Monday, September 11, 2006

Quote from Benedict XV

Writing to the Director of the esteemed Dominican Review, La Vie Spirituelle, on the 21st of September, 1921, Pope Benedict XV said: "In our day, many neglect the supernatural life and cultivate in its place a vague and inconsistent sentimentalism. It is absolutely necessary, then, to repeat more often what Holy Scripture and the Fathers of the Church have taught us on this subject, taking as our guide St. Thomas Aquinas, who has so clearly exposed their doctrine on the elevation of the supernatural life. The attention of souls must be drawn to the conditions required for the progress of the Grace of the Virtues and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, of which the full development is found in the Mystical Life."

I came across this in my reading of "Mental Prayer According to the Principles of Saint Thomas Aquinas" by Fr. Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp., D.D., D.Ph. It's only 77 pages long, but it is a very technical treatment of mental prayer and has taken me quite awhile to get through.

But looking at Pope Benedict XV's words, some things never change, and are probably even worse nowadays with the hectic society we live in. Living in the (mis)information age can be very distracting. I often marvel at how much more basic information we must know in today's society than compared to just a decade or two ago. Think of how much more you need to know just to operate a computer, manage insurance, etc. As we fill our days with more and more "necessities" we are also more and more pushing God away from our daily life.

I can't remember exatly where I read it, but according to either Saint Thomas Aquinas or Saint Theresa of Avila (I want to say both have said it): The soul needs at least an hour of mental prayer (as opposed to activity, public, or even simple vocal prayer) a day or its spiritual life is dead.

Father Fahey agrees with this:
"But this habit of acting in union with God cannot be acquired and maintained without love of recollection and prayer. At this epoch of fervish activity, it is indispensable to set aside a certain time for Mental Prayer, and we ought to give as much time to it as the duties of our state in life allow. 'An instant of pure love,' St. John of the Cross teaches, 'is more precious in the eyes of God and the soul and more profitable to the Church than all other good works together, though it may seem as if nothing were done. ... In a word, it is for this love that we are all created.'"

Father Fahey also mentions:
"This becomes more evident when we consider that it is ot merely a question of believing the mysteries of our faith, but of adjusting one's life to them and of habitually judging everything by their light."

So, just thought I would throw out something to think about. Certainly something I need to take more seriously.


Anonymous said...

Well said! Keep up the good work!

Me a name I call myself Lalalala said...

where did you find your book "Mental Prayer According to the Principles of St. Thomas Aquinas"? J

Roman Sacristan said...

Sacred Heart Bookstore.