[00:00:27] Hello everybody what’s up welcome back to another episode of Hear and Now podcast. I am so excited to welcome Father Thomas Dailey today to talk about his book and some really cool saints that we have to learn about. So Father Dailey,, welcome to the show. So why don’t you take some time to introduce yourself to everybody?
[00:00:43] Well, okay. My name is father Tom Dailey. I’m a priest in the Oblates of Saint Francis de sales. I hold the John Cardinal Foley chair of homiletics and social communications. At St. Charles Borromeo seminary, which is in the archdiocese of Philadelphia. And I wrote the book.
I love it. Well, that’s the perfect introduction.
[00:01:04]I’m a Philly person too. I love St. Charles seminary. So let’s just dive right in. What is your book in a nutshell?
Well, it’s basically a story of devotion to the sacred heart of Jesus. Which gained worldwide popularity with St. Margaret Mary Alocoque St. Margaret Mary Alocoque was a nun in the religious order called the sisters of the visitation of Holy Mary.
[00:01:30] That religious order, it was actually founded by St. Francis de sales. And so the book sort of traces the The connection between Salesian spirituality and the devotion to the sacred heart.
I love St. Francis de sales. You know, he’s the patron Saint of hearing loss, so that really hits home for me.
[00:01:48] Do you talk about Saint Jane de Chantel as well in the book?
Yes, St. Francis de sales and St. Jane DeChantel founded the religious order of the visitation. And so they’re thinking particularly about the importance of the heart and the sacred heart of Jesus is the not just the background or backdrop, but really the kind of intellectual and spiritual context for St.Margaret Mary Alocoque, and the eventual devotion to the sacred heart.
That’s awesome. Yeah. So what kind of inspired you to write about the development life? Well, this this particular writing has, has a historical back as historical linked to it. Last year marked the 100th anniversary of St. Margaret Mary’s becoming a Saint.
[00:02:38] And so the visitation sisters with whom I, I do work, Were granted by the Vatican, a Jubilee year in celebration of the, of this great event. So it was really that year long celebration that inspired this book.
That’s awesome. What is your personal vocation story, if you don’t mind [00:03:00] sharing about that?
[00:03:01] Oh, I was it’s pretty simple and nondescript. I was a high school student and a priest in my high school came to me and asked if I ever thought about becoming a priest. And actually, he kind of told me to think about becoming a priest which I did. And I felt the Direction of the Holy spirit leading me to this particular religious order, which was known for being teachers high school teachers, some college teachers.
[00:03:27] And so I applied and however many decades later here I am.
That’s awesome. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s funny. Cause a lot of times people are like, yeah, I knew right away that I was going to be pretty stent. Sometimes people are just like, no, it was, it was a long process.
So I’m glad that you kind of had that conviction within, you know so a question that all of us are probably wondering is how can you live a devout life with all of these worldly responsibilities that we have in front of us?
[00:03:54] Well, that’s, that’s actually the genius of St. Francis to sales who wrote his famous book was the introduction to the devout life, which was written precisely for people who are busy with many things in the world. You know, we tend to associate devotion and holiness with. With the, what I call the professional religious, right?
[00:04:15] The priest, the monks, the nuns, the bishops, those whose job it is so to speak to live a devout life. But Francis to sales was convinced as we all are now that the devout life or a Holy life is something for everybody. I mean, you know, the priest amongst in the nuns, that’s if you just look at the numbers, that’s a really tiny minority in the church.
[00:04:34]And so he writes the book and explains how the devout life. And I think this is his real genius, that all of our faith really, but especially trying to live it out devoutly or to live a Holy life, we would say nowadays is not something in addition to all the other stuff we have to do, it is actually lived through all those things we have to do. He said that devotion is different for different people and is suited to people’s particular abilities and their vocations or, or the term he used was their state in life. So for instance the path to holiness for a mom is different than the path to holiness for a nun.
