Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia - Encyclical On the Priesthood - Pope John XXIII - Part 10

Necessity of Prayer Life
40. We sincerely hope, Venerable Brethren, that these lessons from the life of St. John M.Vianney may make all of the sacred ministers committed to your care feel sure that they must exert every effort to be outstanding in their devotion to prayer; this can really be done, even if they are very busy with apostolic labors.

41. But if they are to do this, their lives must conform to the norms of faith that so imbued John Mary Vianney and enabled him to perform such wonderful works. "Oh the wonderful faith of this priest"—one of his colleagues in the sacred ministry remarked—"It is great enough to enrich all the souls of the diocese!" (53)

42. This constant union with God is best achieved and preserved through the various practices of priestly piety; many of the more important of them, such as daily meditation, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the Rosary, careful examination of conscience, the Church, in her wise and provident regulations, has made obligatory for priests. (54) As for the hours of the Office, priests have undertaken a serious obligation to the Church to recite them. (55)

43. The neglect of some of these rules may often be the reason why certain churchmen are caught up in the whirl of external affairs, gradually lose their feeling for sacred things and finally fall into serious difficulties when they are shorn of all spiritual protection and enticed by the attractions of this earthly life. John Mary Vianney on the contrary "never neglected his own salvation, no matter how busy he may have been with that of others" (56)

44. To use the words of St. Pius X: "We are sure of this much... that a priest must be deeply devoted to the practice of prayer if he is to live up to his rank and fulfill his duties properly... For a priest must be much more careful than others to obey the command of Christ: You must always pray. Paul was only reaffirming this when he advised, as he did so often: Be constant in prayer, ever on the watch to give thanks; pray without ceasing." (57) And We are more than happy to adopt as Our own the words that Our immediate predecessor offered priests as their password at the very beginning of his pontificate: "Pray, more and more, and pray more intensely." (58)

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