Cardinal Sarah in his book The Power of Silence wrote, “Without silence, God disappears in the noise. And this noise becomes all the more obsessive because God is absent. Unless the world rediscovers silence, it is lost. The earth then rushes into nothingness.” Thus, it would make sense that an essential part of life here in the House of Formation is daily prayer.
We cap the beginning and end of each day with the Liturgy of the Hours (LotH). The Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office is the daily prayer of the Church, marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer. Every priest and consecrated religious participates in all 5 times of prayer, at the HoF we pray Morning and Evening prayer together in community. Recently in our Latin class, we learned more about the origin of the English word ‘antiphon’ (a common occurrence in the LotH) as meaning etymologically, ‘voice against voice’. This reflects the back and forth exchange from each side of the chapel as we pray with the figurative lungs of the church.
(Beirvery turned to morning prayer in the St. Joseph House of Formation Chapel)
Devotion to the Holy Eucharist makes up the other primary communal opportunities for prayers. We share in Mass each day, sometimes with the St. Joseph parishioners, or on Wednesdays in the St. John’s Chapel at Newman University. (Saint Joseph Mass Times and Newman University Mass Times).
personal prayer before morning Mass at St. Joseph’s Church
A major part of many of our vocation stories was time spent before the Blessed Sacrament in an adoration hour. We share in one of those daily as well. We have grown to find this time completely essential. As many here are new to college life (and some not so new), we find it easy to get lost in our homework and exams - then in finding free time: relaxing, watching T.V, or board games. All good things, but all things that can contribute to losing sight of the whole reason we are here. Sometimes we have to put in some personal effort to reclaim theses times of silence. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, "As a man must be born before he can begin to lead his physical life, so he must be born to lead a Divine Life. That birth occurs in the Sacrament of Baptism. To survive, he must be nourished by Divine Life; that is done in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.”
Prayer is important because we find in it the fruition of our vocation. Daily prayer allows us to share in building a culture of vocations. As St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “like Jesus we belong to the world living not for ourselves but for others. The joy of the Lord is our strength.” But as seminarians we cannot bring joy to the world if we do not know the Lord. It is easy to get ahead of ourselves, to try and give what we don’t first have. Is a challenge to slow down and realize true love and joy starts from within and spread outward.
Our goal, as Paul entreats in 1 Thessalonians (5:16), is to pray without ceasing. Perhaps this is easier said than done, which is why we have these times of prayer baked into the rule of life already. It make the goal more attainable. We see the fruit of routine on our free weekends and breaks, as the rubber meets the road and our personal weaknesses show with more clarity. We often find inspiration in each other. Even in the simple ways like praying a Hail Mary when we see an ambulance on the way to the gym.
Through formation and prayer, we are able to lay down the foundation of our discernment. To seek and grow in relationship with Christ, where through knowing the Son, the Father is revealed. Where we can feel God’s overwhelming love for us and spread to all we come in contact with.
May God Be Praised,
House of Formation
Prayer can be hard, here is some motivation:
"To be happy, what you need is not an easy life but a heart which is in love"
-St. Josemaria Escriva
"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."
-Mother Teresa of Calcutta
There are many great resources available, here are some that we use at the house:
iBreviary – great for finding the daily mass readings and LoTH on the go.
Mass Times – great for find adoration chapels and mass times around the United States, especially helps when schedules get crazy or in new areas.
Catholic Diocese of Wichita Website – This has helped many of the men from finding different parishes, to growing in one’s faith, to applying for seminary.
To provide an inlet into the life of seminary formation through the lenses of prayer, study, and fraternity.