[ ^ ]

Shepherds of Christ

A Spirituality Newsletter for Priests

March/April 1996 Issue


  • Jesus in His Paschal Mystery
  • Thoughts on the Paschal Mystery
  • Editor's Corner
  • His Death-
  • -And Resurrection!
  • Thoughts on the Eucharist
  • The Priestly Call to Holiness
  • The Christian and the World
  • Serving Others
  • Pope John Paul II: About Children and All of us
  • Prayer
  • Act of Consecration
  • The Holy Spirit in Our Lives
  • Letters
  • Notes
  • Masthead

  • Chief Shepherd of the Flock

    Jesus in His Paschal Mystery

    "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd is one who 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." (Jn 10:11-15) (1).

    He hung upon a cross on a hill called Calvary. Death was near. How much Jesus had already suffered! He had been brutally scourged. Much of His sacred body was a bloody, open wound. He had been derisively crowned with thorns. In a terribly weakened condition, He carried the heavy cross to the hill of Golgotha. There He was stripped of His garments and mercilessly nailed to the cross. After all this brutal and agonizing suffering, Jesus finally died.

    Truly the Good Shepherd had laid down His life for His sheep. That magnificent Heart, overflowing with love for His Father and all of us, had beat its last.

    On the third day, Jesus rose: "Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up! The Jews replied, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this sanctuary: are you going to raise it up in three days?' But he was speaking of the sanctuary that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the words he had said." (Jn 2:19-22).

    Yes, the Good Shepherd died and rose for our salvation. Behold, the paschal mystery of Jesus!

    Editor's Corner

    by Fr. Ed Carter, S.J.

    A number of our entries in this issue of the Newsletter deal explicitly with Christ's paschal mystery, with His death and resurrection. Since we have just recently celebrated the liturgies of Good Friday and Easter, we thought it a particularly apt time to present various ideas concerning the paschal mystery.

    Much of the world tries to escape suffering at all possible costs-and many of the escape routes are sinful ones. And such sinful pursuits increase the suffering one is trying to flee. Certainly we may utilize any means which is according to God's will to alleviate suffering, but to try to escape all suffering is as futile as striving to escape from one's shadow.

    As priests we have numerous opportunities to help others properly cope with suffering. The more we ourselves are united with the Christ Who suffered such a brutal death, the more we can help others see God's plan for suffering--that it is meant to lead to greater life. Let us often recall the words of St. Paul:

    "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News, and not to preach that in the terms of philosophy in which the crucifixion of Christ cannot be expressed. The language of the cross may be illogical to those who are not on the way to salvation, but those of us who are on the way see it as God's power to save...And so, while the Jews demand miracles and the Greeks look for wisdom, here we are preaching a crucified Christ; to the Jews an obstacle that they cannot get over, to the pagans madness, but to those who have been called, whether they are Jews or Greeks, a Christ who is the power and the wisdom of God..." (1 Cor 1:17-24).

    Thoughts on the Paschal Mystery

    The Church in her Good Friday and Easter liturgies has just recently presented to us the paschal mystery of Jesus-His death and resurrection-in a very special way. In saying this we must remember that each Mass of every day makes sacramentally present the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    Here are some thoughts concerning Jesus' paschal mystery and our participation in it:

    St. Paul tells us: "All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death. That is the way I can hope to take my place in the resurrection of the dead." (Phil 3:10-11).

