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Shepherds of Christ
A Spirituality Newsletter for Priests
and Others Interested in the Spiritual Life
Chief Shepherd of the Flock
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for
his sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him,
abandons the sheep and runs away as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and then the wolf
attacks and scatters the sheep; this is because he is only a hired man and has no concern
for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the
Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.
St. Paul tells us: It is, then, about my
weaknesses that I am happiest of all to boast, so that the power of Christ may rest upon
me; and that is why I am glad of weaknesses, insults, constraints, persecutions and
distress for Christs sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong. (2 Cor
This brief passage contains one of the greatest lessons of the
spiritual life. As we progress along our spiritual journey, we become increasingly aware
of how weak we are in ourselves, but how strong we are in Christ.
To experience our weakness involves suffering. The degree and kind of
suffering can vary. The suffering can include the experience of the classical dark night
of the spirit as described by St. John of the Cross.
One of the main purposes of the dark night is to make a person keenly
aware of his or her helplessness without God. This is a most necessary point that mystics
must pass through if the spiritual marriage, or transforming union with God in Christ, is
to occur. In this transforming union, there is a profound exchange between God and the
mystic. Gods self-communication to the mystic is most profound, and the mystic makes
a profound gift of self to God. In this state the mystic is supremely aware of living by
the life of God, and without experiencing ones helplessness without God, this lived
awareness does not occur.
If not all on the spiritual journey experience the classic dark night,
all must undergo a proportionate purification which includes increased awareness of
personal weakness. In this process one more and more abandons the self to Christ and
increasingly lives by His life, by His strength. Again St. Paul speaks to us: I have
been crucified with Christ and yet I am alive; yet it is no longer I, but Christ living in
me. The life that I am now living, subject to the limitation of human nature, I am living
in faith, faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:19-20)
Our sense of weakness is not a paralyzing one. It does not hinder our
performance of duty. On occasion, athletes and other performers may, for various reasons,
feel very inadequate regarding the exercise of their particular skill. The sense of
inadequacy, in turn, can detract from performance. In the spiritual life, however, our
sense of weakness does not impair our capacity to function as Christians. On the contrary.
If, sensing our helplessness, we increasingly abandon ourselves to Christ, we act with
greater spiritual vitality. We do this with a basic peace of which the world knows not.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, one of the greatest apostles of devotion to the Heart of
Christ, speaks about this peace and its connection with surrender to Christ and His
strength. In one of her letters she says: "Try especially to preserve peace of
heart... The way to preserve this peace is not to have a will of our own any more, but to
put the will of the Sacred Heart in the place of ours, and let Him will for us whatever
gives Him the most glory, being content to submit and abandon ourselves. In a word, this
loving Heart will supply whatever is wanting in you. He will love God for you, and you
will love God in Him and through Him." 2
Indeed, to those who are unspiritual, the concept of striving to grow
through the sense of our weakness is complete folly, utter craziness. To those who have
received the gift of the Holy Spirit, however, being properly aware of ones weakness
is strength and peace and consolation.
Jesus is our Savior. When we are tired and weary, let us go to the
Heart of Christ. Let us not worry about anything. Let us not fret. Our work for Christ is
the work of God. Do we not trust that God will take care of His own work?
To be able to say in the midst of adversity and struggle,
"Jesus hand is here and He knows what is happening, I will let go of my anxiety
and be at peace," is to have reached a great plateau of trust in Christ. Yes, let us
trust in Jesus in all our trials. Let us refuse to worry. What good does worry accomplish?
Let us convert the energy put into worrying into the energy of trusting in Our Lord.
Jesus spread His arms on the cross in the greatest love for each of us.
He knew each of us by name. If He endured such agonizing suffering for love of each of us,
why do we not have the greatest trust that He wants to be so close to us, attending to all
our needs if only we allow Him?
The more we place our trust in Jesus, the more we experience His peace.
Again, let us refuse to worry. Let us place all cares in the hands of Jesus and trust that
He will tend to them. He is present to us, loving us, guarding us, asking for our love,
asking for our surrender.
