Sacred Heart of JesusToday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The image of the Sacred Heart is the quintessential emblem of divine love.  Wrapped in thorns, divine love suffers and sacrifices.  Ablaze with fire, divine loves is ardent and unquenchable.

Today is also the first day of the Year for Priests that has been declared by Pope Benedict.

There couldn’t be a more appropriate feast day for launching the Year of the Priest?  Are our good shepherds not one of the greatest signs of divine love and divine providence?  They ardently devote their lives to the Church–to each one of us–in a spirit of service and sacrifice.

I pray for our priests every day, especially those close to me–those who serve my parish, those at my local Dominican priory, our local FSSP chaplain who provides the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

But I pray for all of them.  I pray for those who are struggling, those have gone astray or are in danger of going astray.  Those in danger of losing their immortal souls.  Those who suffer in Purgatory for their failings in bearing their immense responsibilities.  To whom much is given, much is expected.  We may find it easy to imagine the privileges of priesthood… few of us can fathom the great responsibilities, and the great penalties incurred for lapsing in those responsibilities.

This year, let us be especially mindful, especially grateful, especially supportive, and especially merciful toward our priests!  May our Lord Jesus Christ bless them and keep them close to His Sacred Heart, now and always!

Here is a prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore You, I love You, and with a lively sorrow for my sins, I offer You this poor heart of mine.  Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to Your will.  Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in You and for You.  Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflications; give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, Your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.  Amen.