St Alphonsus for priests - introduction

The Roman Missal (classical) contained a set collection of prayers for the priest to say before and after Mass. The Novus Ordo missal contains some of these. The full set can be found in any old Altar Missal and most missals produced for the faithful contain them with a translation.

In my little treasure of a book, Clericus Devotus, there are three schemes of preparation and thanksgiving for Mass. The first is that from the Roman Missal. The third is another collection of prayers. I knew that the second scheme was composed of prayers by Cardinal Bona. I now realise that they are from his ascetical treatise on the sacrifice of the Mass that I found in the Wonersh library.

However, there is another gem added in this prayer book to the traditional scheme. After the prayers given in the Missal, there is another prayer, composed by St Alphonsus, and divided into seven days in the same way as the prayer of St Ambrose before Mass. I find these prayers to be a very moving reminder of the dignity of the priesthood and the responsibilities of the priest. Somehow the saints (and I think St Alphonsus especially) had the knack of composing prayers that motivate you to make practical changes in your life.

So I will now fulfil a promise that has been put off for too long, and translate the prayer for priests who do not have Latin. I will do a day at a time, starting with the Sunday one. I don't promise to do one each day but we should get through the prayer eventually.

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