We end these reflections concerning how we find our strength in Christ with another
quotation from St. Paul: As for me, I am full of joy in the Lord, now that at last
your consideration for me has blossomed again; though I recognise that you really did have
consideration before, but had no opportunity to show it. I do not say this because I have
lacked anything; I have learnt to manage with whatever I have. I know how to live
modestly, and I know how to live luxuriously too: in every way now I have mastered the
secret of all conditions: full stomach and empty stomach, plenty and poverty. There is
nothing I cannot do in the One who strengthens me. (Phil 4:10-13)
With this current issue we are expanding our circulation by explicitly inviting to our
readership those who are not priests, but who are interested in the spiritual life.
The Newsletter will still be written for priests in a special way. Yet we feel much of
the material will also be of interest to those who are not priests.
To reflect the fact that we are now expanding our readership to include all interested
parties, we think it appropriate to offer a new act of consecration which is not worded
for priests only, but one suitable for all.
In his Encyclical, Redemptor Hominis
(Redeemer of Man) Pope John Paul II states: "The special characteristic of the
motherly love that the Mother of God inserts in the mystery of the Redemption and the life
of the Church finds expression in its exceptional closeness to man and all that happens to
him. It is in this that the mystery of the Mother consists. The Church, which looks to her
with altogether special love and hope, wishes to make this mystery her own in an ever
"The Fathers eternal love, which has been manifested in the
history of mankind through the Son whom the Father gave... comes close to each of us
through this Mother and thus takes on tokens that are of more easy understanding and
access by each person." 3
- Archbishop Luis Martinez gives us these words of wisdom: "Our
love for the Father is tender and confident like that of children; eager to glorify Him as
His only-begotten Son taught us to do by word and example. Love for the Father is the
intense desire to have His will fulfilled on earth as it is in heaven. Our love for the
Son, who willed to become flesh for us, is characterized by the tendency to union with Him
and transformation into Him...
"Love for the Holy Spirit also has its special character, which we should study in
order completely to understand devotion to Him. We have explained how the Holy Spirit
loves us, how He moves us like a divine breath that draws us to the bosom of God, like a
sacred fire that transforms us into fire, like a divine artist who forms Jesus in us.
Surely, then, our love for the Holy Spirit should be marked by loving docility, by full
surrender, and by a constant fidelity that permits us to be moved, directed, and
transformed by His sanctifying action." 4
- At the Last Supper, on the night He was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the
Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the
sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again, and so to
entrust to His beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection: a
sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ
is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
(Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, No. 17) 5
- The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christs faithful, when
present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators.
On the contrary, through a proper appreciation of the rites and prayers they should
participate knowingly, devoutly, and actively. They should be instructed by Gods
word and be refreshed at the table of the Lords body; they should give thanks to
God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also
with him, they should learn to offer themselves too. Through Christ the Mediator, they
should be drawn day by day into ever closer union with God and with each other, so that
finally God may be all in all. (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, No. 48)
- Through the Eucharistic Sacrifice Christ the Lord desired to set before us in
a very special way this remarkable union whereby we are united one with another and with
our divine Head, a union that no word of praise can ever sufficiently express. For in this
sacrifice the sacred ministers act not only as the representative of our Saviour, but as
the representative of the whole Mystical Body and of each one of the faithful. Again, in
this act of sacrifice, the faithful of Christ, united by the common bond of devotion and
prayer, offer to the eternal Father through the hands of the priest, whose prayer alone
has made it present on the altar, the Immaculate Lamb, the most acceptable victim of
praise and propitiation for the Churchs universal need. Moreover, just as the divine
Redeemer, while dying on the Cross, offered Himself to the eternal Father as Head of the
whole human race, so now, in this clean oblation He not only offers Himself as
Head of the Church to His heavenly Father but in Himself His mystical members as well. He
embraces them all, yes, even the weaker and more ailing members, with the deepest love of
His Heart. (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis AAS. XXXV, 232-233) 7
- Romano Guardini observes: "The gift of the Eucharist and Our Lords
death are in the deepest sense one and the same mystery.
"The love that drove Him to die for us was the same love that made Him give us
Himself as nourishment. It was not enough to be giving us gifts, words, instructions; He
gave us Himself as well. Perhaps we must seek out Woman, the loving-mother, to find
someone who understands this kind of longing; to be giving not some thing, but rather
oneself to give oneself, with all ones being. Not only the spirit, not only
ones fidelity, but body and soul, flesh and blood, everything this is indeed
the ultimate love, to want to feed others with the very substance of ones own self.