[00:05:21] So for the mom to try to live like a nun and go to mass every day and say all those prayers every day, it’s just not possible. In fact, he calls that a false sense of devotion, but it’s in being a mom and the best mom you can be for the love of God and for the love of your children, that’s how that person becomes the same.
[00:05:43] And so that, that distinctiveness to holiness for each person is really the cornerstone of his thinking.
I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and she was explaining how she has such a [00:06:00] heart for service and for ministry. And she’s such a devout person, but we’re all in college.
[00:06:05] You know, how would we fit that in with our busy schedules? And so she’s like, well in doing that, if I’m already doing that anyway, I’m going to use that aspect of the labor of love is she said to channel my devoutness to to God in that. So if we’re doing our physics homework, you know, God delights in us doing our physics homework and crunching those numbers.
[00:06:25] It doesn’t have to be this clear life line between responsibilities and devoutness, they can be one and you can do them all for the glory.
Right. And not only can you do them all. But that’s what you’re supposed to do in the sense, in the sense that you know, doing your physics, homework, and being a student is your vocation at the moment.
[00:06:50] So that’s where you live a Holy life. It’s not sort of, one part of me is being a student and then I’m going to do the service stuff and that’ll be my God side, if you will. His, his. Francis de sales’ notion of holiness was that it is , it is what informs the whole of life. It’s not something we add to as one piece of life.
[00:07:17] Exactly. Yeah. I mean, I think of just the word holiness itself, it sounds like the word whole, you know, you’re doing, you’re incorporating holiness into everything that you are. So I think that, you know, as I’m going forward in my life right now If I’m getting super annoyed with physics, homework would be like, no, I’m happy that I’m able to do this.
[00:07:31] I’m able to glorify God.
Oh, I don’t know. Physics can be a little annoying once in a while, but you’re correct. You’re correct.
asking God to kind of give us that grace to be able to glorify him at whatever we’re doing, the dishes or riding a bike or something. It’s really just asked, adding that aspect of holiness.
[00:07:51] So I think that is a really good distinction that all of us need to pay attention to. So, do you have any like proven ways that we can release supernatural confidence and overcome fear with this aspect of devotion?
Well, in, in the previous book that I wrote called Live Today Well, I present Francis de sales, his approach to the question you just asked and, and the various ways we can spend the common moments of our day, living, working, talking to friends, et cetera, et cetera.
And how he approaches those in terms of providing the way to transform the ordinary into the Holy in this particular book. The answer would be the sense that it is how we live with our hearts. Putting our heart into what we do, the hearts and our relationships are the heart, the union of hearts in our prayer with God that the heart is, is the key and sort of common factor tool.
[00:08:53] So what about that aspect of fear? How does our heart incorporate into that? Sure.
[00:09:00] I mean, fear is, is obviously a common reality in life. It’s something everyone faces. And it’s what kind of calls forth a faith or a trust in our power greater than what we fear. And so that, that power of course has gone.
[00:09:21]And so while our hearts may be anxious, be fearful too, Open them to hand that over to God, to trust in divine Providence, to recognize that everything that happens in life is somehow part of God’s plan. And that God continues to hold us in his hands no matter what happens in life, constantly remembering and realizing that is how we overcome fear.
[00:09:56] it made me think of redemptive suffering. So can you speak about that a little bit and define that for some of our listeners?
Well, it’s, it’s the notion it’s redemptive suffering is primarily of course, about Jesus who suffering on the cross, redeems us from the, from the pain and suffering that sin brings.
Applied to us, ] It kind of continues the idea that, that we, I don’t want to say, make up for, but, but fill in or, or really better continue that notion of loving God greater than what we have to go through. So the suffering that we have to endure, particularly if it’s not something brought on by my own doing, that kind of dedication, that kind of the, the, the spiritual word is, is abandonment to, to God’s Providence abandoning my own desires and wishes. I mean, I certainly wouldn’t wish to suffer, but for some reason, which I don’t understand that’s, that’s what’s happening — to abandon my own outlook, to say that I trust in the God who holds me close throughout the suffering. That’s redemptive to me. Because it, it moves me away from my own interests and my own desires to place myself in union with the will of God, which is a debt, which ultimately is what we mean by the redemptive bar, from suffering.
