THE PRAYERFUL MYSTIC; OR THE NON-STOP WORKER
Few could pin Fr. Al down. At the tortuous moments just prior to his death from Lou Gehrig’s Disease, he belted out whispered commands to those at his bedside: Please remind the Sisters that they must pray three hours every day.
In the same breath he was reminding the Sisters that their vocation was to be Martha-like; they were servers, not like Mary at the foot of Jesus.
So who were they supposed to be?
Here was the trick to his and their sanctity: Fr. Al knew that without steadfast prayer his and the Sisters work for the poor would be hollowed out and insincere. The fruit of everything he and Sisters of Mary accomplished, had to come from devoted and steadfast prayer. The fruit of anything lasting, Fr. Al continually said, simply had to come from meeting God in prayer.
Fr. Al’s favorite prayers were the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Daily Office and the Rosary. He would live a day of his priesthood without committing to the rituals. They were the vehicles that sanctified his work, soul, and entire priesthood.
Prayer, he told everyone, was the lifeblood of his work.
“First and foremost, to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, to be like Christ, and to imitate Him, we must learn how to pray,” he once told the Sisters of Mary in a homily. “If you wish to be like a bird, the first thing you must do is to learn how to fly. If you wish to resemble a fish, the first thing you must do is learn how to swim. If you wish to be like Jesus, the first thing you must do is learn how to pray.”
Below is an excerpt of a homily given by Fr. Al for you to take to your prayer time
“The Eucharist is the bread of life. It gives you this divine energy, this divine vitality, and it stirs up within you this will to work and to do something for Jesus in this short period of time we have here on earth. Don’t waste this time.
The Eucharist, in a sense, is a holy stimulant. Coffee is a stimulant. In the evening, if you drink coffee maybe at nine or ten o’clock at night, try it if you don’t believe me, drink five or six cups of strong coffee, and you’ll find you’re awake. You might have been very tired but suddenly you’re wide awake, and you’re running around singing and jumping and dancing and you can’t sleep. Maybe for two or three days you can’t sleep. This caffeine is a stimulant!
Well, the Eucharist is a stimulant. It doesn’t put us to sleep. It doesn’t make us lazy. It seizes our heart and it moves us forward, and we feel this divine compulsion and energy to do something for Jesus. Also, the Eucharist is a holy nutrient. It not only stimulates us; it gives us the strength to do something, the courage. You need not only the will but you need the strength and the energy; and, this comes from the Eucharist.
So, let us think of these things, and think of this mystery of the Eucharist. Love to spend time before Jesus in the Eucharist, Jesus-Bread, and enjoy this fragrance of Christ, and rest in this power which comes from ‘the Eucharist.
If we truly receive Jesus and adore Jesus in the Eucharist with faith and love, our faith and love of the Eucharist will increase daily, and we will feel arising from our hearts this will to suffer which in our case, will be expressed by our will to work for Jesus, a will to do something to please Jesus and the will and the desire and the driving ambition specially to save souls for Jesus.”