During the ordination of 19 priests for the Diocese of Rome on Vocation Sunday, Benedict XVI encouraged priests to pray a lot and pray well, saying that in this way they will be increasingly united to Christ.

19 Priests ordained for Diocese of Rome

Half of the newly ordained are from Rome; three others are Italian and six came from other countries: Nigeria, Haiti, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Chile and South Korea.

The Holy Father encouraged them to live a life of total surrender to God, like that of the apostles who changed the course of history proclaiming salvation in the name of Christ.

“The disciple, and especially the apostle, experiences the same joy of Jesus in knowing the name and face of the Father; and he shares as well his same sorrow at seeing that God is not known, that his love is not reciprocated,” the Pontiff said.

He added:

“On one hand, we exclaim as John did in his First Letter: ‘See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.’ And on the other hand, bitterly we attest: ‘The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him’ (1 John 3:1).

“It is true, and we priests know this from experience: The ‘world,’ in the sense that John uses the word, does not understand the Christian, does not understand the ministers of the Gospel — in part, because in fact it does not know God and in part, because it does not want to know him.”

Nevertheless, Benedict XVI cautioned, the “world” also ensnares the Church, “contaminating its members and even the ordained ministers.”

This world, he explained, “is a mentality, a way of thinking and living that can contaminate even the Church, and in fact does contaminate it, and therefore demands constant vigilance and purification.”

“We are ‘in’ the world and we run the risk of also being ‘of’ the world,” the Pope added. “And in fact, sometimes we are.”

Prayer, he said, is the way to reach sanctity and a complete surrender to God, “above all, in the holy Mass of each day.”

“The Eucharistic celebration is the greatest and highest act of prayer and constitutes the center and the fount from which the other forms of prayer receive their ‘sap’: the Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic adoration, lectio divina, the holy rosary, meditation,” the Holy Father stated.

“The priest who prays a lot and prays well becomes ever more detached from himself and ever more united to Jesus, the Good Shepherd and Servant of his brothers,” he went on. “In conformity with him, the priest too ‘gives his life’ for the sheep who ! have been entrusted to him.”

VATICAN CITY, MAY 3, 2009 (Zenit.org)