    When we are baptized we are incorporated into Christ's paschal mystery of death and resurrection. St. Paul speaks of this marvelous union with Jesus: "You have been taught that when we were baptized in Christ Jesus we were baptized in his death; in other words, when we were baptized we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father's glory, we too might live a new life." (Rm 6:3-4).
    Christ has structured the Christian life by the way He lived, died, and rose from the dead. It is obvious, then, as Paul tells us above, that the pattern of death-resurrection must be at the heart of the Church's life. Individually and collectively, we continually die with Christ so that we may continually rise with Him. Thus we pass over in a process of ongoing religious transition to a greater participation in Christ's resurrection. It is true that our participation in Christ's resurrection will reach its completion only in eternity. Nevertheless, we begin the life of resurrection here upon the earth, in the here and now of human life, in the midst of joy and pain; in the experience of success and failure, in the sweat of our brow, in the enjoyment of God's gifts. As Christians, we should have a sense of dynamic growth concerning our here and now life of resurrection.
    We cannot maintain the life of resurrection or grow in it without a willingness to suffer. This does not mean that we need to feel overwhelmed and heavily burdened in our lives. The greater portion of suffering for most Christians seems to be an accumulation of ordinary hardships, difficulties, and pains. At times, however, deep suffering, even suffering of agonizing proportions, can enter into one's life. Whether the sufferings one encounters are of either the more ordinary variety or the more rare and extreme type, Christians must convince themselves that to relate properly to the cross is to grow in resurrection, and growth in resurrection means we will also have an increased capacity to help give resurrection to others.

    Louis Evely observes: "The blessing of hospitals, of people condemned to death, of sanitariums, of all the places where one suffers, is that there people can be found who know that they need help, who no longer pretend to have no need of God or of anyone, who are freed from this exhausting comedy." (2)

    Fr. Edward Leen, C.S.Sp., offers us these insightful words concerning the cross: "The cross, then, can have its degrees. God, by what He directly wills for us, or permits to happen to us, can give it a more intense form, in view of effecting in our souls a deeper purification and, in consequence, a closer contact with Himself. The more thorough the crucifixion that is willingly borne, the greater the degree of happiness, because the more perfectly will God be revealed to the soul." (3)

    Fr. Peter van Breeman, S.J., succinctly observes: "We share the death of Christ. We empty ourselves. We enter the tomb, and in this way, we join Christ in his resurrection. We know the power of his resurrection and the peace that it brings with it. We experience the fruitfulness of a new life--new strength envelops us. Our baptism means that we open ourselves to Christ so that his life may continue through us." (4)


    Caryll Houselander writes with great sensitivity regarding the second station of the Way of the Cross: "They put His own garments on Him again, and Jesus comes out from the judgment hall of Pilate to receive His cross.

    "He comes to it gladly! This is a strange thing, for the cross is a symbol of shame, and it is to be His deathbed. Already He sees the very shape of His death in the widespread arms. From this moment He will be inseparable from it, until He dies on it. He will labor and struggle under the weight of it until the end comes. Yet Christ welcomes the cross, He embraces it. He takes it into His arms, as a man takes that which he loves into his arms. He lays His beautiful hands on it tenderly, those strong hands of a carpenter that are so familiar with the touch of wood." (5)


    Bill Clarke, S.J., gives a concrete example of how joy and suffering are meant to coexist as he speaks of L'Arche, the community founded by Jean Vanier:

    "L'Arche began in France in 1964 to give a permanent home to mentally handicapped adults. It seeks to unite the handicapped and those who assist them in a single community, inspired by a spirit of loving acceptance that will help all its members develop to their fullest potential as human beings...
    "Almost everyone who comes to L'Arche is immediately impressed by the spirit of joy that prevails there. Yet anyone who comes to know the community more intimately cannot but be impressed, not to say overwhelmed, by the amount of suffering that is simply a part of its daily life.
    "The living out in great intensity of these seemingly opposite experiences of joy and suffering, might be called the particular grace or vocation of L'Arche. Both the suffering and the joy are an integral part of the daily existence, but both have their moments of greater intensity and more external expression. There are the instances of crisis and there is death that crystallizes the suffering. The joy reaches its climax in moments of celebration. The one, however, is never entirely without the other, especially because both find their ultimate meaning in the single mystery-birth, death, and resurrection--the total mystery of life." (6)

