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Society of St.

Pius X
280 West Botany Street
Rockdale
NSW 2216
Ph 9567 7088
Email: robinson@sspx.com

Reform of the Priest’s Life

PRINCIPAL POINTS OF THE PRIEST’S RULE OF LIFE

1-A good priest must, as much as possible, rise and retire at a fixed hour and
allow his body only as much time as it requires to repair its strength.
2-A priest without a spirit of prayer is like a body without a soul. He must,
therefore, every day and without fall, devote at least half an hour to mental prayer,
immediately after rising, before leaving his room or attending to any other occupation
whatsoever.
3-As much as possible he must celebrate Holy Mass at a fixed hour, suitable to
the greater portion of his parishioners, and be very exact to begin even on Sundays,
and especially on Sundays, at the precise hour. This is the best means to avoid its
being missed by the late-comers.
• Let us beware and not ascend the altar with a doubtful or troubled conscience.
• Let us prepare ourselves for this great action by the deepest recollection.
• We must not omit to make our thanksgiving immediately after and for a
quarter of an hour.
• Let us celebrate the Holy Mass with that gravity, modesty, respect, recollection
and lively faith that become a fervent priest and which move more than the
most touching sermon.
4-The Divine Office should be recited rite, attente et devote. When reciting it,
let us each time do so for a particular intention.
5-A good priest must never omit to say his beads daily. It is an offering we
make to the Blessed Virgin each day to draw down her blessing on ourselves and on
our ministry.
6.-The priest who has his spiritual progress at heart, will never fail to make
every day, during a quarter of an hour, his Particular Examen. The most favourable
time for this exercise seems to be at night, just before retiring. But each one may
choose any time of the day in which he will be more free.
• He must not fall to devote another quarter of an hour to spiritual reading from
a book calculated to touch his heart and move his will rather than to enlighten
his mind.
• He will likewise make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.
• He will set aside a fixed time for the study of the Sacred Scriptures, of
theology, of Church History and of the holy Fathers.
• He will take care that the linen and church ornaments be kept scrupulously
clean, as well as the sacred vessels and everything that belongs to the
decoration of the church.
7-He will zealously devote himself to instruct his parishioners. He will most
diligently prepare his instructions and sermons and his catechism classes to the
children.
8-He will strive to bring the faithful to frequent the sacraments. He will apply
all his zeal to establish societies for men: congregation of the holy Angels, parish
schools, the children's frequent communion, confraternities or congregations for men.
He will neglect nothing to cause the chosen souls of his parish, religious and
pious persons to advance in the way of perfection.
9.-The zealous priest will visit the sick frequently, especially the poor and
ignorant. He will not delay until the last moment to prepare them to receive the
sacraments.
He will have for everybody a charity, which is kind, becoming, obliging,
indulgent and patient, accompanied, however, with the firmness necessary to fulfill
his duty, that is to combat vice and oppose disorders with prudence, tact and modesty.
10.-It. is highly recommended not to accept invitations to dine with people of
the world, or at most to do so as seldom as possible.
We should, also, regulate our table expenses with a view to economy,
especially at the reunions of brother-priests on the occasion of conferences and the
Patronal Feasts.
11-The priest according to the Heart of God will never permit himself
relaxations which are foreign to the character with which he is invested. He will shun
games lasting too long or incompatible with priestly gravity; He will avoid worldly
company and, in general, anything that may lead him to dissipation and levity.
• He will be anxious concerning the best use of his time and will avoid light,
useless and dangerous reading and such as may be opposed to the spirit of the
Church and likely to cause him to neglect his duty to God, to his neighbour
and to his soul.
• He will show himself submissive to ecclesiastical authority, respecting its acts,
its decisions, conforming himself to the regulations and ordinances of the
Diocese.
• He should neither mix too much in society nor keep too much aloof.
• He will take care that the housekeeper in his service be above all suspicion. He
will demand that her conduct be punctual and edifying; that she in nowise
intermeddle in the affairs of others, nor in those of the parish.

12-A good priest will go to confession every eight days, or at least every
fifteen days and to the same confessor, whom he will have chosen on account of his
piety and learning. He will keep his conscience completely open to him, begging him,
also, not to be afraid to warn him should he chance to find out anything concerning
him that it would be for his good to know.
Every year he must strive to make a retreat and if this be not possible, at least,
a few days recollection at his home, and not to omit his general confessions.
Every month, the first Friday preferred, in honour of the Sacred Heart, he will
make the monthly recollection which will consist of a second half-hour, with a
consideration for another half-hour on the manner he has spent the month and
observed his rule of life. He will read over attentively the resolutions of the last retreat
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and the notes he may have taken. It would prove useful also to read on that day, just
before bedtime, the prayers for the agonizing, as if he were about to die.

REFORM OF CONDUCT.

1-The end which the priest should propose to himself in his retreat, is to
dispose and prepare his soul to free itself from all inordinate affections and after
having uprooted them from his heart to try to find out God's will with regard to his
salvation and the ordering of his life.

