August 30, 2010

A Challenge From Blessed Mother Teresa

The other day on CNA there was an article in which Cardinal Comastri, the archpriest of St. Peter's basilica, recounted how Blessed Mother Teresa saved his priesthood. Fr. Z picked it up, and that's where I saw it. I was challenged by what I read:

"How many hours do you pray a day?" she asked.

In 1969-70, he recalled, the Church was in a time of "dispute," so thinking that it was "near heroism, then-Father Comastri explained to her that he said daily Mass in addition to praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary.”

To this, she responded flatly, "That's not enough.”

"Love cannot be lived minimally," she said, and then asked him to promise to do half an hour of adoration every day.

"I promised," said Cardinal Comastri, "and today I can say that this saved my priesthood."

Daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, and the rosary. That seems like it would be enough, no? That's at least a couple of hours out of a busy day. I'll confess that there are plenty of days when I don't pray much more than that, if even. But as a religious priest, I have to recognize Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, and rosary as a minimum of daily prayer. As a priest I have promised to pray the whole of the Office each day. As a religious, Canon Law enjoins up me that I make "every effort" to assist at Mass daily, and as a priest I am "earnestly invited" to offer Mass each day. Both Canon Law and the Constitutions of the Order recommend devotion to Our Lady as indispensable to the spirituality of a religious, so there you have the rosary.

Daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, and rosary: this is the minimum of prayer that makes me an 'unprofitable servant,' the servant who had done no more than what he was asked to do, or as he promised to do. If I really love my Master, if I want to be more than an indifferent servant in the household of God, I must love beyond this minimum.

Thank you, Mother, for the challenge.

4 comments:

Ad Abolendam said...

I'm not a priest, but this cut me to the core as well. I don't even approach the bare minimum.

ben in denver said...

Saturday morning I was at my men's group. We are reading "The Third Spiritual Alphabet" by Francisco de Osuna. We are on our third month of this book (we are going to work with it for about a year), so we are now getting to the meat of it. Since we spent the better part of a couple of hours discussing what Francisco de Osuna calls "recollection" one of our members said that we should all make a commitment to try some meditative prayer for at least five minutes per day. It was surprising just how difficult it was for me to agree with this suggestion.

4narnia said...

thanks for sharing such a great post, Fr. C, and, again, it is a very timely one for me in my spiritual life just like the post you did a couple of weeks ago while i was in Adoration for most of that day.
Adoration is one of the BEST ways to pray and, really, it isn't necessary to use any words while Adoring the Lord - He knows what our needs and what is in our hearts.
even my Confessor said to me today that it is good to pray without using too many words and to spend time listening and just be in the Lord's presence.
i spent stime this past saturday visiting my 5-year-old nephew, Eric, who "out of the blue" shared his version on the meaning of the word "adore." Eric was telling me that he had heard the word adore in a story he heard and that he knew the meaning of the word "adore" and simply told me that "when we adore, it means we really, really like something.
it was almost as if the Holy Spirit was speaking through this precious little 5-year-old because i feel that there's a message in those simple words from my nephew and that i that if we really love the Lord with our whole heart, mind and soul, we should want to ADORE the Lord ALL THE TIME! PAX!
~tara t~

Anonymous said...

An interesting comparison with the bare minimum for prayer is from a sermon I heard during one of the daily masses,the priest warned about clicking off too many meaningless rosaries; He strongly stressed quality over quantity. Perhaps the quantity Mother Theresa was hinting at is that every activity of the day should start and end with a prayer. This would be in line with your post on becoming a prayer.