    To follow Jesus entails a willingness to suffer for Him and His cause. The furthering of any worthwhile cause demands a spirit of sacrifice, a willingness to endure a variety of hardships and difficulties. We cannot expect it to be otherwise regarding the cause of Christ. To follow Jesus, to spread His message, to help further the process of ongoing redemption, all this demands a price. There is an almost endless variety of pains, sufferings, and difficulties which can arise in following Jesus and promoting His cause. At times seeing few, if any, visible results of our labors, feeling unappreciated, experiencing opposition, sometimes comprehending that we are being hated precisely by some of those whom we are striving to help, at times being laughed at and ridiculed-these are some of the ways we experience the sufferings of an apostle.
    The suffering involved in contributing to the process of ongoing redemption is not, however, the complete picture. The happiness resulting from commitment to Christ and His mission far outweighs the hardships. To be aware that one is so intimately loved by Jesus, to experience the satisfaction that one is contributing to a cause that cannot fail, to play a role in helping to bring to others the peace and love of Jesus--all of this makes for a life that has no equal. The committed follower of Christ, experiencing what it means to be closely associated with Jesus, realizes why St. Peter said, "Lord,...it is wonderful for us to be here." (Mt 17:4).

    St. Paul strikingly portrays the living of death-resurrection: "We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair; we have been persecuted, but never deserted; knocked down, but never killed; always, wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body. Indeed, while we are still alive, we are consigned to our death every day, for the sake of Jesus, so that in our mortal flesh the life of Jesus, too, may be openly shown." (2 Cor 4:8-11).


    St. John of the Cross wrote much about how the cross, properly encountered, always leads to greater life--to a greater share in Christ's resurrection here and hereafter. Here are some of his words regarding this fact:

    "Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them.
    "We must dig deeper in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides...
    "The gate that gives entry into these riches of His wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it." (7)

    In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus Himself speaks to us about this paschal mystery, about the necessary connection between the cross and resurrection, between the cross and life: "Then he said to them, 'You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?' Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself." (Lk 24:25-27).

    His Death -

    Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy on us!

    O Lord Jesus Christ,
    At prayer in the Garden of Olives,
    Weeping with sadness and fear,
    Comforted by an angel.


    O Lord Jesus Christ,
    Betrayed by the kiss of Judas,
    Abandoned by your apostles,
    Delivered over to sinners.


    O Lord Jesus Christ,
    Buffeted, covered with spittle,
    Bruised by the blows of soldiers,
    Condemned to die on the cross.


    O Lord Jesus Christ,
    Scourged and crowned with thorns,
    Clothed in a robe of purple,
    Covered with scorn and shame.


    O Lord Jesus Christ,
    Burdened with your cross,
    Mounting even to Calvary,
    Bearing the weight of our sins,


    O Lord Jesus Christ
    Stripped of your garments,
    Given gall in your thirst,
    Crucified with thieves,


    O Lord Jesus Christ
    Forgiving your executioners,
    Confiding your holy Mother
    To your beloved disciple


    O Lord Jesus Christ
    Breathing forth your spirit
    Into the hands of your Father,
    Dying for all sinners. (8)


    -- and Resurrection!

    The day of resurrection!
    Earth spread the news abroad;
    The Paschal feast of gladness,
    The Paschal feast of God.
    From death to life eternal,
    From earth to heaven's height
    Our Saviour Christ has brought us,
    The glorious Lord of Light.
    Our hearts be free from evil
    That we may see aright
    The Savior resurrected
    In his eternal light;
    And hear his message plainly,
    Delivered calm and clear:
    "Rejoice with me in triumph,
    Be glad and do not fear."
    Now let the heav'ns be joyful,
    And with her song begin,
    The whole world keep high triumph
    And all that is therein,
    Let all things in creation
    Their notes of gladness blend,
    For Christ the Lord has risen,
    Our joy that has no end. (9)

    Thoughts on the Eucharist

    The Eucharist is the chief source of growth in the spiritual life. We priests, called to have a special kind of union with Christ, should have a unique desire to grow in appreciation of the Eucharist. It is in the Eucharist that we unite with Jesus' paschal mystery in a special way. Here are some reflections on the Eucharist, Jesus' great gift of love to us:

