Monday, July 11, 2011
I've been reading a wonderful book, A Prophet for the Priesthood: A Spiritual Biography of Fr. Gerald M.C. Fitzgerald by Fr. John Hardon, SJ. It's beyond amazing to read a book by one great and holy priest about another great and holy priest who devoted his life to praying for and helping all priests, but especially for those who struggled in their vocation. In today's world when we hear of one priest after another falling from grace, it's so hopeful to know that this isn't something new and that there is someone who cared enough to build a lasting religious order to combat the temptations and trials that beset the priesthood.
Fr. Fitzgerald was the founder of the Society of the Paraclete for priests and the Handmaids of the Precious Blood, an order of contemplative nuns who devote their lives to supporting and praying for priests. He worked tirelessly to promote Eucharistic Adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I found the following quote to be particularly poignant:
"Even if you had the happiest of human homes, even if you had the great sense of security, the love of the finest earthly husband and children, it would only be for a few years...The shadow of the cross lies over every life. It can't be otherwise because only by the cross can we be redeemed. And the cross is terribly hard unless we love the Corpus on it. The Blessed Sacrament is for us the Corpus on the Cross.
It is for us Mother and Father, and brother and sister, and Bridegroom and Bride. It's All. Here is all the tenderness of the Eternal Father. Here is the source of that little mysterious throbbing of your heart which means that you are living.
O Lord Jesus, like a child who only knows that the Blessed Sacrament is Jesus, teach us that which is the supreme wisdom of all the Catholic philosophies. St. Augustine was a lover. That is the secret of sanctity, to be a lover of God. Here in the Blessed Sacrament is everything. Here is All-Love, loving."
And this quote about desiring good will is very moving:
"Beg God to give you a good will. We recognize it in others, do we not? We are lost, we get nowhere unless there is good will. That is all that God has blessed on earth, is it not? He made that careful distinction and had His angels express it at the moment when heaven was radiant in its own generosity, when the night was filled with the music of the angel choirs. And what was it that they are proclaiming? Not peace on earth to everyone but only peace on earth to men of good will."
To learn more about Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, a priest of very good will, visit the Handmaids of the Precious Blood.