And for that Our Lord went to His death, so He might rise again in the resurrection, in
that condition wherein He desired to give Himself to all mankind for evermore.
"And now He who died for us lives again, within us." 8
- St. John Vianney, Curé of Ars, movingly says: "What does Jesus Christ do in
the Eucharist? It is God who, as our Savior, offers himself each day for us to his
Fathers justice. If you are in difficulties and sorrow, he will comfort and relieve
you. If you are sick, he will either cure you or give you strength to suffer... If the
devil, the world, and the flesh are making war against you, he will give you the weapons
with which to fight, to resist, and to win the victory. If you are poor, he will enrich
you with all sorts of riches for time and eternity. Let us open the door of his sacred and
adorable Heart, and be wrapped about for an instant by the flames of his love, and we
shall see what a God who loves us can do. O my God, who shall be able to comprehend...
"How great was the charity of Jesus Christ in choosing for the institution of the
Eucharist the eve of the day he was to be put to death!... Men are weaving the blackest
plots against him, and he is only occupied in giving them the most precious gift he has.
They are only thinking of setting up an infamous cross for him that they may put him to
death, and he is only thinking of setting up an altar that he may immolate himself every
day for us. They are preparing to shed his Blood, and Jesus Christ wills that this same
Blood shall be to us a draught of immortality for the consolation and happiness of our
- Here are words from a spiritual journal: "This is how I am with Jesus. I am
empty. I want Him to make Himself known to me. I didnt have much theological
knowledge when I started sitting in front of the tabernacle. I was looking for love from
Jesus. Nobody loved me the way my soul wanted to be loved. I craved to be with Jesus. I
wanted my heart filled. I wanted the craving I felt inside satisfied. I thirsted for love.
I sat with Him present in the tabernacle and He filled me. He revealed Himself to me. He
was the Bridegroom of my soul and I His bride. As I became more intimately united to Him,
sitting there in silence and going to Him, I cried. I was so filled with love. I found
what I was looking for all my life. He wrote the knowledge of Himself on my soul. He wrote
this knowledge in the intimate moments I spent with Him at Mass after Communion and before
- How much do we appreciate the great opportunity of participating in the
Eucharistic Sacrifice? Here is a story which should inspire us all: "A priest who was
in the German prison camp Dachau describes the Mass after all the German guards were in
bed. He said, Our lives were in danger if we were ever discovered. A young priest
had to memorize the names of all of those who had received Communion. After night call and
bed check, we would set our guards, darken the windows, and the lucky one to be chosen to
celebrate for this momentous occasion would carefully brush his pathetic garb, put the
stole over his shoulders, and by the small light of his smuggled candle begin the
commemoration of that great passion... We could understand the Mass. All that could crowd
into the room were there, tears of joy running down our cheeks. Christ the Lord, who knew
what suffering was, was coming... to bring us strength and consolation. The small hosts
were broken into as many particles as possible so that the greatest number could
communicate. We had to keep a secret roster of those who received. We missed some of the
liturgy perhaps, but I think that God looked down into that prison room and found a
particularly refreshing response to his cry of love from the cross, I thirst.
There was nothing that could keep us from doing all in our power to be closer to
God. " 10
- From a spiritual journal: "I struggle intently to do His work, and I am
weary from running the race. I am tired, I am truly human, but the unquenchable love I
have for Him in my heart is at the core of my existence. It is in Him I exist and in Him I
love. I love Him so intently and yet I am so unworthy of His gifts given to me. I long
more for the desire to help souls, and His desires become mine through my deep union with
Him especially after the reception of the Eucharist. On this day (Feast of the
Assumption), I felt the unquenchable purity of the Heart of Mary and the joy of dwelling
deeply in His Heart in her pure love. It was a special gift He gave to me, to be wrapped
in Marys Heart despite my faults. He gave Himself so completely to me. I only long
for this, knowing this presence."
