(Photo from Father Lawrence Lew, O.P. - God’s Excessive Love - Used With Permission)
" "In the first place it should be known that if a person is seeking God, his beloved is seeking him much more." — St. John of the Cross

Monday, April 16, 2012

That More of Our Priests Would Heed This Fine Sheperd's Voice

I have frequently expressed my fondness and admiration for Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen. Not surprisingly, I apppreciated the article Father Kevin Gabriel Gillen, O.P. posted on the website for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph, entitled

Let me share the following excerpt from Father's article. In doing so, I ask everyone reading this entry today to pray that all of our priests will follow the good Archbishop's example and advice - knowing in my heart that if they did so their priesthood, our Church and our world would be so much different than they presently are:

What exerted the greatest influence in the life of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and has become his trademark is the Holy Hour. Sheen entitles one of the chapters in his autobiography, “The Hour That Makes My Day.” On the day of his ordination, Sheen resolved to spend one hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament every day of his life, and this he did faithfully. This nourishment served as the very root of his prayer life and vocation. He made a point to recommend it at all times, especially on retreats and even to Protestants.

First, the Holy Hour is not a devotion; it is a sharing in the work of redemption. Our Lord asked: “Could you not watch one hour with Me?”

I keep up the Holy Hour…to grow more and more into His Likeness…. Looking at the Eucharistic Lord for an hour transforms the heart in a mysterious way as the face of Moses was transformed after his companionship with God on the mountain…. The purpose of the Holy Hour is to encourage deep personal encounter with Christ. The holy and glorious God is constantly inviting us to come to Him, to hold converse with Him, to ask for such things as we need and to experience what a blessing there is in fellowship with Him.

I have found that it takes some time to catch fire in prayer. This has been on of the advantages of the daily Hour. It is not so brief as to prevent the soul from collecting itself and shaking off the multitudinous distractions of the world. Sitting before the Presence is like a body exposing itself before the sun to absorb its rays. Silence in the Hour is a tête-à-tête with the Lord. In those moments, one does not so much pour out written prayers, but listening takes its place. We do not say: “Listen Lord, for Thy servant speaks,” but “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.”

It is impossible for me to explain how helpful the Holy Hour has been in preserving my vocation…. Being tethered to a tabernacle, one’s rope for finding other pastures is not so long. That dim tabernacle lamp, however pale and faint, had some mysterious luminosity to darken the brightness of “bright lights.” The Holy Hour became like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the foul and fetid atmosphere of the World. Even when it seemed so unprofitable and lacking in spiritual intimacy, I still had the sensation of being at least like a dog at the master’s door, ready in case he called me.

(Photo credit: Fulton Sheen.com)

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