Imagine a combination of St. Gertrude the Great, St. Therese of Lisieux, and Bd. Columba Marmion. Imagine a book that was born in the silence of the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, in the luminous shadow of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Imagine a book that draws one ever more deeply into the glorious mysteries of this greatest of all miracles — the Most Holy Eucharist, Bread of Angels, food of wayfarers, sweet incense of oblation, price of the world's redemption.
Such a book — In Sinu Jesu. When Heart Speaks to Heart: The Journal of a Priest at Prayer — has just been published by Angelico Press. As an avid reader, I can say with complete honesty that, of works appearing in print during my lifetime, I have seen nothing like it. I shall offer some excerpts:
I want you to learn to remain before My Eucharistic Face, silent, adoring, listening to Me, and loving Me for those who do not adore Me, those who do not listen to Me, those who never express their love for Me in this way. If only My priests would spend time before My Eucharistic Face, I should heal them, purify them, sanctify them, and change them into apostles set all ablaze with the living flame that consumes My Heart in the Blessed Sacrament. But they stay away. They prefer so many other things, vain pursuits and things that leave them empty, bitter, and weary. They forget My words, “Come to Me . . . and I will refresh you.” My priests will be renewed in holiness and in purity when they begin to seek Me out in the Sacrament of My love.
Why do I speak to you so often of My open Heart? It is because for you, My priest, it is the secret of union with Me. The wound in My side is the Holy Place of My Body, the Temple. The Holy of Holies is My Sacred Heart, and that Holy of Holies you have before you in the Sacrament of My love. Like the psalmist, yearn to abide in that secret innermost part of My Temple. Hide yourself in Me, that I may manifest My Face through you.
I offered myself to the Father from the altar of My Mother’s Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. She accepted, consenting to bear the full weight of My sacrifice, to be the very place from which My holocaust of love blazed up. She, in turn, offered herself with Me to the Father from the altar of My Sacred Heart. There she immolated herself, becoming one victim with Me for the redemption of the world. Her offering was set ablaze in My holocaust by the descent of the Holy Spirit. Thus, from our two hearts become two altars, there rose the sweet fragrance of one single offering: My oblation upon the altar of her heart, and her oblation upon the altar of Mine. This, in effect, is what is meant when, using another language, you speak of My Mother as Co-Redemptrix. Our two hearts formed but a single holocaust of love in the Holy Spirit.
Your fatigue and your distractions in adoration are no impediment to My action in the depths of your soul. I have assured you of this before. Come before Me and remain before Me even when you feel that your adoration is no more than a struggle and a failure to remain attentive in love and focused on My Eucharistic Face. Here, your feelings are of no importance. What matters in My sight is your humility and your willingness to endure distractions, fatigue, and even sleepiness while adoring Me from the heart of your heart. Know that even when you feel that your adoration has been a waste of time, in My plan it is something fruitful and it is very pleasing to Me. I do not see things as you see them nor do I measure their value as you measure it.
There is a very real sense in which the prayer of adoration is a loss of one’s life. It is a kind of falling into the ground to die. Remember this when you come to adore Me. Look at the Sacred Host and see Me who am the grain of wheat fallen into the ground and risen to life, and become the food of a vast multitude of souls, and this until the end of time. The grain of wheat that I was has become the Host that I am. When you adore Me, forgetting yourself and forsaking all things for Me, you imitate Me, for adoration is a kind of death. It is a passing out of everything that solicits the senses and a cleaving to Me alone in the bright darkness of faith. So it will be in the hour of your death. The more deeply you sink into adoration, the more deeply are you planted in the earth, there to die, and there to sprout, and finally to bring forth much fruit.
Until priests return to My tabernacles in adoration, weeping for their own sins and for the sins of the people, loving Me and offering Me their broken hearts, the entire Church will continue to languish.
When you pray, there is no need to worry about what you will say or for what things you ought to ask. It is enough to come humbly into My presence and to pray as My Holy Spirit gives you to pray. Such prayer will always be fruitful. . . . Thus does My Bride, the Church, pray in her sacred liturgy. You do well to love the liturgy of My Church. It is the work of the Holy Spirit who, making use of human instruments, created a prayer pleasing to My Father and worthy of My eternal priesthood. Enter humbly and wholeheartedly into the liturgy of My Church, and teach others to do the same.