- Avery Dulles, S.J., the well-known theologian who has written much about the
Church, observes: "The Church, as I have already contended, is essentially a mystery
of grace, a wonderful encounter between the divine and the human. Even in its visible
structures, the Church is not a mere organization to be judged on grounds of efficiency,
but a sacrament of Gods saving deed in Jesus Christ. From this it follows, in my
judgment, that the Churchs forms of speech and life, and indeed its entire corporate
existence, must be such as to mediate a vital communion with Christ the Lord. The Church
must be a place of prayer and worship, praise and witness. Any institutional change in the
Church must be carefully assessed for its effect on the spiritual life of the members.
Does it intensify their faith, their hope, their charity? Does it help them to center
their lives on Christ and to ground their existence in the God who raised him from the
- There has been much written
about the Church in these our times. Regarding those writings which have dealt with reform
in the Church, some of these, even while pointing out shortcomings in the life of the
Church, have been put forth in a positive, constructive way. Others, sad to say, have done
more harm than good and have contributed considerably to polarization in the Church. We
again refer to Avery Dulles, S.J., in reference to this polarization: "Polarization,
in my opinion, is more deleterious to the Church than any external opposition. When the
Church suffers persecution from hostile powers, it often reacts with heroism and energy.
Polarization, however, produces lethargy and disgust." 12
- One person who could never be
accused of contributing to polarization in the Church is the eminent theologian Henri de
Lubac. This man, possessing a profound knowledge and love of the Church, has left us these
words: "The Church is at once human and divine, at once a gift from above and a
product of this earth... She is orientated towards the past, which contains a memorial she
well knows is never past; she tends toward the future, elated by the hope of an ineffable
consummation of whose nature no sensible sign gives a hint. Destined in her present form
to leave all behind as the image of this world, she is destined in her
innermost nature to remain intact for the day when what she is will be manifested.
Multiple or multiform, she is nonetheless one, of a most active and demanding unity. She
is a people, the great anonymous crowd and still there is no other word the
most personal of beings. Catholic, that is universal, she wishes her members to be open to
everything and yet she herself is never fully open but when she is withdrawn into the
intimacy of her interior life and in the silence of adoration. She is humble and she is
majestic. She professes capacity to absorb every culture, to raise up their highest
values; at the same time we see her claim for her own the homes and hearts of the poor,
the undistinguished, the simple and destitute masses. Not for an instant does she cease
and her immortality assures continuity to contemplate him who is at once
crucified and resurrected, the man of sorrows and lord of glory, vanquished by, but
saviour of, the world. He is her bloodied spouse and her triumphant master. From his
generous heart, ever open and yet always infinitely secret, she has received her existence
and the life it is her wish to communicate to all...
"The Church is my mother because she brought me forth to a new life. She is my mother
because her concern for me never slackens, any more than do her efforts to deepen that
life in me, however unenthusiastic my cooperation. And though in me this life may be a
fragile and timid growth, I have seen its full flowering in others...
"Happy those who from childhood have learnt to look on the Church as a mother!
Happier still those whose experience, in whatever walk of life, has confirmed its truth!
Happy those who one day were gripped by (and whose appreciation of it ever grew) the
astonishing newness, richness and depth of the life communicated to them by this
- Pope John Paul II speaks to his brother priests: "In a certain way
prayer is the first and last condition for conversion, spiritual progress and
holiness. Perhaps in the recent years at least in certain quarters there has
been too much discussion about the Priesthood, the priests identity, the
value of his presence in the modern world, etc., and on the other hand there has been too
little praying. There has not been enough enthusiasm for actuating the Priesthood itself
through prayer...in order to confirm the priestly identity. It is prayer that shows the
essential style of the priest; without prayer this style becomes deformed. Prayer helps us
always to find the light that has led us since the beginning of our priestly vocation, and
which never ceases to lead us, even though it seems at times to disappear in the darkness.
Prayer enables us to be converted continually, to remain in a state of continuous reaching
out to God, which is essential if we wish to lead others to Him. Prayer helps us to
believe, to hope and to love, even when our human weakness hinders us.
"Prayer likewise enables us continually to rediscover the dimensions of that kingdom
for whose coming we pray every day, when we repeat the words that Christ taught us. Then
we realize what our place is in the realization of the petition: Thy
kingdom come, and we see how necessary we are in its realization."
