by Fr. Dimitri Gagastathis
“Jesus the Good Shepherd, I thank Thee because Thou hast given to me, the small and weak one, the same command that Thou gavest to Thine Apostle, when Thou didst tell him, ‘Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.’ (John 21:17). Never would I dare, O Lord, to accept such a heavy mission if I did not believe that Thy grace ‘healeth that which is infirm and completeth that which is wanting.’ Therefore, in this moment in which I feel my shortcomings so intensely, I, Thy priest, Thy sacrificer, the small shepherd of Thy flock, implore Thee: Uphold me, O Lord; keep my heart pure, whole, free from money and attached to Thy commandments.
Take away from Thy servant selfishness, ostentation and worldliness. Keep him from anger, rancor, envy and jealousy. Make me a man of prayer so that not only with my lips, but also with my heart, I may praise and glorify Thy Holy Name. Help me not forget the holy feelings of my first Divine Liturgy, and by them to chase away the germ of habit which every so often comes into me. Help Thy priest, O Lord, be always an angel of comfort for the afflicted, a source of spiritual invigoration for the disheartened, a guide towards Thy peace, and a source of joy for the wounded. Help me, my Saviour, combine in my life and work tenderness with firmness, tact with strength, sensitivity with strictness. Reduce my faults so that no one may fall because of my weakness. Teach me, O Lord, how to instruct the children, inspire the youth, advise the adults, turn back the sinners, encourage those who are about to die. Teach me, O Lord who knowest the hearts of men, how to perform the Mysteries of Thy Church, and especially the Mystery of Holy Confession. During that time, make me a perfect physician of souls and an affectionate father. Help me be in my parish an inspiration of good works and a leader in God-pleasing endeavors, so that all may be won over for their own happiness and for the glory of Thy Name. Amen.”
Prayer of a Priest by Blessed Papa-Dimitri Gagastathis (1902-1975)