|Mirjana Soldo and Miki Musa (translator) speaking to American pilgrims in June'2013.|
If you have been visiting my blog of late, then you probably have read some and hopefully all of the core messages Our Lady has given us with Her "little stones," in Medjugorje. In addition to these core messages, Our Lady also speaks about many other things, one of which is the need for the laity to pray for our priests.
So, what does Our Lady Queen of Peace say about praying for priests? The Medjugorje visionary, Mirjana Soldo (formerly Dragicevic) shares this and other messages, consistently in her talks to pilgrims. You can view Mirjana and listen to her on this specific message as well as the "little stones," and other messages from my blog's sidebar Vimeo video. Again, Mirjana states this very important message in all her talks, so it wouldn't be difficult to find this information from any video search on Google. For your immediate reference, I will quote Mirjana from Medjugorje.com's article, Transform My Messages Into Life" - Mirjana speaks 10-17-07, where Mirjana stated:
But if we can still talk about the privileged ones when we look at Our Lady’s messages, the way I understood, then we would be talking about priests. Because Our Lady never said what they should do, but She always repeats what we should do for them. She says that they don’t need you to judge or criticize them, but they need your prayers and your love. And Our Lady says, “Dear children, God will judge them the way they were as priests. But God will judge you the way you treated your priests.” For if you lose respect for your priests, you will lose it for the Church, and in the end for your God as well...Unfortunately, many do not follow Our Lady's messages from Medjugorje and therefore, do not understand what the proper approach should be from a lay perspective toward our clergy. Quoting Mirjana further from the above mentioned article, Mirjana elaborated on Our Lady's message for priests:
And in Her latest messages on the second of the month, She has been constantly emphasizing the importance of the priests. For example, when She is giving us Her blessing during the apparition, She always says, “I am giving you my motherly blessing, but the greatest blessing that you can receive on earth is the blessing you receive from your priests because when they bless, it is my Son Himself blessing.” Then She says, “Do not forget to pray for your shepherds. Their priestly hands are blessed by my Son.” That is why I am always asking from the pilgrims, when you go back to your parishes, show to other people that you were in Our Lady’s school, show that by the way you are treating your priests. If your priest is doing the way in which you think he shouldn’t be doing, do not judge or criticize, because in that way it would just cause bad (fruit) for yourself and for those who are listening to you. You better take the Rosary and pray to Dear God for him, fast for him, because that is the way to help him. Not through judging. Only God is allowed to judge. He does it in a different way than us, because we can see in this world we have a lot of judging and criticizing of the people and very little love and peace. That is what Our Lady desires from us.The message from Our Lady is crystal clear, with any concerns you have for your priests, take up your daily Rosary and pray for them if you really want to help them because that is the best way to help them. Avoid all criticism and gossiping because this does harm to them and potentially further harms one's faith and the Church as a whole. Unfortunately, there are some who do not know and understand how to live Our Lady's message. I hope this blog post will begin to change that for many. Reading or hearing Our Lady's messages will not suffice. In order to live Our Lady's messages, we need to pray for the grace of acceptance and understanding. Quoting from Medjugorje.org's Core Messages, under the subheading of The Bible, Our Lady states in Her August 25, 1993, message, "...Only by prayer can you understand and accept my messages and practice them in your life..."
The temptation to gossip about priests is probably greater for those who are actively involved in the Church. Whether you are a volunteer or hired to provide some service, involved in a lay ministry or apostolate, design and maintain the parish web site, perform administrative tasks, manage the on line social networks or what ever your involvement may be, such individuals tend to know more about the local parish than the typical Sunday Mass attendee. What ever concerns that may arise from one's involvement with the Church, it should never lead to gossiping. For any concerns that we may have, we should follow Our Lady's message and pray the Rosary for our priests! To talk about the clergy and complain about this and that is gossiping and a sin. Gossiping about anyone is a sin. Gossiping is a sin against the 8th Commandment, "Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbour."
For those who are not in full communion with the Church, who rarely attend Mass and hardly ever pray, such individuals can also be tempted to gossip about priests simply as a matter of their indifference to the priesthood and the Church as a whole. Others may have had a bad experience with a priest or did not like the advice and guidance given and subsequently left the Church, condemning the entire priesthood in the process. For others, a personal tragedy such as losing a loved one resulted in anger towards God and perhaps even led them to join another Christian community or abandon Christianity all together. Such individuals who have rebounded from difficult and sometimes painful experiences, may have acted out their frustrations, hurt or anger on the priesthood with gossiping. This too constitutes a sin.
Sometimes gossiping is masqueraded as an article at an on line news website, where unsubstantiated claims are made, that accuse the Church or any of the clergy of this or that. The Church has a protocol for dealing with interior matters and issues and does not require overzealous reporting that fails to satisfy the burden of proof and subsequently publish false statements. To make false claims of potential scandals in the Church, is in itself scandalous and a sin. It is an inappropriate use of social communications. Such irresponsible reporting is tantamount to on line gossiping.
I hope that today's post adequately spot lights how wrong it is to gossip about priests, the harm it causes them, the fact that it contaminates recipients, its divisive nature and the disunity and the overall scandal it causes for the Universal Catholic Church. Let us pray to not fall into the temptation to gossip, but instead follow Our Lady's message to pray for our priests. Let us endeavour to better our Church in a spirit of brotherly love and unity.
Our Lady Queen of Peace, pray for us.