And that’s a great way to define it. It’s one of those things where you’re like, I don’t really know how to explain it, but I know it when I see it. So I guess to put it in terms of this last year, how do you think that God has kind of used redemptive suffering [00:12:00] in terms of what 20, 20, 2021 has really meant for us?
[00:12:03] Well, first of all, I think it’s important to say that, you know, God didn’t bring about COVID as some kind of punishment or message or anything like that. But in, in everything, this, this is just really obvious, the COVID thing you know, in, in everything that we have to endure in life, whether it’s this global pandemic or things, very, very particular to me as an individual, when we can see them as somehow some way being the will of God for me.
[00:12:37] And I really learn to, to embrace that, or, you know, at least accept that, If not also embrace that that that’s how we get through this. I mean, this particular, the pandemic that we’re in, you know, essentially we, no one has been able to do what they, what they usually do what they want to do.
[00:12:58]I mean, I’m looking out the window at, you know, 70 degree temperatures here. It’s a beautiful day, but you can’t go out to dinner with your friends. It, it. It challenges to supremacy of our own free will, which in itself is not a bad thing because it reminds me that freedom is not free that it, you know, if I can somehow immerse or insert my will into the bigger, more valuable will of God.
[00:13:32]Even if some days like this, I’m kind of forced to do that. It’s that, that, that we’ll have that will have the eternal benefits,
but I love what you said about freedom is not always free in the way that we think about it. I did just cover that in my, my rap morality class last week. But have you, as a priest kind of seen this aspect of devotion within the faithful, has it, I guess.
[00:13:56] Been impacted positively or negatively during the last year?
both. I think it’s, it’s been benefit. It has been impacted negatively in terms of people’s you know, questioning things and you know, not being able to attend church not being able to do all of the religious devotions that they typically did.
[00:14:21]That, that, that kind of absence is, is really felt by people that that’s the negative side. But positively, you know, there’ve been, there’ve been new ways to connect with people, a new focus on, you know, sort of personal relationships with God. You know, there there’s. All those kinds of good things is the positive impact.
[00:14:44] absence makes the heart grow fonder. Like last year, you know, we missed out on Easter mass. So the one thing I’m looking forward to this year is being able to go to Easter mass. Right. And more silence for yourself, for me, [00:15:00] it’s been really impactful because I should be able to retreat and spend more time working on myself with God.
That’s good. I mean, the idea that we’re on a forced retreat, all of us.
Again, if we look at it in that sort of positive way, then it can be a positive. Positive impact.
Exactly. Yeah. I mean, just looking at the amount of friends who are like, well, I’ve had nothing to do except read my Bible or force myself to listen to the Bible in a year podcast or something.
So they’re I guess conversion our reversion or anything has been really cool for me to see. So what are some of the keys to developing the practice of mental prayer and entering contemplation? That for me is something I’ve always, I guess, Desired after. But can you bring it down to a basic level for us?
[00:15:48] And that’s very much the bulk of this book, Behold this Heart where I offer sort of nine examples of, of what you’re talking about on a mental prayer. And it’s, it’s all based on the teaching of Francis de sales. Which is basically takes the sort of formality of meditation in a monastery and simplifies it if you will, or reduces it to its essentials for people living busy lives in the world. And he says there are basically three key elements. The first is, is to consider In this case, consider a biblical scene, a gospel scene. Consider it with our mind. So we, so we hear a reading or we do a reading from scripture, but just sit with that and think about it.
[00:16:34]Literally imagine it happening. Imagine you’re there. Imagine what’s going on, sort of put yourself into the scene so that it becomes not just words on a page. But something real, the power of the imagination is absolutely central. And I think the reason it’s the reason why the devotion to the sacred heart is so powerful.
