ʼIf a priest is determined not to lose his soul, so soon as any disorder arises in the parish he must trample under foot all human considerations as well as the fear of the contempt and hatred of his people. He must not allow anything to bar his way in the discharge of duty, even where he is certain of being murdered on coming down from the pulpit. A pastor who wants to do his duty must keep his sword in hand at all times."
-- St. John Vianney
Prayer for Priests (St. Alphonsus Ligouri)
My God, I believe in the sublime dignity conferred on Thy ministers by priesthood – the supreme dignity of all, says St. Ignatius; a divine dignity says St. Denis; a dignity surpassing that of kings and angels, says St. Ambrose. O my God! Thy priests are the leaders of Thy people (St. P. Damian), the guardians of Thy Church (St. Bernard), the light of the world (Matt. V. 14), the dispensers of the sacraments (St. P. Damian,) the vicars of Jesus Christ (St. Augustine), and His coadjutors in the work of salvation (1 Cor. iii 9).
I Believe, O Lord! That at the very instant when Thy priest consecrates, the Incarnate Word makes it a duty to obey him by coming into his hands under the sacramental species; I also believe that at the moment when the priest gives absolution to a penitent sinner, that sinner is changed from being an enemy of God and a slave of hell into being an inheritor of heaven, and that thus the priest may indeed be rightly named the door-keeper of heaven (St. Prosper).
Grant then, O Lord, to me and to all the faithful, to have the same respect and submission to the person, words, and counsels of Thy ministers as for Thine own, since Thou Thyself didst say to them: “He that heareth you heareth Me, and he that despiseth you despiseth Me” (Luke x .26).
Lastly, my God, I ask of Thee for all the priests in the world, and specially for those who have done any good to my soul, by seeking to sanctify it, the grace of loving Thee much and making Thee to be loved by others, so that by their piety, their virtues, and the ardor of their zeal they may merit a place with Thy apostles and most faithful servants.
O Mary, Mother of Jesus! Do thou second the efforts of all thy Son’s priests, and sanctify their lives and souls. Amen