Vatican City, Dec 16, 2009 / 16:57 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, encouraged priests this week not to neglect prayer because it strengthens their ministry by cultivating “the intimacy of the disciple with his Master, Jesus Christ.”
“Truly without the essential nourishment of prayer, the priest becomes ill. The disciple cannot find the strength to follow the Master, and thus, he dies of starvation,” the cardinal warned in a letter.
Cardinal Hummes recalled that “prayer occupies a central place in the life of the priest,” and is a weapon for overcoming the devil, who seeks to weaken the shepherd in order to destroy the sheep.
“St. John Chrysostom warned that a decrease in shepherds always leads to a decline in the number of faithful in a community. Without shepherds, our communities will be destroyed,” he explained.
The prelate added that a lack of prayer leads to “less joy and happiness in ministry each day.” When a priest realizes “that his prayer life is weak, that is the time to address the Holy Spirit and pray.”