2.-Did I not have the idea that, for a retreat, a good confession was sufficient,
without further taking efficacious means to lead a more regular life, a life more
conformed to the holiness of my ministry?

3-Am I in that disposition in which the apostle was when he exclaimed:


Domine, quid me vis facere? Or in the one in which the Royal Prophet was when he
cried out to God: Paratum cor meum, Deus, pamtum cor meum?

4._Where do I stand with regard to my salvation? Is there not in the depths of


my conscience something that might compromise it? If I were to die within fifteen
minutes, would I be at peace?
Would I not have to reproach myself with some grievous sin, with some
intercourse concerning which I have been deceiving myself up to the present?

5-Did I go to confession every fifteen days? And in my confessions was I


content with mentioning only serious faults, saying to myself that venial sins are not
necessary matter for confession? But where is the line where venial sin ceases and
mortal sin begins?

6.-In my confessions, instead of seeking peace by a frank and loyal


explanation to myself and to my confessor, have I not tried to dissemble, when there
was question of defects which 1 found it painful to renounce? Did I not act the part of
an interested theologian?

7-The relapses, after confession, into the faults of which I had accused myself,
the seeking of the same occasions, the little care and culpable negligence in putting in
practice the advice of my confessor, does not all this prove that I did not really wish to
correct myself and be converted?

8-Do I need to make a general or extraordinary confession? And in case I were


not bound, would it not be very advantageous for me to do so? It would, possibly,
prove the very means of renewing my fervour and of procuring a solid peace of soul.
What does my conscience say about it?

II-PASTORAL MIN1STRY.

1-Have I seriously reflected that, since the ecclesiastical state is a ministry of


work and the priesthood is a dignity accompanied with labour, it is contrary to the
end which Jesus Christ proposed to Himself in establishing it to while away the time
in accomplishing nothing useful or becoming a priest?

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2-Am I thoroughly persuaded that ignorance in the clergy constitutes a defect
which, according to the Holy Fathers, nothing can supply, and which according to the
Councils renders them unworthy to be ordained? There is nought I should dread so
much and carefully avoid. It is impossible for priests, who are called upon to instruct
and exhort their people, to acquit themselves of this essential duty without learning.
3-Have I prepared my catechisms carefully? Have I rendered them interesting?
Have I striven to make myself readily understood by the children? Did I endeavour to
inspire them with the love of prayer and of the principal devotions of the Church?
4-Have I prepared my instructions to the people? Have I addressed them in a
simple manner? Or did I not keep presenting useless subjects, subjects above the
reach of my audience? Did I apply myself to impart Instruction on the Catholic truths
and dogmas?
5-Have I not allowed myself to manifest in my instructions signs of
impatience, bitterness and anger or other less charitable sentiments, likely to defeat
the fruit of the word of God? Have I carefully avoided in the pulpit all personalities?
6-Have I taken pains to acquire a thorough knowledge of the duties of
religious and of the obligations imposed by their vows? Without this knowledge I am
unable to direct them.
7.-Have I carefully kept in order the Baptismal, Marriage and Death registers?
8-Have I made strenuous efforts to reconcile families that were disunited?
9-Am I submissive in mind and heart to all the decisions of the Church and to
the laws and directions of the Supreme Pontiff? Have I accepted as coming from God
the assignments confided to me? Have I not criticized the conduct and acts of my
superiors?
10-Have I for my assistants the consideration due to their character? Did I
uphold their authority? Have I listened kindly to their representations? Have I edified
them as I should by the practice & the priestly virtues?
11-As assistant, have I not been wanting in respect and consideration for my
pastor? Have I endeavoured to deserve his confidence and to keep on good terms with
him and to second him in everything and everywhere?

EXAMEN ON PRIESTLY PERFECTION

1-Is my life more perfect than that of ordinary Christians who are living in the
midst of the impediments of the world?

2-By my irregular life and too free ways, have I not been wanting in the
requirements of the priestly character which I bear?

3-Is my piety really grounded in faith, sustained by hope, perfected by charity


and nurtured by prayer?

4-Do I enter the churches with the respect which faith inspires? Do I observe
the same spirit while administering the sacraments?

5.-Am I careful to win and keep the confidence of my people by great


discretion in my words and actions?

6-Do I frequent society too much or am I too retired? These are two extremes:
for if I frequent too much, I lose my time, expose myself to criticism, become too
familiar and compromise my good name; if, too retired, I am a stranger amongst my

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people, do not become acquainted with them and forego many occasions of being
useful.

7.-Is my Housekeeper above all suspicion? Do I watch and see that she gives
no one occasion to complain?

8-Do I take care that she does not intermeddle in the affairs of others nor in
those of the parish? Do I not place too much confidence in her and share with her
what concerns the ministry?

9-Should I have in my service members of my own family, have I not allowed


them too great influence in the parish?

10-Have I not exposed myself to the occasion of sin when receiving or visiting
certain persons?

ll-Have I not been too negligent in guarding my eyes generally and even In the
church? Have I not been imprudent in indulging in reading matter unbecoming a
priest?