    Pope John Paul II tells us: "The Church and the world have a great need of Eucharistic adoration. Jesus waits for us in the sacrament of love. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet him in adoration and contemplation that is full of faith and ready to make reparation for the great faults and crimes of the world. May our adoration never cease." (10)

    Archbishop Luis M. Martinez offers us these inspiring words: "If we could dispose ourselves at least to think about what He suffered for each one of us! Our souls are enveloped in His tenderness and in His pain. We are the fruit of His love and His martyrdom. We increasingly receive His gifts of all kinds. We receive them tranquilly, at times joyfully. But those gifts are marked with the blood of Jesus, the blood from His veins and from his Heart. In order that we might taste the least of His heavenly consolations, Jesus had to taste the gall and vinegar of interior desolation...
    "Each communion we receive cost Jesus the sacrifice of Calvary...Holy Communion is a banquet from heaven prepared with the blood of Jesus and the bitterness of His Heart." (11)

    The Priestly Call to Holiness

    The priest is called to participate in Jesus' death-resurrection in a most special way. Vatican II speaks to us about the priestly life of holiness.

    "By the sacrament of orders, priests are configured to Christ the Priest so that as ministers of the Head and coworkers of the episcopal order they can build up and establish His whole Body which is the Church. Already, indeed in the consecration of baptism, like all Christians, they received the sign and the gift of so lofty a vocation and a grace that even despite human weakness they can and must pursue according to the Lord's words: 'You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.' (Mt 5:48).
    "To the acquisition of this perfection, priests are bound by a special claim, since they have been consecrated to God in a new way by the reception of orders. They have become living instruments of Christ the eternal priest so that through the ages they can accomplish His wonderful work of reuniting the whole society of men with heavenly power. Therefore, since every priest in his own way represents Christ Himself, he is enriched with special grace.
    "Priestly holiness itself contributes very greatly to a fruitful fulfillment of the priestly ministry. True, the grace of God can complete the work of salvation even through unworthy ministers. Yet ordinarily God desires to manifest His works through those whom we have been made particularly docile to the impulse and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because of their intimate union with Christ and their holiness of life, these men can say with the apostle: 'It is now no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me' (Gal. 2:20)." (12)

    The Christian and the World

    Vatican II reminds us that Christ in His paschal mystery has entered into the world's history, has taken this history to Himself, and has summarized it:

    "For God's Word, through whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh and dwelt on the earth of men. Thus He entered the world's history as a perfect man, taking that history up into Himself and summarizing it. He Himself revealed to us that 'God is love' (1 Jn 4:8). At the same time he taught us that the new command of love was the basic law of human perfection and hence of the world's transformation.
    "To those, therefore, who believe in divine love, He gives assurance that the way of love lies open to all men and that the effort to establish a universal brotherhood is not a hopeless one. He cautions them at the same time that this love is not something to be reserved for important matters, but must be pursued chiefly in the ordinary circumstances of life.
    "Undergoing death itself for all of us sinners, He taught us by example that we too must shoulder that cross which the world and the flesh inflict upon those who search after peace and justice. Appointed Lord by His resurrection and given plenary power in heaven and on earth, Christ is now at work in the hearts of men through the energy of His Spirit. He arouses not only a desire for the age to come, but, by that very fact, he animates, purifies, and strengthens those noble longings too by which the human family strives to make its life more human and to render the whole earth submissive to the goal.
    "Now, the gifts of the Spirit are diverse. He calls some to give clear witness to the desire for a heavenly home and to keep that desire green among the human family. He summons others to dedicate themselves to the earthly service of men and to make ready the material of the celestial realm by this ministry of theirs. Yet He frees all of them so that by putting aside love of self and bringing all earthly resources into the service of human life they can devote themselves to that future when humanity itself will become an offering accepted by God.
    "The Lord left behind a pledge of this hope and strength for life's journey in that sacrament of faith where natural elements refined by man are changed into His glorified Body and Blood, providing a meal of brotherly solidarity and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet." (13)

    Serving Others

    Our participation in Jesus' death-resurrection includes our service of love to others.

