will You Honor St. John Vianney? How about Saying Thank You to a Priest!

Today is the feast day of St. John Vianney, patron of priests and, in particular, parish priests. At Mass this morning I was thinking about and praying for many of the priests who touched my life: those who celebrated Masses I attended, heard my confessions, advised me, blessed me, buried my relatives and friends, anointed me when I was sick...what a number!

I'm also praying today for the priests who scandalized me and my family: the dissenters who told me falsehoods about the faith, those who desecrated the Mass, the teachers who lied to my children...all the scandalizers. I'm praying for the "retreat master" at my supposedly Catholic college who condemned the "outdated" Church and told students not to bother going to Mass if they didn't get anything out of it. What a jokester he was and how he played to the crowd. And foolish as we were, we laughed and listened.

And then he left the priesthood and got married -- three times. And wrote silly books of poetry about the journey which never seemed to end in a goal. He suffered from depression they say. How could it be otherwise?

I'm praying for him today especially. He called himself a "searcher" but never found what he was looking for and apparently died outside the Church. What a sad ending to a sad life. And how many souls lost their faith during his popular road show?

I think this afternoon I'll pick up a book by one of the good and faithful priests who zealously spread the faith, often against error: my confirmation patron St. Dominic, one of my favorite spiritual writers, St. Francis de Sales, and that dear and eloquent writer Thomas a Kempis who gave us The Imitation of Christ, and no doubt would be a canonized saint today if he hadn't been buried alive leading to questions about whether he despaired in his final moments.

Let's reflect today on what a gift faithful and holy priests are to the Mystical Body of Christ. What a blessing they are to the Church. They say you get the priests you deserve. Let's examine our own lives today and pray that the Lord make us worthy of holy priests.

Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us.

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