"To each of us the Judge shall say: Give an account of thy stewardship. That is, of your priesthood; how have you exercised it? for what end have you exercised it? Dearly beloved priest, were you now to be judged, would you feel satisfied and content with the manner in which you have discharged your ministry? Or would you not say: When he shall examine, what shall I answer him? When the Lord chastises a people, the chastisement begins with the priest, for he is the cause of the sins of the people, either by his bad example, or by his negligence in attending to their sanctification."
-- Saint Alphonsus Liguori (The Dignity and Duties of the Priest)
Prayer for Priests Who Have Gone Astray
Lord Jesus Christ, as you gazed down from the Cross in Your bitter agony upon the beloved and faithful Apostle, St. John, Your anguish was increased by the desertion of the traitor and the other Apostles. In spite of this desertion Your love embraced them and all those consecrated men who would forsake You.
We, therefore confidently beseech You now to rain abundant grace on shepherds who have gone astray. Where there is present growing uncertainty, let there be light; Where there is present overshadowing gloom, let there be joy; Where there is present mounting struggle, let there be peace.
Guide, O Lord, the straying shepherds back to the fold, (especially Father N.) and assist them to walk surely and lovingly in Your sight, for only in union with You will the shepherd find true light, joy and peace. Give to all priests inspiration in time of doubt, patience in time of adversity, fortitude in time of weakness, that with Your love ever pressing them on, they may lead others ever closer to You. Amen.