Holy Hour for Vocations
This coming Thursday 6th June at 7pm, we will be having our first monthly Holy Hour to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life from the Parish of St Mary’s in Loughborough. I have already written last month of the dire shortage of priests and religious in this part of the world and the necessity of prayer to remedy the situation. But why do we particularly need priests? Is this not the age of the laity?
The laity certainly have a very important and unique role in the life of the Church, but when a man is ordained a priest, (not through any merits of his own I hasten to add) an indelible mark or “character” is imprinted upon his soul which sets him apart to perform certain acts which only a validly ordained priest can do. The two main purposes for which a priest is ordained is to mediate God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Penance so as people can come back into communion with God should they fallen into mortal sin. The second and most important is to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to the glory of God and for the living and the dead.
The climax of the Mass is the Consecration, whereby Christ becomes truly present under the appearances of bread and wine, and offers Himself again to the Father on behalf of us sinners. His sacrificial death two thousand years ago is made present and its merits applied to us. With Christ being God’s own Son, that Sacrifice has an infinite value. So for every Mass that is offered, the work of our redemption is being furthered. Our sins are being atoned for. Graces flow down to us. It is for this reason that Padre Pio said, “It would be easier for the world to exist without the sun than without the Mass.” This is why the Church wants many Masses said, but to have many Masses offered we need many priests. To have our sins absolved we need priests. To have Masses offered for the dead to hasten their purification in Purgatory we need priests. To have the sick and the dying anointed, and returned, if necessary, to a state of grace before death, we need priests. The priest is on the front line of battle in the spiritual war for our souls in which we are all engaged.
Similarly, the constant daily prayers of monks and nuns in their monasteries and convents and the good works they do in society, bring down many graces and blessings upon the world. Many vocations have come about and many souls been saved through the prayers and sacrifices of devout religious.
So let us play our part in obtaining many holy vocations by getting down on our knees and begging God for them. Please do your best to be present at the Holy Hour this Thursday. “Pray to the Lord of the harvest, that He send labourers into His harvest” (Matt 9:38).
Fr Paul Gillham, IC