Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fulton Sheen on Prayer

After I read this in Archbishop Fulton Sheen's Introduction to Wartime Prayerbook via Amazon's "Look Inside", I bought the book. It is actually shirt pocket sized for a soldier, sailor, airman or marine and not a regular sized book. My 5 year old wanted it for his Bible since it was his size.
Prayer consists not in the saying of words but in the lifting of our heart and mind to God. Our divine Lord Himself warned us: "In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard for their many words" (Matt. 6:7). In the same spirit, St. Augustine said: "We may pray most when we say least, and we may pray least when we say most."
When love of God reaches a peak, it almost becomes too deep for words. For that reason this prayer book is made up of reflections which it is hoped will provoke us into meditation and communion with God, so that we will not only speak to Him, but also listen to Him when He speaks to us. So these reflections are not only to be read, but are to be thought about. Each thought should serve for a considerable period of time.
Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8). The joy of a Christian comes not from intermittent devotions and vocal prayers, but by living the Christ life intimately and to such an extent that even in our failings and weakness we may still betray our familiarity with Christ, as did Peter in the moment of his weakness: "You also were with Jesus the Galilean ... Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you" (Matt. 26:69, 73).
While I was away on vacation in Michigan we had pleasure of assisting at Holy Mass at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Cedar, Michigan. It was in "the Extraordinary Form of the Mass - Latin". There were even more altar boys--maybe 2 or 3 more than shown in this picture:
Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Cedar, Michigan. Photo by David Evich.
Extraordinary Form of the Mass - Latin Offered at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Cedar, MI
Fr. Libby, shown above, gave a comprehensive and very beautiful homily.  Plus, my whole family that was on vacation with me attended including 3 members that do not attend weekly mass anymore.  The homily was comprehensive in that it started with the readings, covered several of the salient point differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, and also touched on some of the cultural controversies of today between the teachings of the Church and the teachings of the culture, specifically the legalization of gay "marriage" in New York State.  I asked him to email or mail it to me by writing that on my donation envelope, but so far I don't have anything.  It would have been more effective to actually talk to him after church, but I was still coughing so much, I didn't want to get him sick.  He is the parish's only priest!  I also could have called or wrote him.  Maybe I still will.  He put his thoughts together so clearly, but since I don't have perfect auditory memory, I would need to paraphrase quite a bit, and would probably damage the way he presented his teaching.

Back at my home parish today, we also had an outstanding homily.  Very much on the topic that I have been spiritually struggling with:  Listening and hearing God.  After liturgy was over the priest that gave the homily stopped downstairs to give me a book to read, The Gift of Faith by Father Tadeusz Dajczer.  Has anyone else read this?  I think it is key book in the Families of Nazareth Movement and is published by the "In the Arms of Mary Foundation".  I am very touched that he thought to give me the book to read.  Some of the chapter titles are very compelling:
  • To Perceive the Loving Presence
  • Hungry for God
  • Agape
  • To Allow Christ to Love in Us
  • You Cannot Love People if You Do Not Love God
Father said that we can talk about the book once I start reading it.  I am looking forward to it, even if all I've done since getting home from church was watch the Women's World Cup final. I will be reading a few chapters before bed tonight!


  1. Thank you for your interest in the Wartime Prayer book by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. The Fulton Sheen Foundation has sent over 200,000 of these books overseas to our soldiers. If you know soldiers that would benefit from the book please contact us. Here is a link to more information:

  2. Colleen,
    I have this little book, too! I love Archbishop Fulton Sheen and have read a number of his books including the Wartime Prayer book. I haven't read the other book that you mention here, The Gift of Faith, but please let me know what you think of it as I am always looking for new books.

    I also wanted to thank you for your prayers for my friends - they are much appreciated. God bless!

  3. Mary, that is something how you have that little book too. The Gift of Faith by Father Tadeusz Dajczer is very powerful. I am only in chapter 3 but it is bringing some deep insights from parables I never got before (and I am old), and at times it feels like my soul is in a blender. I'll probably be posting on it. I am tending to reread most of the chapters. I will continue to pray for your friends.