Friday, August 16, 2019

“During this past year I have been reading a book which has moved me a great deal. It is the journal of an unnamed priest who is devoted to contemplative prayer and who recounts the words he feels Jesus has spoken to him in his heart. I have found the book consoling and interesting in light of our present situation in the Church. The book is entitled “In Sinu Jesu” — “in the heart of Jesus.” —Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, in a recent conversation, speaking about the book “In Sinu Jesu,” which he has been reading

“Deep consolation and renewed gratitude for Him as he draws His friends to Himself — these are the fruits of following the meditations of this book. It will fill hearts with encouragement and joy.” —Father Hugh Barbour, P. Praem., Prior, St. Michael’s Abbey of the Norbertine Fathers, in a note on the cover of the book “In Sinu Jesu”

“My Heart hath expected reproach and misery: and I looked for one that would grieve together with Me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort Me, and I found none.” —Psalm 68:21, cited at the very beginning of the book “In Sinu Jesu.” It is the Offertory prayer of the Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Hidden Mystic

“Do you know who the author is?” I asked Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano a few days ago, after he told me he had been reading a book he appreciates very much.

Pilgrimage with Dr. Robert Moynihan in 2019 and receive a $250 discount for you and another $250 discount for your traveling companion. Meet and discuss the Church today with Dr. Moynihan on our 25th Anniversary pilgrimage (October 4 – 12, 2019) Women Saints (October 14 – 22, 2019), and Christmas 2019 Pilgrimage (December 18 – 27, 2019)[email protected]. Click here to read about our 2019 pilgrimages.

The book has only “by a Benedictine monk” on the title page, without the name of an author.

We had been meeting together for a number of days of discussions about ecclesial and spiritual matters. The content of our talks will become the matter of a book to appear in a few weeks time.

“No,” Archbishop Vigano replied. “The book is anonymous, and I have no indication of who the author is.

“But I read the book throughout the winter and spring, and it was a great consolation to me. If you can find out who the author is, let me know, so I may thank him.

“But the identity of the author is less important than what he tells us about his experience of prayer. And that is that the Lord is close to all who seek him, and will never abandon us.”

In Sinu Jesu (“In the Heart of Jesus”)

The archbishop was speaking about a little volume of reflections entitled In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart, The Journal of a Priest at Prayer, which contains the words of Jesus that the author heard while in adoration from 2007 to 2016.

The book has become in the past three years a sort of phenomenon in Catholic circles.

What is the content of this book?

“This book is a remarkable testament of friendship that transcends all earthly measures,” writes an otherwise unnamed “Benedictine Oblate” in the book’s Introduction. “In its pages, we see the Hound of Heaven pursuing a priest with the exquisite gentleness of one who would win his heart’s love, the inexorable purpose of one who would show him mercy, and the compassion of one who would bring healing and peace.”

He continues:

“It also resoundingly demonstrates the truth that when God chooses one out of many — when he chooses an Abraham or Moses, the blessed Virgin Mary, or the founders of monastic movements and religious congregations — He always does so in order to bless a multitude, fashion a people, form a nation. He does something extraordinary for one, so that His word may radiate outward to countless souls and His grace be sought with renewed eagerness. He chooses the one not as an isolated exception or arbitrary preference, but as the humble centre around which a great circle will be drawn, a blazing hearth around which many can gather, be warmed, and find fellowship.”

He continues:

“In 2007, Our Lord and Our Lady began to speak to the heart of a priest who was greatly in need of their intervention — something that could truly be said of all of us in our spiritual poverty. The priest was prompted to write down what he heard, first and most obviously for his own benefit, but increasingly, for the benefit of others who would be touched by these words and find light and strength in them.”

The oblate then provides this description of the origin of this book, which was written by the book’s author:

“The substance of what I wrote came during prayer, without any effort or prior reflection on my part. There would be an inner movement to write, and I would write until the inspiration stopped… Although I have at times suffered from doubts over the authenticity of what was happening, my spiritual director throughout most of the period covered herein identified what was happening as a “gratia grata data” (“a grace freely given”). I can only say that the words came peacefully, rapidly and effortlessly. By this, I do not mean that the words came from within myself, but rather, from what I experienced as an objective but intimate presence of Our Lord, immediately related to His real presence in the Most Holy Sacrament. It was precisely in His Eucharistic presence that these conversations with Our Lord unfolded, drawing me more and more into the light of His Face and the fire of His Heart.”

The book’s author continues:

“My own piety is essentially liturgical. Nonetheless, since the diagnosis of my serious illness, there has been a strong attractions to adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, to reparation for priests, and, in particular, to the mystery of Our Lord’s Face hidden beneath the sacramental veils. This is something already present in the tradition, notably in the Adoro te of Saint Thomas.”

He concludes:

“In spite of my reticence and desire for anonymity in regard to this journal, I have been repeatedly told by Our Lord Himself that His words are meant for the blessing, instruction, and comfort of many Christians today, above all, His beloved priests.

“With a grateful and expectant heart, I gladly give this journal into the hands of all those readers whom Our Lord and Our Lady have already chosen for it, with my prayer that it shall bear abundant fruit, and with my priestly blessing.”

The Archbishop and the Mystic

“Apparently, this book has been written by a priest who desired to find a way to participate in the healing of souls, and of our world, by recourse to Eucharistic Adoration,” Archbishop Vigano says. “To me it seems providential that, precisely at a time when the holiness of priests is under such attack, a book like this should appear. I take it as a sign for our times.”

At the very outset of the book, on the first day of the journal, the unknown author writes: “Our Lord, in instituting the Eucharist, foresaw outrages and sufferings — the sufferings, I mean, of a love that is wounded and spurned. He is seeking, today more than ever, priests who will console Him, priests who will adore and make reparation.”

And the author adds: “I opened the book by Dom Vandeur [Dom Eugene Vandeur, 1875-1967, a Benedictine monk of the community of Maredsous in Belgium] and I read: ‘Make me entirely Thy priest, as was Saint John, Thy beloved disciple, standing at the foot of Thy Cross, the Tree of Life.’ The phrase describes perfectly the call that I received 30 years ago, a call to which I did not know how to respond, or to which I found myself unable to respond fully. There were too many obstacles in me, too many infected wounds, still waiting for the healing that had to come through the hands of Mary and by the precious Blood of Jesus. I want priests who will adore for priests who do not adore, priests who will make reparation for priests who do not make reparation for themselves or for others. I want priest adorers and reparators.”

“Here is a passage which particularly moved me,” Vigano says.

And he reads: “The spiritual redemption of priests in bondage to evil, the spiritual illumination of priests who live in darkness, the spiritual healing of wounded priests — and all of this by means of adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament… I feel, perhaps for the first time in my life, that I am fully in the truth. My whole life has prepared me for this mission, for this call to adoration and to reparation — by a priest or priests. All the evil that I experienced, and suffered, and inflicted on others, will be thus redeemed, not by me, but by Him who is always working in the Eucharist to redeem back from sinners and those who have been wounded by sin.”

The archbishop looks at me. “These words speak powerfully to me. But there is much more in this book…”

(to be continued)

Pilgrimage with Dr. Robert Moynihan in 2019 and receive a $250 discount for you and another $250 discount for your traveling companion. Meet and discuss the Church today with Dr. Moynihan on our 25th Anniversary pilgrimage (October 4 – 12, 2019) Women Saints (October 14 – 22, 2019), and Christmas 2019 Pilgrimage (December 18 – 27, 2019)[email protected]. Click here to read about our 2019 pilgrimages.