Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Experts say that if you sense danger though there is no evident empirical reason to think that you should, trust your instincts. Something is telling you what your eyes and ears cannot. In a similar way a priest friend of mine listens to what his senses tell him when he feels an urge to pray for someone or write a person a note or some such thing. In doing this he often hits people just when they need to hear it. He once asked me if I ever wake up in the middle of the night with the urge to pray for someone. Every now and then he unaccountably awakes thinking about a person and is moved to pray for them. I admit to you that I would wake with a person on my mind but would just use the opportunity think of them and wonder why they popped into my head at three in the morning. Since then I have taken the feeling more seriously and will at least offer a Hail Mary for them.

So this friend of mine is garnering rather the reputation. “How does he know when to say the right words?” another person asked me. All I can think of is that it is a gift and, further, he knows how to use it.

There was an interesting response in the question and answer section of This Rock magazine recently and I was rather surprised at the answer though, after thinking of it, it made sense. A person asked if it was all right (morally and in keeping with the doctrines of the Church) for police departments to use information to solve a crime if the information came from a person who gained it through clairvoyance. The answer was that it was perfectly alright as long as the information was used for a just cause and that it was not actively sought out by use of the occult. Law enforcement officials could then rightfully use the information that came to a person unsolicited, but could not hire such a person who searches out this information to solve the crime.

So do you feel the nudge to pray for someone or to make contact? Do it! Who knows why (or how) you might have received this thought. One way it works for me is with vocations. Something will nag me about asking a man if he ever considered the priesthood. I am shocked at how many eyes light up and they say, “Yes, I’ve been thinking a little about it lately!”

This is said with a caution. All such intuitions are classified under private revelation. Nothing received in this way is binding on somebody else. At one point there was a group of people I knew who were a bit too “in” on receiving revelations. They were usually transmitted thusly, “God told me to tell you . . .” which means if you did not listen to what the person was telling you, you were not only not following what they said, but that you were disobeying Almighty God. That is also a terrible, horrendous abuse. The fun part was watching competitions between revelations “from God,” “Oh yeah? Well God told ME to tell YOU . . .” (And certainly if your intuition is telling you to go against Scripture or Tradition, as in spray painting your neighbor’s SUV purple – it is not from God.) But if you are moved to pray privately for a person, or contact them and say, “I was thinking of you today and thought to pray for you, how is it going?” or perhaps in the middle of a conversation feel moved to share part of your faith journey, consider listening to the hunch and discovering if there is any fruit to be harvested there.


Anonymous said...

This is a really profound post, Father. Sent you an email with more specific comments.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is indeed a gift.

In 9 years or so online, it hasn't been often, but now and then there's been a definite nudge to ask someone if they've ever considered the priesthood (and if a married man, I've asked if they've considered the Diaconate), and more rarely, I've asked if a young woman has considered Religious life. As I say, none of it's been very often, but the answer has always been in the affirmative. It's good to put it directly into words for another--it's more impetus for them to think on it, and it may well be a serendipitous nudge. The one time I asked a young man's parents (in person) if their son had ever thought toward becoming a priest, they roared with laughter and said he'd have to get out of bed before noon, first. I haven't given up on him, tho'. ;-) People love God a whole lot more than we usually say. After the first few deep-sighed "Yes, I have thought of it"s, one knows not to hold back the question.

A lovely sharing, and important. I hope there are people who wake at 3 and wonder if this waste of space called Carol needs a prayer, and prays anyway. :-)

Anonymous said...

Forgive me, Father, (for I have sinned, of course) and for sending this note to you through the comments section of your blog; but I saw no other way to get in touch.

I am sending the press release below, intended for Writers and Readers of Catholic Literary Fiction and Non-Fiction, to a cross-section of Blogs listed on St. Blog’s Parish. Please consider posting it on your website. To provide you with some comfort in doing so, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Andrew McNabb ( I am a writer of Catholic Literary Fiction. I have published widely, both in some of the country’s top secular journals and in a number of prestigious “religious” journals and anthologies as well, including “Not Safe, But Good (Best Christian Short Stories, 2007)”(Thomas Nelson.) My first book-length work, entitled “The Body of This,” (Warren Machine) will be released in March. Joseph Pearce and Bret Lott have written wonderful blurbs for the cover and my publicity schedule is filling up. More about me and my writing can be seen at
I am prefacing this e-mail by telling you this to give credibility to the small publishing house, Leoness Books (, that I am starting as a result of my publishing experience as a Catholic writer. There is a dearth of publishing opportunities for writers of what I would call “Catholic Literary Writing.” I have been told by prominent agents, who have approached me after seeing my work in secular journals—and who, after seeing my full body of work, say, “Your writing is too Christian for the Trade (Big) publishers and too Catholic for the CBA (Christian Book Association—Evangelical.) As for the Catholic publishing establishment, they are more interested in theology and apologetics than in fiction and narrative non-fiction, and are often constrained by religious order affiliation.

[To Be Posted]
Leoness Book Press Release

Attention Writers & Readers!
Leoness Books is a newly formed small press specializing in Literary Catholic Writing. Leoness has been created due to the dearth of publishing opportunities for Catholic writers whose work can be described as "Literary, yet artfully overt." Leoness is seeking book-length fiction (both novels and story collections) and narrative non-fiction submissions for their Leoness Book Award, and short stories for their Best Catholic Short Stories, 2010 edition.

Leoness Books is also seeking dedicated readers who are tired of the syrupy genre fiction that Christian publishers attempt to pass off as "real life," who are put off by the poorly written Apocalyptic novels that misrepresent Bible teaching, and disheartened by the plethora of literary options for nearly every subset of humanity, except for devout Catholics seeking quality literature inspired by faith. There are several ways to become involved and ensure Leoness Books’ success. Please visit for more information.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father, My experiences of this kind have often involved people who have just died. For example, I had a dream about someone and then found out that he had died right around that time. I unexpectedly found some old photos of my friend's uncle, only to learn that he had just died that very day. Once, a thought came into my mind about someone and her father. Then, I heard that he had died that day. Once, our Christmas tree fell over during the night. The next day I found out that my uncle had just died. We always used to visit him during the holidays. Did he come by to say "hello" to us on his way back to the Father?