And here are further words of John Paul II to priests: "Dear brothers: ...you who
have put your hand to the plough and do not turn back, and perhaps even more those of you
who are doubtful of the meaning of your vocation or of the value of your service: think of
the places where people anxiously await a priest, and where for many years, feeling the
lack of such a priest, they do not cease to hope for his presence. And sometimes it
happens that they meet in an abandoned shrine, and place on the altar a stole which they
still keep, and recite all the prayers of the Eucharistic Liturgy; and then, at the moment
that corresponds to the transubstantiation a deep silence comes down upon them, a silence
sometimes broken by a sob... so ardently do they desire to hear the words that only the
lips of a priest can efficaciously utter... So deeply do they feel the absence of a priest
among them!... Such places are not lacking in the world. So if one of you doubts the
meaning of his Priesthood, if he thinks it is socially fruitless or useless,
reflect on this! 14
Here are words which unite prayer and ones
quest to grow in an awareness of ones self-identity. "Since the only real
identity we have is our relationship with God in Christ we are in Gods image
mediated by Christ we grow in achieving true self-identity through growth in the
awareness that each of us is a unique reflection of God, that we live by His life
indeed, we participate in his life through grace...
"Prayer plays a profound role in achieving self-identity. In the
loving quiet of prayer God reveals both Himself to us and us to ourselves. These aspects
are intimately connected. As God communicates knowledge concerning Himself, He also gives
insight into ourselves, we who are in His image. As prayer grows, this insight concerning
God and ourselves deepens. We become more aware of what is involved in living by the life
of God, in living according to the divine image, in living a Christ-like existence. All
these expressions point to the same reality that we are finite expressions of the
infinite, and each of us uniquely so, and that growth in self-identity means an increased
lived awareness of this sublime truth.
"When this awareness reaches a certain consistency, we have
arrived at a change in consciousness. This stage of the spiritual journey is of the utmost
importance. If one goes forward after this change in consciousness, ones life will
never again be the same. One has achieved a new way of comprehending the answer to the
mystery of human existence.
"Before this change in consciousness occurs, even the committed
Christian can ask at times, Is this all there is to life? This question can
nag at the human heart even as one enjoys significant accomplishments, experiences the
joy-dimension of the human condition, and feels a sense of love and security emanating
from personal relationships.
" Is this all there is to life? For the Christian,
this question and the manner in which he or she confronts it, is of critical importance.
It is not as though the Christian who faces this existential challenge has not previously
possessed the key to lifes mystery. The vision of faith has already provided this
key. The vision of faith, however, operates on different levels. The more spiritually
mature person, the one further advanced in prayer, has a better grasp on how to live the
mystery of life than does one less spiritually advanced...
"Confronting properly, then, the haunting question Is this
all there is to life?, will lead to this deeper Christian existence which will
manifest that, yes, indeed, there is more to life than one had previously known. If one
follows the lead of grace, if one grows in the life of prayer and consistently lives on
the level where the Christ-like self is dynamically operative, one will never again be
haunted by the feeling that life is not yielding a sufficient sense of fulfillment." 15
- John Henry Cardinal Neuman observes: "Be our mind as heavenly as it may be,
most loving, most holy, most zealous, most energetic, most peaceful, yet if we look off
from Him for a moment, and look towards ourselves, at once these excellent tempers fall
into some extreme or mistake. Charity becomes over-easiness, holiness is tainted with
spiritual pride, zeal degenerates into fierceness, activity eats up the spirit of prayer,
hope is heightened into presumption. We cannot guide ourselves. Gods revealed word
is our sovereign rule of conduct; and therefore, among other reasons, is faith so
principal a grace, for it is the directing power which receives the commands of Christ,
and applies them to the heart." 16
- Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., writes: "The foundress of the Poor Clare nuns, St.
Clare of Assisi, was a woman who quite noticeably and even notably used her mind. Just the
fact of her being the first woman in history herself to write a Rule of Life for nuns
indicates a mind well occupied with the proper business of a mind. The complementary fact
that she trailed beauty after her, shed loveliness about her, took ladyhood as a continual
manner of living gives evidence that her heart was in good partnership with her mind. It
was the same with...her mentor, St. Francis of Assisi, whose great mind was enlightened by
God and used by himself to initiate a whole new way of religious life in the Church, while
his heart made of him a poet, a singer, and sometimes a dancer, on occasion, while
delivering his sermons." 17
On May 12, 1982, Pope John Paul II made a
pilgrimage to Fatima. One of his motives for his visit was to offer thanks for Marys
intercession in saving his life relative to the assassination attempt a year earlier.
