Priests have always spoken with me, even when I was young person, as if I understood their call. And, I do. Even before my son decided to become a priest, I knew what this call meant to a man.
It is as if the mystery of the call was given to me in my heart so that I would honor and pray for priests. That I have failed to do this all my life is a huge imperfection. Now, I am more aware of the need to pray for good priests by name, daily.
Their hands are holy and if they let me, I kiss the hands which bring down the Holy Spirit and make bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.
Yesterday, a kind Salesian told me a story I did not know. He talked with me for some time. I think God sent us to each other, for a moment in time, for mutual edification. I may never meet this good priest again.
He told me that one night, as St. John Bosco was getting the boys ready for bed, he spoke to them about things, as he was wont to do.
He told them that he was going to visit Pope Pius IX in Rome, and he asked the boys to pray for his journey.
The next morning, young St. Dominic Savio came to John Bosco's office before the priest left. The youth told the priest that he had had a vision and he wanted John Bosco to share this vision with the Pope.
The vision was this: Dominic Savio saw Pope Pius IX , traveling from the northernmost point of Scotland down to the southern coast of England, carrying a torch in his hand the entire way. Dominic saw the map of England and this pope traversing the entire island north to south. The torch was the light of the Church's teaching, the Gospel of Christ, entrusted to the Church.
Dominic said that God wanted to bring Great Britain back to Catholicism and the pope would do this.
I have never heard this story before the good priest in Sliema told it to me yesterday. I think all Brits should pray to both St. Dominic Savio and Blessed Pius IX to convert England.
The good Salesian also told me two other interesting things. He said that the English people are good, but more than others, they have needed excellent clergy to guide them. Unlike other peoples in the Church, they have been reliant for their faith on the hierarchy. I agree with this and have had an on-going discussion with a close friend of mine, who is English, on the necessity of the laity becoming more independent regarding their faith.
The priest also told me to "keep you son in England, as they have great need of good priests".
He told me to share this story with my son, and so, I do.
Of course, I agreed wholeheartedly, and asked him to pray that I could live there. He said he would.
For some reason, I know God will hear and answer his prayers. I am absolutely certain my prayers to live and die in England will be answered. Yesterday, I was, shall I say, "given" that assurance. But, keep praying and thanking God for this favor.