I am ascended to My Father, but I remain present to My Church. The same desire that caused Me to return to the Father with an inexpressible joy causes Me to remain present to My Church with an inexpressible love. … My presence to the Father is not an absence from My Church. I am present in the adorable mysteries of My Body and Blood, just as I am present, Body and Blood, in the glory of the Father, in the hidden sanctuary of heaven, where I serve as High Priest and offer Myself ceaselessly as a spotless Victim of propitiation. What I do in heaven, I do ceaselessly on earth. Every tabernacle where I am present in the Sacrament of My Body and Blood is an image of the heavenly tabernacle into which I have ascended, and in which I offer Myself to the Father in a sacrifice that is unending. My life in so many earthly tabernacles is the very life that is Mine in the glorious tabernacle of heaven, in the Holy of Holies where I carry out My priestly service of the Father by offering Myself to Him as a glorious Victim, as the pure Victim, the holy Victim, the spotless Victim by whom earth is reconciled to heaven, and heaven to earth; by whom the Father’s perfect plan is brought to completion; and by whom the kingdom of God is established forever.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough for spiritual reading. Having lived with the manuscript for some time as an evaluator, it has become the one book I always bring with me to the chapel for adoration. Judging from the reactions of priests who have had the chance to read parts of the manuscript over the past several years or who were asked to read it for Angelico Press (see below), it is a book that can work wonders, making the desert bloom. Readers: please consider giving this book as an Advent or Christmas gift to local clergy and to your priest-friends!
Below is the information from the publisher's site.
* * *
The pages of this remarkable record of spiritual communication range across, and plunge into, many fundamental aspects of the spiritual life: loving and being loved by God; the practice of prayer in all its dimensions; the unique power of Eucharistic adoration; trustful surrender to divine providence; the homage of silence; the dignity of liturgical prayer and the sacraments; the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; priestly identity and apostolic fruitfulness; the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints in our lives; sin, woundedness, mercy, healing, and purification; the longing for heaven and the longed-for renewal of the Catholic Church on earth.
Given the harmony of its content with the teaching of Sacred Scripture, Catholic Tradition, and well-known works of the mystics, it is eminently fitting that In Sinu Jesu be published in full at this time (it has been granted the imprimatur). Passages from this journal have already influenced the spiritual lives of priests, religious, and laymen. May it now give light and warmth, consolation and renewed conviction, to readers throughout the world.
328 pages, 6 × 9 in
Praise for In Sinu Jesu
"In Sinu Jesu recounts the graces experienced in the life of one priest through the healing and strengthening power of Eucharistic adoration. At the same time, it issues an urgent call to all priests — and, indeed, to all Christians — to be renewed in holiness through adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces. It is my fervent hope that In Sinu Jesu will inspire many priests to be ever more ardent adorers of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus, and thus find the strength and courage to show forth the Face of Christ in the midst of our profoundly secularized society." HIS EMINENCE RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
"Reading In Sinu Jesu has opened my heart to a deeper awareness of what occurs when I spend time before the Savior hidden and revealed in the Holy Sacrament. This can be summed up in one word: Friendship. Deep consolation and a 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." FR. HUGH BARBOUR, O.Praem., Prior, St. Michael's Abbey of the Norbertine Fathers
"Upon my first reading the words of The Journal of a Priest at Prayer, a seed was planted deep within me. The words spoken to him in the intimacy of the chapel bring such comfort, courage, and light — a longing to be with the Lord, gazing upon and adoring His Eucharistic Face and offering ourselves and our lives in reparation for sins against Love. I rejoice that the Lord has chosen this moment in time to share His desire for Eucharistic adoration through the publication in its entirety of In Sinu Jesu." FR. DAVID ABERNETHY C.O., Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, Pittsburgh
"In Sinu Jesu has the power to inflame the desire for Eucharistic adoration. It is a powerful expression of Our Lord's thirst to draw us deeper into His friendship, to heal wounds, and thus to renew the Church. For several years now its inspired words have accompanied me in my priestly ministry: attracting, comforting,strengthening, and touching my heart whenever I am in danger of forgetting my 'first love.' May this book cause a revolution of Love and conquer many hearts!" FR. JOACHIM SCHWARZMÜLLER, Krefeld, Germany
"In Sinu Jesu is a beautiful and powerful work saturated with the kind of contagious love and holiness that can only come from reclining — like His beloved disciple — upon Christ's breast, hearing Him whisper words of consolation and encouragement for us all. Its pages breathe a Johannine spirituality that welcomes also the Blessed Mother into our homes and hearts, drawing us toward more intimate, joyous union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." KEVIN VOST, Psy.D., author of The Porch and the Cross
"We sometimes dismiss the interior voice, thinking that because it is within, it must be our own. But does God not dwell deep within us? Can he not speak, then, to the heart? This listener has heard Christ invite priests and all the faithful, back to the Sacrament of Love. He has heard a call to draw near to the place where Christ tabernacles in the midst of his people, there to adore the Eucharistic Face of Christ. Here the power bestowed in the sacrament of orders is strengthened for a more selfless ministry." DAVID W. FAGERBERG, University of Notre Dame, author of Consecrating the World