by Apostoli_Viae


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On Spiritual Motherhood and Fatherhood

“After the Trinity and with My glorious humanity, Mary is the noblest creature who exists and can exist in heaven, for God Himself, even though divine, cannot bring about anything more worthy, more perfect and more beautiful since she bears in her being the reflection of all the perfections God can communicate to the creature.”  ~From the Heart of Jesus to the Blessed Conchita Cabrera. 

The Blessed Virgin Mary, Throne of Wisdom, Comfort of the Afflicted, Mother of the Church, Handmaid of the Lord was so humble, faithful, and patient with a holy attentiveness to the will of God. We as spiritual mothers are called to imitate Mary, our Mother, as it was she to whom we were entrusted, by Christ, as she stood at the foot of the cross.  

Some may be asking, what exactly is spiritual motherhood? Mauro Cardinal Piacenza, in a letter written by the Congregation of Priests to promote Eucharistic adoration for the sanctification of priests and spiritual maternity writes the following…

“There is a most beautiful, vital vocation within a vocation that is “largely unknown, scarcely understood and, consequently, rarely lived, notwithstanding its fundamental importance”: spiritual motherhood for priests. “It is a vocation that is frequently hidden, invisible to the naked eye, but meant to transmit spiritual life.”

Through being “spiritual mothers”, women and mothers participate in the universal motherhood of Mary, who as mother of the Supreme and Eternal High Priest, Jesus, is also the mother of all priests of all times.”

We are all called to this…to pray for our priests. The lesson for spiritual mothers is that the more we reflect the heart of Mary, the more God can use us to spiritually call forth from these chosen and beloved men the masculine ideal of Christ-like spiritual fatherhood.”  

We are all invited by Mother Church to participate in this most important calling, and in light of the challenges that face her in today’s world, she cries out to each of us, pleading for us to lift her beloved priests in prayer. Saint Edith Stein helps us to understand why we must say yes to this invitation and the unique role that we as women possess in God’s plan for His Church through Mary. 

“The intrinsic value of woman consists essentially in exceptional receptivity for God’s work in the soul. For an understanding of our unique feminine nature, let us look to the pure love and spiritual maternity of Mary. This spiritual maternity is the core of a woman’s soul. Wherever a woman functions authentically in this spirit of maternal love, Mary collaborates with her. This holds true whether the woman is married or single, professional or domestic or both, a Religious in the world or in the convent. Through this love, a woman is God’s special weapon in His fight against evil. Her intrinsic value is that she is able to do so because she has a special susceptibility for the works of God in souls—her own and others. She relates to others in His spirit of love.”

However, we must not stop here.   Mary is Mother to all, man, woman, and child! This invitation to prayer for our priests is not just extended to women. As we look at spiritual fatherhood, it is God the Father who is our perfect example, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  This benevolent Father in heaven then provides for us an exemplary human spiritual father in St. Joseph when He asked him to be Jesus’ earthly father.

“St. Joseph’s spiritual fatherhood models for all laymen the rediscovery of the masculine ideal. God the Father entrusted the life of His Son Jesus to an ordinary layman. St. Joseph was not spared from original sin, and he humbly accepted the authority the Eternal Father gave him to be head of the Holy Family. Jesus counted on St. Joseph for fatherly love, protection, and human formation, especially during his years in Nazareth. St. Joseph models for all men the ideal of the masculine vocation—to protect the precious gift of life and to beget more life, physically and spiritually. And just as St. Joseph was a father to Jesus, laymen can be spiritual fathers to priests by generously supporting, in various ways, those who are called to the priesthood. In a culture that is losing its sense of authentic masculinity and fatherhood, this facet of spiritual fatherhood is needed now more than ever.” (foundationforpriests.org)

So how do we respond to this invitation? 

The first way you can put your fiat to work is to bring it before the Lord with intentionality.  During your daily prayer time, include the names of the priests by which you are blessed as well as those whose wounded hearts plague them. Offering Holy Communion and Holy Mass as well as regular Holy Hours and Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament are most efficacious for the renewal of priestly life, healing of Mother Church and salvation of souls. 

Should you desire further information or to make a deeper commitment in prayer for priests, we encourage you to visit The Foundation of Prayer for Priests, founded in 2013 with the encouragement of Rome's Congregation for Clergy, to build up and fortify through prayer, the Body of Christ. There you will find resources where you can, with purity of heart and a fervent love for our Catholic faith, offer the Lord your fiat.

 When we pray for our priests, the Sanctifier pours graces of wisdom, knowledge and understanding out upon us!

Note from Dan: Dear Apostoli Viae family, I strongly encourage our members who have a heart for the well-being of priests and the priesthood in general to consider this prayer apostolate. There are many good groups out there but the approach offered by Foundation of Prayer for Priests is the one that we endorse for use by members of our community. This does not mean that others need to be or must be abandoned, just that this is the one that we have thoroughly vetted, and that we recommend.

 

Comments

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  • Yalile Deal

    Yalile Deal

    Thank you for the information. We should put it in practice.
  • Cathleen  Ludlow

    Cathleen Ludlow

    This is so important. Thank you so much for this post and for the information. I am going to contact this apostolate.
  • Jeanette Woodley

    Jeanette Woodley

    Thank you for this. I joined the Foundation for Priests. Praying for priests is very dear to my heart and I pray for them as a whole every day. I especially pray for certain priests that I know. We need so much to support our priests by prayer especially in their loneliness and the constant temptations that assail them from the flesh, world and the devil. I pray for their holiness and purity and that Jesus will grant them much courage to lead us in the Truth.
  • Patricia Monfre

    Patricia Monfre

    I started this program three years ago in our parish with a small group of friends. We meet weekly during Adoration for one hour plus concluding at 3:00 o clock recitation of Devine Mercy Chaplet. We are between 5 and 9 persons , small in group but strong in our prayer intentions, I love my committed group of warriors!!!
  • Hope Aspengren

    Hope Aspengren

    My Divine Mercy, Rosary ministry pray's for all our priests and religious, we do it after daily mass. Seven Sorrows ministry also offers prayers for our priests and consecrated religious. I will also check into the Foundation for Priests ministry. Thank you for this information.
  • RICHARD LOBO

    RICHARD LOBO

    Thanks!
  • Lisa Buss

    Lisa Buss

    A wonderful article!! As head coordinator of the adoration ministry at my parish (and part of the Seven Sisters Apostolate), I would very much like to share this with my parish community. Is there a way to do that?
  • Jeanne Dandrow

    Jeanne Dandrow

    Great article! I never heard of this apostolate and I look forward to checking it out.

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