Some fifteen years later in 1997, the Holy Father gave us the following
words regarding Fatima. Lynne Weil, a newspaper reporter, gives this account: "Pope
John Paul said the series of Marian apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, rank as one of the
most significant events of this century.
"The string of apparitions that ended 80 years ago was one
of the greatest signs of the times, also because it announces in its message
many of the signs that followed and it invites (us) to follow their call, the pope
said in a letter to Bishop Serafim de Sousa Ferreire Silva of Leiria - Fatima, Portugal.
The message, dated October 1, was released at the Vatican October 14 (1997).
"Pope John Paul said the event at Fatima helps us to see the
hand of God even in the 20th century, with its wars and other mass tragedies. And it
showed that despite having removed itself from God, humanity was offered
Gods protection, the pontiff said.
"Pope John Paul recalled that in Gospel accounts of Jesus
death, he invoked clemency on his captors even as he was being crucified and entrusted
humanity to the care of his mother, Mary.
"The pope repeated the exhortation stemming from the Marian apparitions at Fatima
that the faithful recite the rosary every day. He asked pastors to recite the rosary, and
to teach others to recite it, daily. CNS"
From a Christmas address Pope Paul VI has left us
these words: "Our Messiah and Saviour is so near that all of us today are almost
necessarily seeking him. Not excluded are those who wish he were dead or forgotten, those
who are deceived and wish to be able to replace him and to create a new humanism without
his light and without his love. True humanism cannot be anything but Christian.
"Men of good will, do not fear today to be known as Christians! Do
you not realize that by promoting justice and peace you are searching for him
Christ? Do you not see that in aspiring for liberation... you have him in mind, you
are calling upon him? Do you not understand that while perhaps you try to avoid him and
flee from him he pursues you? And would you... doubt that turning toward him you would
discover him today, not angered and unfriendly, but rather as the Good Shepherd who
attracts you powerfully and kindly in such a way as to fill you with tears of joy, and as
one ready to be by your side, with your dear ones, the living and deceased, to celebrate
with you a blessed Christmas?
"Yes, let this bright possibility become our trust and our
"It is thus that we have you, the people of Rome, at this moment before our eyes
and in our heart. It is the same for the entire Church and the entire world. And our
glance is turned especially to those places where there is still war, hunger, suffering
and distress wherever the coming of justice and peace is still awaited." 18
Many of the laity pray for us priests, and
consistently so. Is it not also fitting that we priests pray for all our brothers in the
priesthood, and consistently so? There follows a prayer that can aid us in this endeavor.
"Lord Jesus, Chief Shepherd of the Flock, we pray that in the
great love and mercy of Your Sacred Heart that You attend to all the needs of Your
priest-shepherds throughout the world. We ask that You draw back to Your Heart all those
priests who have seriously strayed from Your path, that You rekindle the desire for
holiness in the hearts of those priests who have become lukewarm, and that You continue to
give Your fervent priests the desire for the highest holiness. United with Your Heart and
Marys Heart, we ask that You take this petition to Your heavenly Father in the unity
of the Holy Spirit. Amen".
The above prayer is taken from the prayer manual of Shepherds of
Christ Associates, a facet of Shepherds of Christ Ministries. The associates are members
of prayer groups which meet regularly to pray for all the needs of the entire human
family, but most especially for priests. If you would like a copy, or copies, of this
prayer manual, and further, if you would like information on how to begin a Shepherds of
Christ prayer chapter, contact us at:
Shepherds of Christ
P.O. Box 193
Morrow, Ohio 45152-0193 U.S.A.
Phone (toll free): 1-888-211-3041
"Jesus, You show us Your Heart as symbol of
Your life of love in all its aspects, including Your most special love for each of us as
unique individuals. Out of Your great love for us, You died a brutal death, nailed to the
wood of the cross. Out of Your great love for us, You rose gloriously from the dead.
