I am reading a book about Intrecessory Prayer for "Pastors, Christian Leaders, and others on the Spiritual Front lines". The author is not Catholic, but neither is he anti-Catholic, and in reading his book I learned first of all that being an Intercessor is a spiritual gift, and although not all have this gift (just as not all have the gift of preaching, or teaching, or hospitality, or evangelism, or tongues, etc...). yet all are called to fulfill the role of intercessor, especially for our family, our leaders, and our pastors... in the case of Catholics, our priests.
This book has been sitting in a drawer for months, and I find it no coincidence that I happened to come across it again at this time, when the Catholic Church is preparing to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Pope Benedict's Ordination to the Holy Priesthood. I haven't finished the book, and I look forward to reading more about intercession, and how to be an intercessor, but tonight while praying before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament I tried to "just intercede" for Pope Benedict, for our Bishops, and for priests that I know... suffice to say I ran out of things to ask God for on behalf of them pretty quickly. Granted, I'm a novice intercessor in this way, and I typically pray for priests using one of the many-many prayer cards I collected during the Year for Priests or using The Chalice of Strength, a book full of prayers for priests, but then I remembered the best intercessory weapon in a Catholic's Spiritual Arsenal: The Rosary.
I'm sure that somewhere out there in the world of Catholic books, devotions, and ways to pray the Rosary there is a Rosary for Priests, but obviously I didn't have one with me, and I didn't need one. Here is my Rosary for Priests.
Praying as normal with only one substitution in the Hail Mary, I prayed the following mysteries:
The Agony in the Garden: That priests will spend at least one hour with Jesus in prayer each day.
The Scourging at the Pillar: For those priests who suffer persecution, and even torture.
The Crowning with Thorns: For priests who suffer.
Carrying the Cross: For those priests who have fallen, that they will be sent a Simon.
The Crucifixion: That priests will put to death whatever is sinful.
I prayed the Hail Mary as follows:
Hail Mary, full of grace...
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for our priests, now and until the hour they enter heaven.
From the book I mentioned I learned that "Intercessor" comes from the Latin "inter" meaning "between" and "cedere" meaning "to go", and means "to go between" or stand inbetween, as in "standing in the gap", standing between. I can think of no greater service we can offer our priests than to stand in the gap on their behalf, both in lifting them up to God, and in shielding them from the attacks of the evil one... In fact, the book's title is "Prayer Shield".