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Vocations Guide to Priesthood

He said ”If I do not begin my morning with prayer, with Lauds, which receives what the Angel of Morning brings the gift of a new day, the dawn of new light, refreshment after sleep, time and space for a renewed innocence and enthusiasm I will soon find that it is noon and I have missed the morning. I won't feel particularly guilty about not praying. I will just have missed a morning.

"The same will happen to me if I do not, through Vespers, greet the Angel of Evening. I won't go to bed feeling guilty about not praying. I will, however, miss the evening, for I will not attune myself to that particular kind of peace and feeling of neighborliness that can be received only as the light of day is fading.

"Without prayer, we hurry compulsively through our days, missing most of them because we are missing those angels that God is sending each hour."

In his book “Priests for the Third Millennium” Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan relates what transpired at the first meeting in 1885 between Joseph Sarto and his priests shortly after he had been appointed Bishop of Mantua.

“He found his diocesan clergy lazy, rebellious, and scandalous in their immorality. The Holy See told him that his main duty would be the spiritual renewal of his priests. Now, nearby bishops had tackled the same task by suspending priests, publicly castigating them, and transferring many of them from the parishes where they had pastored for years. So, when Bishop Sarto first met with his clergy, they were particularly resistant and unfriendly, suspecting he was about to lower the boom. Instead, the wise future saint said, "Brothers, I'll make a deal: before you leave this room, 1 want every one of you to promise me to my face that you will do three things:

1. Celebrate Mass every day,

2. Say your office daily, and

3. Make a good confession monthly.

The priests, breathed a sigh of relief, feeling they had all gotten off easy, and made the promise. When Sarto left ten years later to become patriarch of Venice, the diocese of Mantua had been revitalized, led by a zealous clergy striving for holiness.”

The Divine Office and the Busy Priest


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