"From Your pierced Heart the Church with her life-giving
Sacraments was born. In the Eucharist, Crown and Center of the Churchs life, You
continue to give Yourself to us with the deepest, most tender, most on-fire, most complete
"Jesus, since in Your great love You give Yourself so completely
to us, it is only fitting that we make a gift to You in return. It is entirely fitting
that we give ourselves completely to You. Yes, we consecrate ourselves to Your most loving
Heart. Each of us says to You, O Lord, our Savior and our Friend: Jesus, take me
wholly, take me completely to Your magnificent Heart. Out of love I give myself to You.
Live in and through me. In love You give Yourself completely to me. In love and in a
spirit of reparation, I want to give myself, with the help of Your grace, entirely to You.
Take me, Jesus, to an ever closer union with the Father, in the Holy Spirit, with Mary my
Mother at my side. Pierced, Glorified, Eucharistic Heart of Jesus I place my trust in
"Dear Blessed Virgin Mary, I consecrate myself to your maternal
and Immaculate Heart, this Heart which is symbol of your life of love, including your most
special love for me as this unique individual. You are the Mother of my Savior. You are
also my Mother. In a return of love, I give myself entirely to your motherly love and
protection. You followed Jesus perfectly. You are His first and perfect disciple. Teach me
to imitate you in the putting on of Christ. Be my motherly intercessor so that, through
your Immaculate Heart, I may be guided to an ever closer union with the Pierced,
Glorified, Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, Chief Shepherd of the flock."
- Dear Father Carter,
For years I have received Shepherds of Christ Newsletter; I do not know who put
me on your mailing list, but Im grateful to you both. Since I first began to receive
the newsletter I have been assigned as the Director of Formation Advising for the
Pontifical North American College in Rome.
I would like to know if it would be possible to make a bulk order so that our seminarians
could benefit from the newsletter as well. I will make sure they are distributed to our
seminarians. At present we have about 200 seminarians and student priests on our campus,
all eager for good spiritual reading!
Please let me know if we can make an arrangement for the delivery of the newsletter here
at the college.
Please keep our faculty and seminarians in your prayers.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. J. Mark Williams
Director of Formation Advising
Pontifical North American College
00120 Vatican City State
Dear Rev. Father,
Greetings to you from Dimapur. During the past year I have been receiving Shepherds of
Christ newsletters from the diocese. Having found it very fruitful and enriching I
thought that I would offer it to all my priests of this Province. Will it be possible for
you to send me 140 books of your newsletters? I would like to offer it as a Millenium gift
to all my priests. From the year 2000 I would like to get regularly the newsletters for
our priests. I am sure the contents of the newsletters will inspire my priests to a life
Congratulations for the wonderful work you are doing. Yours in Christ, The Good Shepherd
Fr. Varghese Palathingal, sdb.
Don Bosco Provincial House
Dear Father Carter,
I am praying for your work and I have asked all other priest beneficiaries to pray for you
and all who are working with you.
I am receiving Shepherds of Christ regularly and I distribute them among some of
our priests who are interested. I need not say how useful they are for personal reflection
and for homilies and other talks.
If possible kindly send us some audio cassettes.
Thank you. Yours sincerely,
Fr. V. Savarimuthu
Rev. S. A. Aruliah D.D.
Dear Fr. Carter,
I received the parcel you so kindly sent me. Thank you for the book "Shepherds of
Christ" and the set of audio cassettes.
May I request of you this favour. There are more than 100 priests in the dioceses of
Cuddapah and also Kurnool where I served as Apostolic Administrator for three years. They
love me also and visit me when they come this side. I want to give them all the book,
"Shepherds of Christ" and ask them to study and meditate on it.
I admire this great work that you are doing for the priestly holiness. The holiness of the
Church depends on the holiness of its priests. It is a great pity that many fail to be
"Christ". Only prayer and love can bring them around. My congratulations to you
once again. With love and blessings,
Bishop Emeritus of Cuddapah
Dear Father Carter,
I have thoroughly enjoyed your compiled newsletters in "Shepherds of Christ".
Please continue to send your letters to me as I use them for morning meditations. Thank
you for providing these wonderful letters! Please accept the enclosed donation as a small
token of my appreciation!
Sincerely in Him,
Rev. Salvatore Piazza
May peace of God which transcends all understanding
guard your heart and your mind in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.
