"A priest goes to Heaven or a priest goes to Hell with a thousand people behind.” - St. John Vianney
One day during Mass I recall a homily that truly struck me down to my core. I remember hearing the words of the priest, and thinking to myself how I had known the devil attacks priests, but had never heard it put in such a way. Father looked straight at use eye to eye, and I will never forget his words, "The devil hovers over every rectory." He spoke about how a priest gets spiritually attacked in a way that is very different from a member of the laity. Satan is attacking our priests because he is very well aware of the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and how the Eucharist is the "source and summit of the Christian life." Without priests we have no Eucharist, and without the Eucharist we have no Church. The Eucharist is a foretaste of heaven, where we truly receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. Satan can never be as close as we are to Christ when we receive his Sacred Body and Precious Blood since he is eternally separated from God, and hates how we mere human beings can be so close to Him. He will do everything in his power to separate us from Christ, and by destroying the priesthood he would leave us without the Eucharist, and ultimately without the Church since Christ and the Church are one.
“The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see a priest, think of our Lord Jesus Christ.” - St. John Vianney
It is of extreme importance and should be a priority of every Catholic to pray for our parish priests. They desperately need our prayers to help them fight the continuous and raging spiritual battle against the powers of darkness. From the rising of the sun to its setting our priests daily wrestle with the serpent; a spiritual wickedness, not that of flesh and blood.
Our prayers, the prayers of the laity, help to lift up these men of God to rise up against the evil one. We help them to prepare their armor of light to be able to stand firm against the schemes of Satan. (See Ephesians 6:11) It is by our prayers and sacrifices that we can enable them to remain strong in the Lord, and continue their service to Christ and His Church with zealous hearts, and a steadfast faith.
Please, take the time each day to pray for our parish priests. Below is "A Prayer for Priests" from The Pieta Prayer Booklet.
A Prayer for Priests
Keep them, I pray Thee, dearest Lord, keep them, for they are Thine –
Thy priests whose lives burn out before Thy consecrated shrine.
Keep them, for they are in the world, though from the world apart;
When earthly pleasures tempt, allure, – shelter them in Thy heart.
Keep them, and comfort them in hours of loneliness and pain,
When all their life of sacrifice for souls seems but in vain.
Keep them, and O remember, Lord, they have no one but Thee,
Yet they have only human hearts, with human frailty.
Keep them as spotless as the Host, that daily they caress;
Their every thought and word and deed, deign, dearest Lord, to bless.
Our Father, etc., Hail Mary, etc.
Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for them.