[00:16:55] It’s all about images, right? We can picture it. And we have, you know, pictures of the sacred heart everywhere. So imagining the scene imagining the gospel is step one, but those considerations, which are a mental faculty, faculty of the mind will lead us if we let them, and if we pay attention to it, to movements of the heart when he calls affections.
[00:17:20] All right. So if we’re, if we’re take a, a recent gospel from mass, if we’re there in the temple, when Jesus comes in to clear the place out. We are going to feel that, we’re going to be, I don’t know, we might be scared. We might be shocked. We might be cheering them on. We might be whatever. But, but considering the scene somehow leads to touching my heart.
[00:17:45] I mean, if all the gospel is good news, it’s meant to touch our hearts. From those affections then, which I sort of sit with and let the Holy spirit produce. I should, and this is the third piece draw some kind of resolution or you [00:18:00] know, okay, what am I going to do with this Francis de sales always emphasize that prayer is not simply abstract.
[00:18:06] It’s kind of practical dimension. Okay. So, okay. Maybe this leads to me cleansing, not the temple, but the temple that’s me. Maybe I have to think about the kinds of things I need to get better at and clear out. And so maybe the practical resolution is to make an examination of conscience today. Or maybe it’s to go to confession today or something practical that I can do as a result of having been moved.
[00:18:34] By the story that I’ve considered. So I consider it, I imagine it I’m affected by it and I resolved to do something with it. That’s it, that’s mental prayer in a nutshell,
that aspect of application too. We know this past Sunday, when we read the gospel like that, I was moved because I’ve heard that story so many times, but Sometimes it really just gets to you where, like you said, what’s, what’s going on within me that I need to maybe apply this gospel to my life. I don’t need to necessarily go to the church and flip tables there, but inside myself, I can do that. So I think that’s a really, really cool, cool practice to start getting into.
[00:19:08] So what has kind of been your experience with mental prayer and contemplation? Oh, well, it’s, it’s all kinds of things, but, but it’s that idea that drawing. More deeply into the gospel passages and what the book does is it offers nine different stories from the gospels that specifically refer to some dimension of Jesus’ sacred heart.
[00:19:36] So from those stories, you know, I offer things to consider and imagine and think about possible affections or movements of the heart. Then those stories might engender and then, you know, different practice, you know, suggested practices that we can take from that, whether personally or together with others, or even serve on a social/societal level.
[00:20:01] Yeah. So how has the practice of contemplation impacted how you’ve heard God’s will in your life?
Well, as I mentioned, you know, th-there’s this priest in my high school directed me to think about becoming a priest which is what I did. And you know, not just picturing it, not just looking into it, you know, in, in, in an academic way or, or studying different possibilities, all of which goes into it. But really sitting with, you know, the possibility of God wanting me to do this and you know, what did that do to me? Well, you know, it scared me in, in, in, in one sense. I mean, this is, this is the rest of your life you’re talking about. But it also gave me very much a sense of peace that this is what I was supposed to do.
[00:20:48] And that those movements of the heart. Led me to take the practical step of applying and entering and studying. And here I am [00:21:00]
well said. Do you think that we can use contemplation and prayer, some of the devotions you mentioned to discover our own personal spiritual vocation?
Absolutely. I think, I think that’s at the foundation of it.
[00:21:13]You know, the discernment of a vocation is primarily about listening. Listening to listening to God, tell you what God wants you to do. And then sorting that out from all the other things that are going on in your mind as to what I want to do or think I should do. And, and really, you know, sort of basing that on how the Holy spirit is moving my heart, that you know, that the Francis de sales and, and, and the older way of looking at the human heart.
[00:21:44] We tend to think that we make decisions with our mind or with our, our free will. But the older conception of a human being is that we make decisions with our hearts. And if we, if you think about it, it’s true. We, we do what we like. That’s a hard thing. The biggest decisions we make are based on wealth, that’s a heart thing.
