Saturday, August 3, 2013

Prayer and Penance for the Conversion of the Clergy

Our Church leaders need help – the help of prayer, of course.

I don’t think a “grass roots” movement can restore the Church to health. It will take leadership from the top down, because many among the laity simply do not know any better. Many priests, I fear, are in the same boat, but it is their responsibility to know better. At least, I think it is! They are our teachers and shepherds; for the sake of their own souls, they had better be teaching the right things.

I ask myself what I can do in terms of prayer for the conversion of the wayward shepherds, and what I can do in terms of penance and reparation for the sins of commission and omission which have led the laity astray. I could fast for a week! I could pray three novenas at the same time! I could find just the right prayer for priests and bishops! But I do pray the Divine Office, and that is an act that has merit, too...I must remember that, and ask God's grace to pray it with every increasing attention, reverence, and devotion.

But in the end, I keep coming back to St. Therese’s “little way”. I am probably not capable of some “big” penitential act that is ongoing and heroic. But I am capable of offering little sacrifices each day that perhaps will contribute to the salvation of souls. I am also reminded of the three Fatima children; Our Lady told them to make sacrifices, and they did, in their own child-like ways. Well, some of their ways were not so very child-like – they were pretty heroic at times, I think.

In particular I think of little Blessed Jacinta, and her understanding that little acts of sacrifice and penance would make a difference, because Our Lady had said they were necessary.

So I will keep doing what I am doing, but ever have in my mind that bishops and priests (and of course the Holy Father!) always need our prayers and penances. I can only resolve daily to do a better job of enduring and even accepting the little inconveniences and discomforts and irritations of my life, in order to offer them for the love of God, for the conversion of poor sinners (including the clergy), and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.


  1. I am not really capable of anything heroic but I find there are many things I don't need that can be given up. For example, I gave up eating MacDonald's and pizza for our priests.

  2. I was thinking of doing something similar. St. Therese says those litle things can really add up.