12-Have I not given occasion to annoying temptations by my slothful life?

DISINTERESTEDNESS

1-Have I considered avarice and attachment to worldly goods, as most baneful


to the clergy?
2-Have I not been unduly engaged in temporal affairs? Have I not been seen at
fairs and market-places to the detriment of the priestly character?
3-Has not this undue attachment to temporal affairs caused me to be too
rigorous in exacting what was due to me?
4-Have I not for my use too costly furniture? Have I not served banquets that
were too sumptuous?
5-Have I not been imprudent and done harm to religion by my over-eagerness
in advising pious legacies?
6.-Have I not entertained for my relatives a misplaced tenderness? Have I not
made use of my revenues to flatter their vanity?
7-Have I considered the goods and revenues of the church as sacred, the
surplus of which should be devoted to pious works?
8-Have I imposed on myself as a duty to help the poor, who are ashamed to
beg, the sick and infirm?

ZEAL FOR SOULS.

1-Have I a true zeal for souls? Is it active?


2-Is it compassionate? Did I do unto others what I would have them do unto
me? Have I received with kindness souls that were in guilt?
3-Is my zeal prudent? Did I make myself all to all? Is there aught in my
conduct which displeases worthy persons and is an occasion of murmuring?
4-Have I taken good care of the children? Have I heard their confession from
the age of seven, and regularly thereafter?

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5-Did 1 see to their timely preparation for first Holy Communion? Have I seen
to it that they went to confession and communion frequently after their first
communion?
6-Did 1 visit the sick punctually, hear their confessions betimes and prepare
them to receive the last sacraments?

SACRAMENT OF PENANCE

1-Have I a great esteem for and a lively faith in the administration of the
sacrament of Penance?

2-Have I not neglected to go to the confessional when called? Have I not heard
confessions hurriedly and without attention? Have I not asked the penitents the names
of their accomplices?

3-Have I not given, refused or postponed absolution without reason or through


human motives? Did I not allow myself to criticize the conduct of confessors more or
less severe than myself?

4-When occasion presented itself, did I inform my penitents that they were
entirely free to go to some other confessor?

5-Have I not been harsh in receiving the poor, the sinners and the ignorant?
Have I not turned away some by my blunt words?

6-Have I said or done anything that might directly or indirectly violate the seal
of confession?

7-Have I not remained without reason too long with certain persons or certain
classes of persons, giving rise thereby to discontent and criticism?

8-Did I not speak in the sacred tribunal of things foreign to confession and
even to direction?

9-Am I sufficiently prudent in asking questions? Does not curiosity creep in at


times?

THE HOLY MASS.

1-Did I prepare myself for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, before celebrating,
unless I said it immediately after meditation?

2-In going to the altar was I animated by a sincere, interior and exterior piety
founded on a lively faith in the real presence of our Lord Jesus Christ?

3-In saying the Holy Mass did I perform exactly and slowly all the ceremonies
prescribed by the missal, without adding or omitting anything?

4-Have I not said Mass too hurriedly? Too slowly? The Mass should not last
more than a half-hour, nor less than twenty-five minutes.

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5-Were the faithful edified in seeing me at the altar? During the celebration of
the holy sacrifice did I do anything irrelevant to it?

6-Did I employ for my thanksgiving the proper time, that is, a quarter of an
hour? Did I not spend part of this time chatting in the sacristy?

7-Is the altar, where the Blessed Sacrament is kept, clean and neatly arranged?
Is the tabernacle lined with silk on the inside? Does it close well and securely? Is it
scrupulously clean?

8-Am I careful to renew the Sacred Species at the time fixed by the Diocesan
Statutes? Have I watched to see that the lamp was kept always burning before the
Blessed Sacrament?

9-Do I take care that the altar linen be always very clean?

10-Am I penetrated with a lively faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in
the Blessed Sacrament? Do I manifest this faith by my exterior conduct? Have I not at
times been wanting in respect to the Blessed Sacrament, in passing before the altar
without making a genuflection or making it in an unbecoming manner?

11-Am I careful in not accepting too great a number of Masses? Have I said
them within the time prescribed? Have I kept an exact account of the Masses received
and said? Has not my negligence on this point exposed me to annoying qualms of
conscience? Have I, on all Sundays and Holy Days of obligation, offered the holy
sacrifice for my parishioners?

THE BREVIARY.

12-Have I recited the divine Office with the interior and exterior respect It
requires ?

13-Have I not recited it with my mind preoccupied with secular affairs? Have
I not recited the Divine Office hurriedly in order to have more time to devote to some
frivolous amusement?

14-Before reciting it did I recollect myself for a moment in order to place


myself in the presence of God?

15-Did I recite the Matins and Lauds & the Small Hours in the forenoon and
the Vespers and Complines at the proper time? Did I not postpone the Office to the
last moment at the risk of reciting it badly or omitting it completely?

AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM!