On the Catholic Priesthood
Regina Cleri: A Priest's Prayer
Mother of God, in thy surpassing grace
The Christian priest his glorious type may trace;
His functions study in thy life divine,
And sigh to thee for virtues like to thine.
What holy orders to his soul might be
Was thy conception’s sanctity to thee:
A sacramental fount, a living well,
Whence all thy mighty stream of graces fell—
That purest love which in thy lowly womb
Made heaven’s great Exile find a royal home—
That thrill of rapturous joy when Jesus pressed
His infant lips upon thy virgin-breast—
That strength to bear thy more than martyr’s sword
And murmur still, ‘the Handmaid of the Lord.’
Then, Lady, look with pity upon one
Who bears the priestly image of thy Son;
By whose unworthy hands and trembling breath
The Victim-Priest renews his mystic death—
Whose functions bind him to thy highest care,
While conscience cries, ‘Presumptuous man, beware.’
O Glorious Queen, thy lamp was kindled bright
In thy conception: yet, through all the night,
Waiting the King of kings, thy prudent toil
Trimmed and replenished it with purest oil.
My priestly lamp burns dim; Oh, pray thy Spouse,
Within my sluggish spirit to arouse
The grace the priestly character demands,
Pledged by the pontiff’s venerable hands.
By Father T. E. Bridgett, C.SS.R.
Source: Carmina Mariana, Second Edition Collected and Arranged by Orby Shipley, M.A. Burns and Oates, Limited (London: 1894).p. 76-7.
Special thanks to Robert Olson