This letter is a good read for everyone. I particularly liked Pope Benedict's 3rd paragraph, highlighting the words of St. John Vianney when talking about priests, "If he realized what he is, he would die...God obeys him: he utters a few words and the Lord decends from heaven at his voice to be contained within a small host...after God, the priest is everything!...The priest holds the key to the treasures of Heaven.
Also in his letter, the pope reminds us of the message of Lourdes: prayer and penance. On this feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I think of Fatima, where God wanted to establish devotion to Mary's Immaculate Heart. Our Blessed Mother asks for prayer, namely, praying for the conversion of sinners, "Pray very much. Make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell, because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice." We are asked to make sacrifices for sinners and say often, "O Jesus, this is for the love of You, the conversion of sinners and in reparation for offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary."
We can simply say, "God, this isn't going the way I want, I offer it to you for ___. If we can be disciplined to do this instead of complaining or getting angry with the selfish poor me's, we will learn to love until it hurts - until there is no more hurt but more love (Mother Teresa). But like anything, it takes practice to grow, conscious discipline to perfect, and God's graces to apply. Each step is made easier by the sacraments given to us by Christ through our priests: most especially the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation.
Our Heavenly Mother's Heart is committed to compassion. If she sees a need (look at the Wedding Feast at Cana), and it is in line with the will of our Father, She will bring it more beautifully to her Son who will obey! With this in mind, let us pray to our Blessed Mother for our priests that they may have the courage and the strength to carry out Christ's mission of love and mercy!