Thank you for Shepherds of Christ which I so
much admire, love, value and treasure. In this connection, I humbly request a free copy of
cassettes so as to more fully acquaint myself with the Spirituality it teaches to priests
in its practicality.
Praying always that the good Lord should imbue you with
His Spirit. Amen.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Revd. Fr. Williams Adeforth
St. Gregorys Catholic Church
- Dear Fr. Edward J. Carter,
I have followed with keen interest your publication
titled "Shepherds of Christ" newsletter. I write from the Diocese of Little
Rock, Arkansas, here in States to encourage you, Father.
Spirituality is an on-going process in the life of every man and woman.
Hence, do not relent in your publications. Everybody needs it, for many lives have been
enriched spiritually via your publications.
May Christ the Good Shepherd invigorate you.
Rev. Fr. Oliver Ochieze
St. Marys Church
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Greetings from Kenya - Africa. I am grateful that you
have continued to send me your most edifying Newsletter which supports my spiritual
May I also request you to send me the newsletter in book
form and the audio-cassettes.
With best wishes for your apostolate, I remain,
Yours sincerely in the Lord,
Fr. Francis Gichia Mwaniki
Our Lady of Victory
Nakuru - Kenya
Scripture quotations are taken from The New Jerusalem Bible,
The Letters of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, translated by Clarence Herbst,
S.J., Henry Regnery Company, p. 186.
Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Redemptor Hominis, (Redeemer of Man),
United States Catholic Conference, No. 22.
Archbishop Luis M. Martinez, The Sanctifier, Pauline Books and Media, pp.
The Documents of Vatican II, "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy:, America
Press edition, No. 17.
Ibid., No. 48.
Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Letter, Mystici Corporis, AAS, XXXV, pp. 232-233.
Romano Guardini, Jesus Christ, Henry Regnery, as in Daily Readings in Catholic
Classics, edited by Rawley Myers, Ignatius Press, p. 102.
St. John Vianney, "Sermon for Holy Thursday", in Eucharistic Meditations,
Source Books, as in Adoration, Ignatius Press, pp. 92-93.
Through the Year with Fulton Sheen, Servant Books, pp. 99-100.
Avery Dulles, S.J., The Resilient Church, Doubleday & Company, p. 39.
Ibid., p. 37.
Henri de Lubac, S.J., The Church: Paradox and Mystery, translated by James R.
Dunne, Alba House, pp. 2-4.
Pope John Paul II, Holy Thursday Letters to My Brother Priests, edited by James
P. Socias, Scepter Publications and Midwestern Theological Forum, pp. 38-40.
Edward Carter, S.J., The Mysticism of Everyday, Sheed & Ward, pp. 44-46.
John Henry Cardinal Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, as in The Heart of
Newman, A Synthesis arranged by Erich Przywara, S.J., Ignatius Press, p. 224.
Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., Forth and Abroad, Ignatius Press, pp. 120-121.
Pope Paul VI, "Christmas Message to the World", 1972, as in Teachings of
Paul VI, 1972, United States Catholic Conference, pp. 346-347.
2000, ISSUE ONE
Shepherds of Christ
Shepherds of Christ Ministries
P.O. Box 193
Morrow, Ohio 45152-0193
Shepherds of Christ, a spirituality newsletter for priests, is published
bi-monthly by Shepherds of Christ Ministries, P.O. Box 193, Morrow, Ohio 45152-0193. While
distribution is free of charge to all priests in the U.S., and growing internationally,
donations are still very much appreciated. Inquiries and comments are welcome, as are
address changes and addresses of the newly ordained. Permission to reproduce intact is
granted for non-commercial use. Editor Father Edward Carter S.J. is Professor of Theology
at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. John Weickert is President. Good Shepherd
illustration is by Brother Jerome Pryor, S.J. Layout and design are by Joan Royce. Also
dedicated to the spiritual advancement of priests is a worldwide network of lay/religious
prayer chapters, Shepherds of Christ Associates, headquartered at 2919 Shawhan Road,
Morrow, Ohio 45152, telephone toll free 1-888-211-3041, fax 513-932-6791.
Copyright © 2000 Shepherds of Christ.
Rights for non-commercial reproduction granted:
May be copied in its entirety, but neither re-typed nor edited.