    In rarer moments of heroic reflection, we perhaps have dreamed of sensational ways through which we may be called to lay down our lives for our neighbor. For most of us, however, such opportunities will probably never occur, and this is just as well. Our courage could well be far less in a real situation than it is in the inflated proportions of dreamlike musings. Most people perform much better in the less heroic atmosphere of everyday sameness. Yet each day, so ordinarily similar to both the one which has preceded and the one which will follow, offers constant opportunities for the laying down of one's life for others. If these daily opportunities are less sensational than the more heroic occasions, they are much more numerous and therefore much more consistently present as possibilities for serving others.

    Dying daily for others means many things. It means curbing those persistent, selfish tendencies which, if left unchecked, gradually narrow our vision so that we hardly think of anyone but ourselves. Dying daily for others means working at being kind and patient-seemingly little things, but immensely important in maintaining a spirit of harmony in the course of human affairs. Dying daily for others means fidelity to our work, even though this fidelity must be expressed amid temptations such as discouragement, laziness, and disinterest. Dying daily for our neighbor means these and many other things, some of which we all share in common, some of which are peculiar to each person's uniqueness. One of these common elements is this: dying for others in daily and varied fashion is an expression of our present concern while at the same time it increases our capacity for future love.

    Jesus, of course, is our great exemplar regarding the service of others:

    "You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mt 20:25-28).

    Pope John Paul II Speaks
    About Children and All of Us

    The children of the world are among our most precious treasures. The Holy Father speaks insightfully about children and all of us.

    "Little children very soon learn about life. They watch and imitate the behavior of adults. They rapidly learn love and respect for others, but they also quickly absorb the poison of violence and hatred. Family experiences strongly condition the attitudes which children will assume as adults. Consequently, if the family is the place where children first encounter the world, the family must be for children the first school of peace.
    "Parents have an extraordinary opportunity to help their sons and daughters to become aware of this great treasure: the witness of their mutual love. It is by loving each other that they enable the child, from the very first moment of its existence, to grow up in peaceful surroundings, imbued with the positive values which make up the family's true heritage: mutual respect and acceptance, listening, sharing, generosity, forgiveness. Thanks to the sense of working together which these values foster, they provide a true education for peace and make the child, from its earliest years, an active builder of peace.
    "Children share with their parents and brothers and sisters the experience of life and hope. They see how life's inevitable trials are met with humility and courage, and they grow up in an atmosphere of esteem for others and respect for opinions different from their own.
    "It is above all in the home that, before even a word is spoken, children should experience God's love in the love which surrounds them. In the family they learn that God wants peace and mutual understanding among all human beings, who are called to be one great family.
    "Children are not a burden of society; they are not a means of profit or people without rights. Children are precious members of the human family, for they embody its hopes, its expectations and its potential.
    "Peace is a gift of God; but man and woman must first accept this gift in order to build a peaceful world. People can do this only if they have a childlike simplicity of heart. This is one of the most profound and paradoxical aspects of the Christian message: to become childlike is more than just a moral requirement but a dimension of the mystery of the Incarnation itself.
    "The Son of God did not come in power and glory, as he will at the end of the world, but as a child, needy and poor. Fully sharing our human condition in all things but sin (cf. Heb 4:15), he also took on the frailty and hope for the future which are part of being a child. After that decisive moment for the history of humanity, to despise childhood means to despise the One who showed the greatness of his love by humbling himself and forsaking all glory in order to redeem mankind...
    "Jesus asked the disciples to become 'children' again (Mk 10:14-15). Jesus thus turned around our way of thinking. Adults need to learn from children the ways of God: seeing children's capacity for complete trust, adults can learn to cry out with true confidence, 'Abba, Father!'
    "To become like a little child--with a complete trust in the Father and with the meekness taught by the Gospel--is not only an ethical imperative: it is a reason for hope. Even where the difficulties are so great as to lead to discouragement and the power of evil so overwhelming as to dishearten, those who can rediscover the simplicity of a child can begin to hope anew. This is possible above all for those who know they can trust in a God who desires harmony among all persons in the peaceful communion of his kingdom. It is also possible for those who, though not sharing the gift of faith, believe in the values of forgiveness and solidarity and see in them--not without the hidden action of the Spirit--the possibility of renewing the face of the earth.
    "It is therefore to men and women of good will that I address this confident appeal. Let us all unite to fight every kind of violence and to conquer war! Let us create the conditions which will ensure that children can receive as the legacy of our generation a more united and fraternal world!" (14)


