NO MATTER HOW BEAUTIFUL THE WORDS OF A PREACHER SOUND, THEY ARE EMPTY IF NOT ACCOMPANIED BY INTENSE DAILY PRAYER

In the preaching of parish missions, Eugene had always insisted on the paramount importance of the witness of the lifestyle of the missionaries as the primary means of conversion of the people. A program of regular prayer is the only way to achieve an integrity of life which is then reflected in words and deeds.

No matter how beautiful the words of a preacher sound, they are empty if not accompanied by intense daily prayer.

If a man who makes a daily meditation, examines closely his conscience twice and spends half an hour in mental prayer before the Blessed Sacrament each day, does not correct his failings and makes no progress towards the perfection of his state, I would believe him much to be pitied and quite close to perdition, whatever preaching he may do in order to convert others…

Letter to Father Jean Baptiste Honorat, 1 March 1844, EO I n 32

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1 Response to NO MATTER HOW BEAUTIFUL THE WORDS OF A PREACHER SOUND, THEY ARE EMPTY IF NOT ACCOMPANIED BY INTENSE DAILY PRAYER

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I take heart that Eugene knew from the inside out what he was talking about. Eugene was a man who was enthusiastic – his life was filled with passion, and he never seemed satisfied to offer halfway measures to God or anyone else. The amount of sentiment, emotions that he felt were not an indication of his love for God and hope of reaching perfection (holiness); he was faithful as much as possible to the rhythm of his daily prayer, and then moving to correct his failings.

    I am reminded of the Jesus in Matthew 5 that if we are offering our gift at the altar (perhaps in prayer) and we remember that we have and continue to hurt, ignore, or treat others as being less than ourselves that we must first make things right with those others before offering our praise and words to God.

    Both Jesus and Eugene were talking about human weakness and how we must move past the finery of thoughts and words that we can be inclined to use to cover ourselves. There are in Eugene’s words the makings of a life-long practice on our journey to holiness.

    I think of how empty I can feel when for no reason other than busyness or laziness that I skip and miss my daily prayer. It is like I am missing the deepest part of myself. It is in my treatment and regard for others that my true self becomes visible and speak of my relationship with God.

    I must do more than simply carry around my cross and quote the words of our Rule of Life; I must find a way to live them fully.

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