[00:22:06]And so if, if we, if we conceive of vocational discernment as a decision that I make with my heart and that God speaks to my heart that that’s, that’s precisely where mental prayer fits in.
I’m involved in a vocational seminar right now. It’s been the last seven weeks of us meeting and determining how God’s will fit into our own lives.
[00:22:31] And rather I should say how our will fits into God’s will. And we have that to do a lot of discerning. Breaking that that line of where God’s will is not necessarily what we want for our lives. And it’s a hard thing to do. Yeah.
So sometimes they, sometimes they, they bang up against each other. But where they come together and in a sense, you know, they may come together when I finally say, okay, I’ll do what God wants, not me. But it, the, the, how my heart responds to their coming together, that becomes the sign of the correctness of the discernment, because you know, God’s not going to come out and say to you in very clear English language, you should do this. That’s not how it works, because if it did, in a sense, we wouldn’t have any choice right.
[00:23:22] There wouldn’t be much for us to do except do it. But the part of the beauty of the way we relate to and interact with God is there’s, there’s always an element that we have to contribute. There’s always a an expression of, of my choice and my freedom and my will. You know, we’re never forced to do something even the annunciation, right.
[00:23:47]You know, Mary had to say yes no, No God being, God knew that Mary would say yes, but still in theory, she could have said, no, thanks. You know, get somebody else to do it. Thankfully she didn’t. But [00:24:00] there, there there’s there’s and there’s always that unknowing dimension to it. We don’t, we don’t know how, how it’s going to play out.
[00:24:06] She certainly didn’t know how it was going to play out. And that’s where faith in God and hope and trust come in. And that’s why it’s such a, such a powerful mystery.
That’s so true. Do you have any sort of advice (and I’m definitely going to take this to heart for myself) that we can truly surrender our will to the will of God?
[00:24:28] Well, other than reading the book you mine, right?
[00:24:34] I’m kidding. Yeah. It, it, it, it sounds really simple. And it’s not at all easy, but you know, that, that, listen again, to the final words of Jesus right into your hands. I commit my spirit. If we can do that or I should say whenever we can do that, life gets really good because I’ve just given it to God.
[00:25:00]That’s not something you can do once and done. I mean, I think it’s something we have to do every day. But the, the only way to do that is to do that.
So it’s a hard thing to do, you know, where you’re like, I give everything to you, but then, but I’m going to keep a little bit of it for myself. And I personally struggle with that and I’m completely open and honest about that as well.
[00:25:19] But to go back, on what you were saying you, so your book, of course, where can people buy it and read more about your devotions that you have written about?
Yeah, it’s available from Sophia Institute press. So you can go to their website, Sophia institute.com. It’s on all of the major bookselling websites Hopefully by now it’s in, in, you know, Catholic bookstores. Sophia does a really good job at distributing and, and, and marketing the book. So yeah, just, just look that up online or go visit your bookstore and hopefully they’ll have it.
Awesome. And if anybody wants to connect with you personally, do you have any social medias or any ways for them to get into it?
[00:25:54] Yeah. If you go to the seminar, the seminarys website, scs.edu, S C S St. Charles seminary.edu. You can find me there and all the links and connections are on there.
Perfect Father, thank you so much for joining me today.
You’re welcome. Thank you for having me on your podcast.
This was such a great conversation and I hope you guys can take something away from it.
[00:26:18]All the links to check out the books and his social media will be down below and without further ado, have a great week and we’ll see you next time.
It’s the 87th episode of Hear and Now Podcast! Thank you for joining me this week as I have Fr. Thomas Dailey on to discuss his book, Behold this Heart.
Get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click the link to check out Buzzsprout and get a $20 Amazon gift card for the purchase of any paid plan! https://www.buzzsprout.com/?referrer_id=449567