General: That administrators of justice may act always with integrity and right conscience.
Judges play an essential role in civilized societies. Judges interpret the law in difficult cases, punish offenders, and give relief to those harmed unjustly. The world needs judges of integrity and well-formed conscience who cannot be swayed by money or power.
Pope Benedict taught that a judge should sentence a criminal with the main purpose of re-educating and reforming him. He said, “It is not enough that those found guilty of crimes be simply punished: it is necessary that in punishing them, everything possible be done to correct and improve them. When this does not happen, justice is not done in an integral sense.”
The former Pope commented that rehabilitation is in society’s interest as well as the prisoner’s. “The prisoner’s personal need to undergo in prison a process of rehabilitation and maturation is actually a need of society itself, both because it stands to regain someone who can make a useful contribution to the common good, and also because such a process makes the prisoner less likely to re-offend and thus endanger society.”
Both rehabilitation and reparation are necessary in the administration of justice. We pray with the Pope that judges and prison officials may always look upon the people in front of them with “respect for human dignity and human rights,” seeing them as made in God’s image and redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus.
Deuteronomy 16:18-20 Justice and justice alone shall be your aim.
Missionary: That seminaries, especially those of mission churches, may form pastors after the Heart of Christ, fully dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel.
Whenever he spoke to seminarians, Pope Benedict emphasized prayer. He wrote: “It is so important, dear friends, that you learn to live in constant intimacy with God. When the Lord tells us to ‘pray constantly,’ he is obviously not asking us to recite endless prayers, but urging us never to lose our inner closeness to God. Praying means growing in this intimacy.”
Pope Benedict went on to recommend the very prayer life promoted by the Apostleship of Prayer. “So it is important that our day should begin and end with prayer; that we listen to God as the Scriptures are read; that we share with him our desires and our hopes, our joys and our troubles, our failures and our thanks for all his blessings, and thus keep him ever before us as the point of reference for our lives.”
Through intimacy with Jesus throughout the day, our hearts are made like the Heart of Jesus. At World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Pope Benedict said: “To be modeled on Christ, dear seminarians, is to be identified ever more closely with him who, for our sake, became servant, priest, and victim. …Learn from him who described himself as meek and humble of heart, leaving behind all earthly desire for his sake so that, rather than pursuing your own good, you build up your brothers and sisters by the way you live.”
Let us pray as Pope Benedict urged the seminarians in Madrid: “Moved by his example, look above all to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests. She will know how to mold your hearts according to the model of Christ, her divine Son, and she will teach you how to treasure forever all that he gained on Calvary for the salvation of the world. Amen.”
Jeremiah 3:15 I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart.