The following is the text of the beautiful prayer of blessing, from the Roman Pontifical, that Bishop Joseph prayed over Abbot Mark at yesterday’s majestic celebration:
Almighty God and Father,
you sent your only Son into the world to be the servant of all,
the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.
Listen to our prayer:
Bless and strengthen Mark, your servant,
chosen to be Abbot of this monastery.
May his manner of life show clearly that he is what he is called, a father,
so that his teaching will, as a leaven of goodness,
grow in the hearts of his spiritual family.
Let him realize, Lord, how demanding is the task to which he now sets his hand,
how heavy the responsibility of guiding the souls of others,
and of ministering to the many and various needs of a community.
Let him seek to help his brothers rather than to preside over them.
Give him a heart full of compassion, wisdom, and zeal,
so that he may not lose even one of the flock entrusted to his charge.
May he dispose all things with understanding,
so that the members of the monastic family will steadily make progress
in the love of Christ and of each other,
and run with eager hearts in the way of your commandments.
Give him the gifts of your Spirit.
Set him on fire with love for your glory and for the service of your Church,
and may he in turn inflame with zeal the hearts of his brothers.
In his life and in his teaching may he set Christ above all things,
and when the day of judgment dawns, receive him,
in the company of his brothers, into your kingdom.
Through Christ our Lord.