    Our growth according to Jesus' pattern of death-resurrection is impossible without a life of prayer. Growth in prayer not only increases our love of God, but also enhances our loving concern for others.

    A great example of this is seen in the study of the prayer life of Catherine of Sienna, saint and doctor of the church. Sr. Mary O'Driscoll, O.P., tells us:

    "Twenty-six of Catherine of Sienna's prayers have been preserved for us. With one possible exception, they are not prayers that she herself wrote or even dictated to others. Rather, they were transcribed by her followers who were present as she prayed aloud. All of these prayers belong to the last four years of her life. They impress us by their simplicity, their intense concentration on God, who is repeatedly praised and thanked, and their constant desire for the salvation of others...
    "As her Prayers make evident, Catherine of Sienna was a great intercessor. In them we find her pleading with God persistently and urgently for mercy for all the world, the Church, the pope, her friends and followers, all in need. It is obvious that she does not regard intercession as merely a passing prayer to God on behalf of one or other persons in time of crisis, but rather as an expression of her deep, loving, permanent commitment both to God and to her neighbors. In Catherine's own life, the importance and intensity of her intercession increased according as her union with God and her concern for others increased. This observation tells us something very significant about the prayer of intercession in the Christian life, namely, that it is not, as is sometimes thought, a type of prayer which one passes on the way to the heights of mystical prayer, as though intercession were for beginners and mysticism for those who are advanced in the spiritual life, but! as a type of prayer which belongs most particularly to the life of contemplative union with God." (15)

    Act of Consecration

    Lord Jesus, Chief Shepherd of the Flock, I consecrate my priestly life to your Heart, pierced on Calvary for love of us. From your pierced Heart the Church was born, the Church you have called me, as a priest, to serve in a most special way. You reveal Your Heart as symbol of Your love in all its aspects, including Your most special love for me, whom you have chosen as Your priest-companion. Help me always to pour out my life in love of God and neighbor. Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you!

    Dear Blessed Virgin Mary, I consecrate myself to your maternal and Immaculate Heart, this Heart which is symbol of your life of love. You are the Mother of my Savior. You are also my Mother. You love me with the most special love as this unique priest-son. 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 heart of Jesus, Chief Shepherd of the Flock, who leads me to the Father in the Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Spirit in Our Lives

    The Holy Spirit desires to fashion us into an ever greater likeness of Christ according to Jesus' pattern of death-resurrection. Mary our Mother cooperates with the Spirit, whose spouse she is, in this process. Obviously, we should pray to the Holy Spirit each day. There are many ways we can do this. We can do this by simply turning our attention to the Spirit at various times during the day as we ask for His guidance. This method can also be complemented by saying certain established prayers. Here is a Holy Spirit prayer from the Church's Liturgy of the Hours:

    Father, Lord of earth and heaven,
    King to whom all gifts belong,
    Give Your greatest Gift, your Spirit,
    God the holy, God the strong.
    Son of God, enthroned in glory,
    Send your promised Gift of grace,
    Make Your Church Your holy Temple,
    God the Spirit's dwelling place.
    Spirit, come, in peace descending
    As at Jordan, heav'nly Dove,
    Seal Your Church as God's anointed,
    Set our hearts on fire with love.
    Stay among us, God the Father,
    Stay among us, God the Son,
    Stay among us, Holy Spirit:
    Dwell within us, make us one. (16)


    We thank all those who have taken the time to write to us. We very much appreciate your letters. Space limitations permit us to publish only a few of these:


    Dear Fr. Carter,

    Thank you for your valuable newsletter of spirituality for priests.

