Editor’s note: This article is adapted from the book Lord, Teach Us To Pray: A Fulton Sheen Anthology. We too recommend the section “Ten Reasons to Induce a Holy Hour According to Fulton J. Sheen.”
“Let nothing hinder thee from crying always, and be not afraid to be justified even to death for the wages of God continue forever. Before prayer prepare thy soul; and is still not as a mortal that dare God.”
( Sir. 18:22 -23, Douay-Rheims)
Prayer is the lifting of our soul to God unto the end of perfectly corresponding to His holy will. Our Divine Lord, describing His mission, said: “For I have come down from heaven , not to do my own will, but the will of him who direct me . . . the Father, that I should lose good-for-nothing of what he has given me, but that I should collect it up on the last day”( read John 6:38 -39 ). “My food is to do the will of him who mail me, to accomplish his work”( picture John 4:34 ).
To correspond to the divine will, we must, first of all, know it, and furthermore, have the kindnes and forte to correspond with it, once it is known. But to attain these two endows of light-headed for our imaginations and power for our wills, we must live on terms of insinuate rapport with God. This is done through prayer. A prayerful life is, hence, one lived in conformity with the holy will of God as a prayer less life is a life of self-will and selfishness.
There is an element of petition common to Jews, Protestants, and Catholics — namely, impression in God. More than half of the prayers, for example, which a pastor says in his Divine Office, are taken away from the Old Testament. In relation to all three — that is, Jews, Protestants, and Catholics — a Holy Hour will, therefore, be understood as one hour a day spent in meditating on God and our eternal saving. This Holy Hour can be made anywhere.
For Catholics, nonetheless, the Holy Hour has a very special significance. It signifies a continuous and undisturbed hour spent in the presence of Our Divine Lord in the Eucharist; for which reason a reflection on the Blessed Eucharist has been included as one of these musings in this book.
In the case of pastors and religious, it is suggested that they make this Holy Hour in addition to their usual recitation of the Divine Office and Holy Mass.
This Holy Hour are likely to be spent in devotion and meditation. A discrimination is here built between the two, with the emphasis on the latter. By prayer, we now understand the recitation of formal prayers, generally composed by a person different from him who prays.
The hymns being one of the highest forms of vocal prayer and are common to Jews, Protestants, and Catholics. Other vocal prayers include the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Creed, the Confiteor, Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and tens of thousands of other prayers found in religious bibles. There are three kinds of attention in vocal prayer:( 1) to the words, lest we say them wrong;( 2) to their sense and representing; and( 3) to God and the intent for which we pray. The last kind of attention is essential to vocal prayer.
But the principal purpose of these Holy Hour musings is the cultivation of mental prayer, or reflection. Very few minds ever meditate; they are either startled by the word or else were never coached its existence. In the human order, a person in love is always conscious of the one affection, lives in the presence of the other, resolves to do the will of the other, and regards as his greatest jealousy being outdone in the least advantage of self-giving. Apply this to a being in love with God, and “youve had” the rudiments of meditation.
Meditation is, therefore, a kind of communing of feel with spirit, with God as its object. Without attempting to set down the formal aspects of meditation, but to make it as intelligible as possible to beginners, the technique of reflection is as follows 😛 TAGEND
1. We speak to God
We begin by lay ourselves in the presence of God. For those who see the Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, there must be a consciousness of our presence before the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Naturally, there are varying degrees of intimacy with parties. In a theater, there are hundreds present but little or no intimacy between them. The friendship deepens to the degree that we launch discourse with one or more of them, and according as these discussions outpourings from a common interest. So it is with God.
Prayer, then, is not a mere asking for things, but an aiming at a translation; that is, a turn “conformed to the image of his Son”( Rom. 8: 29, KJV ). We cry not to set God to give us something, but to dump ourselves to receive something from Him: the fullness of gues life.
2. God speaks to us
Activity is not only on the human side but also on the deduce. A gossip is an exchange , not a oration. As the feeling wills to draw near God, God wills to draw near the mind. It would be wrong to control a conference with friends; it is more wrong to do so in our relations with God. We was not able to do all the talking; we must also be good listeners. “Speak, Lord, for thy slave heareth”( 1 Princes[ 1 Sam .] 3:9, KJV ).
The soul now knows the truth of the words “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you”( construe James 4:8 ). All during the meditation, it will see devout affections of worship, application, sacrifice, and reparation to God, but particularly at the close of the meditation. These tenderness or colloquies are to be offered preferably in our own statements, for every soul must desire God in its own way, and God beloveds each feeling in a particular manner.
In the beginning, the spirit attracted to Jesus by some motive of charm, comes to Him, filled with natural thoughts and aims, and exceedingly insensitive of the supernatural. It understands neither God nor itself. It has a few intimate relations with the Divinity outside of itself and within itself, but it begins to converse with Jesus. If it persists in the frequentation of His company, the Lord gradually takes an ever-increasing share in the conversation and begins to enlighten the being. In its reflection of the riddles of religion, He facilitates it to imbue beneath the words and facts and symbols, hitherto known but superficially, and to grasp the inner sense of the superhuman truths contained in these facts or oaths or badges. The Scriptures are gradually opened to the soul. The well-known texts begin to acquire a brand-new and deeper intend. Familiar formulations show a acquaintance, which the spirit wonders never to have before discovered in them. All this new light is directed towards presenting a fuller and more perfect comprehension of the whodunits of our religion, which are the mysteries of the life of Jesus.
Edward Leen, Progress through Mental Prayer( New York: Sheed and Ward, 1940 ), 29.
Do not read these reflections as a floor. Read a few fronts slowly; think about the truth contained in them; apply them to their own lives; speak to God about how little you have corresponded to His will, how anxious you are to do it; listen to God speaking to your mind; make acts of faith, hope, and love to God; and only when that train of thought has been spent should you proceed to the next idea. A single Holy Hour will not definitely expect reading a chapter. If one reflects well, a single assembly should provide reckons for numerous Holy Hours.
When these reflections are wearied, take up either the Sacred Scriptures or some certainly spiritual bible, or the life of a saint, and use it for brainchild and for meditation.
You can learn more about this anthology from its writer, Al Smith, in our podcast interview with him. You can stream our interview below or find Catholic Exchange on your favorite podcast app.
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