VOCATION TO THE PRIESTLY FRATERNITY
The duty of fostering vocations rests with the entire Christian community and, in a special way, priests. All the members of the Priestly Fraternity should consider it a duty of their Dominican vocation to work actively and prudently in fostering vocations to the Order—both to the friars and to the Priestly Fraternity. It is highly recommended that members pray daily for an increase of vocations to the Sacred Preaching. Everyone should remember, however, that the life and apostolate of each member will be the first invitation to take up Dominican life.
PRAYER TO KNOW GOD’S WILL
For those discerning a call to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Dominic:
O Lord, what do you want of me? Would you have me one day standing at your altar as a Dominican diocesan priest in the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Dominic? Send your grace into my heart to know your call and your love into my heart to answer. If you choose me, make me, like Saint Dominic, ready and generous, decisive, and unafraid. Only let me do with my life what you would have me to do, and that is enough for me. Amen.
DOMINICAN VOCATION PRAYERS
Heavenly Father, as once you called Saint Dominic to preach the Gospel, so now call new preachers to work in your vineyard. Fill them with your Holy Spirit, with truth, and with zeal for souls, that they too may be sent out as bold but compassionate apostles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, your Son. Aided by the intercession of the Virgin Mary and formed in fraternity, may they share in the Church's mission of salvation, joyfully bringing your truth and love to many. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer to Saint Dominic:
Blessed Father Dominic, preacher of God’s grace, you promised to assist us even after your death. Intercede for us before God to help us encourage more men and women to follow our way of life, the way of the preacher. Bless us in our common life, study, prayer, and ministry, that our lives together may be a joyful witness creating a desire in others to join the Sacred Preaching. Amen.
Prayer to Blessed Jordan of Saxony, Patron of Dominican Vocations:
Blessed Jordan of Saxony, worthy successor of St. Dominic, in the early days of the Order, your example and zeal prompted many men and women to follow Christ in the white habit of Our Holy Father. As patron of Dominican vocations, continue to stimulate talented and devoted men and women to consecrate their lives to God. Through your intercession, lead to the Order of Preachers generous and sacrificing persons, willing to give themselves fervently to the apostolate of Truth. Help them to prepare themselves to be worthy of the grace of a Dominican vocation. Inspire their hearts to become learned of God, that with firm determination they might aspire to be “champions of the Faith and true lights of the world.”
Prayer for a Priestly Heart — Written by St. Thomas Aquinas, OP
Give me, O Lord, an ever watchful heart which no subtle speculation may ever lure from Thee. Give me a noble heart that no unworthy affection shall ever draw downwards to earth. Give me a heart of honesty that no insincerity shall warp. Give me a heart of courage that no distress shall ever crush or quench. Give me a heart so free that no perverted or impetuous affection shall ever claim it for its own. Amen.
Prayer of a Priest
Lord Jesus, Eternal Priest, Thou hast called me to Thy priesthood to carry on the work which Thou didst begin. Fit me, I pray Thee, for this task: with such faith that, through my voice, even the disbelieving may listen to Thy Word; with such hope that, through my hands, even the despairing may be held fast in Thy grip; and with such charity that, through my heart, even the despised may know that Thou couldst never cease to love them. Join me so deeply to Thyself than no one I meet shall lie beyond Thy saving reach. Amen.
Præparatio ad Missam — Written by Blessed John Henry Newman, Cong. Orat.
O Holy Mother, stand by me now at Mass time, when Christ comes to me, as thou didst minister to Thy infant Lord; as thou didst hang upon His words when He grew up; as thou wast found under His Cross. Stand by me, Holy Mother, that I may gain somewhat of thy purity, thy innocence, thy faith, and He may be the one object of my love and my adoration, as He was of thine. Amen.
Maronite Prayer of Farewell to the Altar
Remain in peace, O holy altar of God. I hope to return to you in peace. May the offering I have received from you forgive my sins and prepare me to stand blameless before the throne of Christ. I know not whether I shall be able to return to you again to offer sacrifice. Guard me, O Lord, and protect your holy Church, that she may be the way to salvation and the light of the world. Amen.
A Prayer for Priests — From the Hierarchy of England and Wales
O God, who didst love thy only-begotten Son from all eternity, and didst will him to become at once the Great High Priest and the Saving Victim for the sins of the whole world, pour forth thy Holy Spirit, we beseech thee, upon thy servants, the priests of his holy Church, and grant that in these days of tribulation there may be a great increase in the number and sanctity of vocations to the holy office of the priesthood, and a growing fervor on the part of all those who offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and minister to the care of souls. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Jesus, our Great High Priest, may all the love and help and merciful compassion of thy Sacred Heart be with thy priests in their life and work, especially in the sacred ministry of the altar. And grant to thy priests who have departed this life everlasting rest and the reward of their labors for the salvation of souls. Who livest and reignest for ever. Amen. Jesus, eternal Priest, keep these thy servants within the shelter of thy Sacred Heart. Mary, conceived without sin, send us good priests.
A Prayer by Father Bede Jarrett, OP (1881–1934) — Especially Appropriate on All Souls Day
We seem to give them back to Thee, O God; who gavest them to us. Yet, as Thou didst not lose them in giving, so do we not lose them by their return. Not as the world giveth givest Thou, O Lover of Souls. What Thou givest, Thou takest not away, for what is Thine is ours also if we are Thine. And life is eternal and love is immortal, and death is only an horizon, and an horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see further; cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly; draw us closer to Thyself that we may know ourselves to be nearer to our loved ones who are with Thee. And while Thou dost prepare a place for us, prepare us also for that happy place where Thou art we may be also for evermore.
Image on this page courtesy of C. Siuzdak
MEDITATIONS ON THE PRIESTHOOD
Apostle Priests — Written by Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire, OP
The priest! Have you ever considered the difficulty of conceiving what is a priest? Have you ever explained to yourself, not how there have always been priests, and how there is still so great a number, but how there is even one? He who meditate upon the priest, and not be struck by his existence, I pity that man! What, then, is a priest? Is he a man who promotes morality—an officer of morality, as the 18th century said? But, external to Christianity, where is the morality of the priest? What was the morality of the pontiffs of Greece and Rome? The priest, is he a philosopher? But philosophy combats the priest. Is he a public functionary of any kind? But if all the sovereigns of Europe and of the world combined to make a priest, they would only end by bringing on a man of ridicule and disgrace.
The priest, the man who exists neither by morality, nor by philosophy, nor by the state, nor by the world! The man impossible to create, and who, nevertheless, exists always and everywhere! What is he, in fine? The priest is a man anointed by tradition to shed blood, not as the solider, through courage, not as the magistrate, through justice, but as Jesus Christ, through love. The priest is a man of sacrifice: by it, each day reconciling heaven and earth, and by it, each day, announcing to every soul the primordial truths of life, of death, and of resurrection.
From The Priest, His Dignity and Obligations — Written by St. John Eudes, Orat.
Did God say to any of the angels: “Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek?” Did He ever pronounce to the Archangels, the Principalities or the Powers what His Son said to you: “Whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven?” To which of the Cherubim or Seraphim did He ever give the power to forgive sin, to bestow grace, to close hell and open the gates of heaven, to bring God into the hearts of men in the Blessed Sacrament? To whom in the universe did He grant the power of offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, to immolate Him and give His Body and Soul to the faithful?
From St. John Vianney
Without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption here on earth. What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of His goods. Leave a parish for twenty years without a priest and they will end by worshiping beasts there. The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.