The Power Of Prayer
The Devil will do everything in his power to undermine our resolve to pray for our priests. He will frighten us with the burden of this responsibility, remind us of the haphazardness of our efforts, and persuade us that the whole thing is pointless and that our prayers will go unheard. And yet, every sacrifice and prayer undertaken on behalf of our priests, even the smallest and least significant in our eyes, has infinite value before God. The story of the vocation of the great nineteenth-century German bishop, Wilhelm Kettler, proves our point.
The prospect of a brilliant legal career lay before the young and gifted Wilhelm. Success, prestige, wealth, all this was within his reach. He was already laying concrete plans to realize his dreams when suddenly one evening he had a vision that would forever change his life: "In a luminous cloud before me stood Christ showing me His Sacred Heart. Before Him knelt a nun with her hands raised in a gesture of supplication, From the mouth of Jesus I heard the following words: 'She is ever praying for you!' Whatever it was - dream or no - it had an extraordinary effect on me. I felt profoundly touched; and from that moment on I decided to devote myself to God as a priest in His exclusive service."
Twenty years later, now as a shepherd of the Church, Bishop Wilhelm was visiting a bishop friend of his. That morning he celebrated Holy Mass in a convent chapel in a neighboring town. While giving out Holy Communion, he recognized one of the sisters as the one whom he had seen in his vision. On concluding the liturgy, Bishop Ketler asked the mother superior to introduce him to the sisters. He blessed them all, but the one he expected to see was not among them. He asked the mother superior if all the sisters from the convent were present. It turned out that one was missing - the one who worked in the pigsty. When they fetched her in, Bishop Wilhelm begged to speak with the nun privately. Once they were alone, he asked her if she had ever prayed for him.
With great simplicity she told him that she had no idea, since she had never known of his existence. In the course of their talk it came to light that she had a strong and tender devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and that out of love of His Sacred Heart she carried out all her duties, especially those that frightened and unnerved her. These internal struggles and works she would offer up to Jesus on behalf of a living soul in danger of forfeiting eternal life. Who exactly, she left it up to Jesus to decide. She also offered up her daily adoration hour for the intention of that soul. She had done this since childhood, she told him.
The bishop learned that the nun was thirty-three years old and that her birth date happened to be exactly the date of his conversion. She had not known whom she was praying for and had no wish to know if her prayers and acts of mortification had borne fruit. It was enough for her that God knew. While Bishop Kettler wrestled with the depth of his emotion, the nun knelt down meekly before him and asked for his blessing.
Upon returning to the home of his bishop friend, Kettler said: "I have found the one to whom I owe my vocation. The lowliest and poorest nun in the convent! I shall never be able to thank God for His mercy, for that sister has been praying for me for almost twenty years. God heard her prayers even before she began to pray. He foresaw that her birthday would be the day of my conversion. Later He accepted her prayers and acts of mortification. What a lesson and reminder for me! If I should ever be tempted to boast of my successes and achievements before people, I shall have to remember that I achieved everything thanks to the grace of the prayers and mortification of a poor sister working in a convent pigsty. And if such working should ever seem unimportant to me, I shall have to remind myself that what this sister has with meek obedience and self-detachment offered up had such value in
God's eyes that thanks to her deeds the Church has a bishop!"
God wants us to support our priests with prayers, sufferings, and acts of self-denial. Why then are we so disinclined and hesitant to offer them up?
"When we have holy priests, we will have holy families and a holy world!" (Mother Teresa)
"The Priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus". (St. Jean Vianney)
Prayer for Priests:
Lord Jesus, grant us holy priests. Attend to their holiness Yourself. O Divine and Highest Priest, may the power of Your mercy accompany (name the priest of your choice)
wherever he goes and protect him from the demonic ambushes and snares that the Evil One continually sets in his path. May the power of Your mercy O Lord,
shatter and obliterate anything that overshadows the holiness of this priest, for with You all things are possible. Amen.
Source: Love One Another Magazine.