    Msgr. Walter Schroeder
    Church of the Magdalene
    North Tarrytown, New York


    Dear Ed,

    I've read every issue of Shepherds of Christ, which is rather rare, because I've received a ton of junk mail every day. Thanks for taking time out to share your inspiring reflections with us who are "too busy."
    Just a token to defray some of your costs.

    In Christ,
    Msgr. Domenic M. Luong
    Mary Queen of Vietnam Church
    New Orleans, Louisiana


    Dear Father Ed,

    Thank you for your Nov/Dec Newsletter. Some paragraphs are clearly gifts of the Holy Spirit for me. Keep up the great work for Jesus Christ.

    In JMJ,
    Gus Biehl, S.M.
    East St. Louis, Illinois


    Dear Fr. Carter,

    Thank you for your most welcome newsletter. I read it gradually, one section at a time, so I can sit with and let sink in the penetrating thoughts you have gleaned from a wonderful variety of sources. If it weren't for this well-chosen digest I would not meet some of the spiritual writers you feature. Yours is an excellent resource for contemplatives on a tight schedule.

    In Christ's peace,
    Frank Desiderio, C.S.P.
    St. Paul's College
    Washington, D.C.



    I am enclosing a donation for Shepherds of Christ which I find uplifting and inspiring.

    Rev. Gino Dalpiaz, C.S.
    Scalabrini Mission Center
    Stone Park, Illinois


    1. Scriptural quotations are taken from The Jerusalem Bible, Doubleday & Co.
    2. Luis Evely, Suffering, Herder & Herder, p. 96.
    3. Fr. Edward Leen, C.S.Sp., Why the Cross?, Sheed and Ward, pp. 95-96.
    4. Fr. Peter van Breeman, S.J., As Bread That is Broken, Dimension, p. 95.
    5. Caryll Houselander, The Way of the Cross, Sheed and Ward, p. 21.
    6. Bill Clarke, S.J., Enough Room for Joy, Paulist Press, pp 13 and 71.
    7. St. John of the Cross, as in The Liturgy of the Hours, Catholic Book Publishing Co., Vol I, pp. 1246-1247.
    8. The Liturgy of the Hours, op. cit., Vol II, p. 403.
    9. Ibid., p. 543.
    10. Pope John Paul II, "On the Mystery of and Worship of the Holy Eucharist", April 1980, as in Apostles of the Holy Spirit Bulletin, Winter 1995.
    11. Archbishop Luis Martinez, Only Jesus, B. Herder Book Co., pp. 212-213.
    12. The Documents of Vatican II, "Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests," American Press Edition, Ch 3, No. 12.
    13. Ibid., "Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World," No. 38.
    14. Pope John Paul II, "Let us Give Children a Future of Peace," Dec. 8, 1995, as in Inside the Vatican, February, 1996.
    15. Catherine of Siena, Selected Writings, ed., Mary O'Driscoll, O.P., New City Press, p. 50.
    16. The Liturgy of the Hours, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 1027.


    Shepherds of Christ, a spirituality newsletter for priests, is published bi-monthly by Shepherds of Christ Ministries, P.O. Box 17596, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky 41017-0596. 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., Professor of Theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, is Spiritual Director for Shepherds of Christ Ministries. Publisher Gerry Ross is President of the Board of Directors. Larry Memering is Executive Director, Shepherds of Christ Ministries. Also dedicated to the spiritual advancement of priests is a worldwide network of lay/religious prayer chapters, Shepherds of Christ Associates, International Director: Bonnie Kaelin, Priest-Consultant: Rev. Dennis Cousens.

    [Priestly Newsletter Home ^ || SofC Home ^^ ]

    SofC LogoCopyright © 1996 Shepherds of Christ.
    Rights for non-commercial reproduction granted:
    May be copied in its entirety, but neither re-typed nor edited.
    Revised: August 11, 1996
    URL: http://www.Shepherds-of-Christ.org