Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 03 December |
Saint of the Day: St. Francis Xavier

A priest's first prayer: "You have to break my heart, always..."

ORDINATION

Jeffrey Bruno

Elizabeth Scalia - published on 06/22/17

Recent acquisitions have forced me to go through my bookshelves and select items for donation elsewhere ,and in the process I came upon a little Magnificat Prayer Companion for the Year of the Priest — ‘way back in 2009. It is a little book of novenas, litanies, essays and meditations on the value and meaning of the priesthood.

Being a Magnificat product, it is as excellently put-together as you would expect, and as I skimmed through it a few nights ago, I remembered why I had kept it: the illustrations are gorgeous and invite contemplation. The prayers are thoughtful and comprehensive. The meditations are little gems, especially this one, from Father Vincent Nagel. He writes about a prayer he uttered at the moment of his ordination. It’s one of those dangerous prayers of blessing that we instinctively realize will bring great gifts, if only we dared breathe it. Here is a little excerpt:

A Priest’s Utter Dependence on God

They say that at ordination -and it’s not doctrine, but it makes sense to me- when you’re lying on the floor prostrate on the pavement, and the whole congregation and the bishop and the priests are all calling down the Holy Spirit on you, whatever you ask God in the name of his Son our Lord Jesus Christ for the sake of your vocation, he will grant. . . . I had no doubt about what to ask. I was sick, and it was killing me, but I specifically didn’t ask to get better. I said, “Lord you know that I will forget to follow you and depend on you . You know that I will not turn to you anymore as your child if I feel I can make it on my own. So you have to break my heart always, you have to keep me poor and humble, you have to keep me incapable of anything without you. You have to make it clear to me that I can do nothing without your grace, and that will never be clear to me if I think things are going well. You have to break my heart.” I understood that my sickness was a part of that. I didn’t want more sickness; what I wanted was utter dependence on God so that I would be true to my priesthood, true to him.

That is some prayer to make — downright saintly. And one we all probably need to reconcile ourselves to and utter in faith.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Andrea Bocelli
J-P Mauro
Andrea Bocelli to perform live Christmas conc...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
FATHER JOHN FIELDS
John Burger
Priest who volunteered for COVID-19 vaccine t...
John Paul II
Philip Kosloski
St. John Paul II's guide to a fruitful Advent
ADVENT
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to be watchful during Advent
See More