I have openly admitted that the book Be A Man by Father Larry Richards changed my life. I am certain I am not the only one. A few weeks ago I was able to attend the Corpus Christi Men’s retreat at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmittsburg, MD. What a memorable weekend it turned out to be.
I spent the entire faith filled weekend with my father in-law, my brother in-law and also one of my closest friends who happens to be a Deacon. “The Deacon” as I call him plays a crucial role in my story as last summer he loaned me his copy of Be A Man. If it were not for him and that book The Catholic Book Blogger may never have been. Father Larry’s talks during the retreat, as are his books, were inspiring. If you have never seen Father Larry in person I highly recommend it.
The highlight of the weekend was definitely the sit-down interview I had with Father Larry after dinner on Saturday evening. Most of my interviews are via email. Authors seem to prefer the ease of a written question and answer format. Not so with Father Larry. I exchanged roughly 20 emails with his secretary at his Reason for Our Hope Foundation until finally I was told to just walk up, introduce myself and ask for an interview. This would not be a problem, except….this was my first face to face interview…and it was with Father Larry…..yikes! After my initial nervousness the interview was spectacular. I will be posting it in its entirety on my site in September.
Beyond the interview, Father Larry made an interesting request, not once, but twice, he asked after one of his talks and at the ending of our closing Mass for us to pray for him. He made the point that every popular speaker could easily fall into scandal. He used some specific examples. He said, “If that is all they do is go out [on speaking engagements only] it is very easy [to fall into] scandal because people say nice things about you, they treat you like you are really good, and so you start to believe that and it builds up your ego.” To help fortify him, Father Larry has adjusted his schedule so that he is always back at his home parish in Erie, PA for weekend Masses. He still recognizes the potential and has asked for our prayers. I extend that request to all readers and writers here at Catholic Exchange.
Spiritual warfare is rampant in the world today whether you recognize it or not. Evangelizers like Father Larry are a direct target. Speakers and authors like Father Larry change lives for the better and draw people to Christ. This runs contrary to Satan’s goal which is to draw people away from Christ and his saving message. Thus Satan will stop at nothing to lead these people into scandal and misfortune, which eventually leads to their silence.
This request for prayer not only applies to popular Catholic speakers. If you have the good fortune to have a spiritual director as I do, they need your prayers as well. Your parish priest needs prayers also to help him serve his parish.
During his May 15, 2013 morning homily, Pope Francis touched upon this subject himself. He urged the faithful to read Acts 20:28-30. In those passages Paul says “Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. I know that, after my departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. And of your own selves shall arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
Pope Francis stated, “Read this fine passage, and while reading it, pray, pray for us bishops and priests. We have such need in order to stay faithful, to be men who watch over the flock and also over ourselves, who make the vigil their own, that their heart be always turned to [the Lord’s] flock. [Pray] also that the Lord might defend us from temptation, because if we go on the road to riches, if we go on the road to vanity, we become wolves and not shepherds. Pray for this, read this and pray. So be it.”
Father Larry requests them, Pope Francis asks for them, your parish priest needs them. Pray for our priests that they may be fortified and strengthened in their daily service to us whom they are called to serve.