God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

The Listener

Christ on the Mount of Olives
Ernst Hildebrand, via Wikipedia

In my Major Seminary days, (1938-1944), at Mundelein, Illinois, from the ages of 18-24, I found myself in my room at 7:15pm every evening of the school year. The rules forbade newspapers, magazines, radios and visiting other rooms.  Each room had its own bathroom facilities, so I had no excuse to leave it.  At breakfast the next morning, we broke silence.  Lights out at 9:45pm, after prayers in our house Chapel.

The darkness and the silence of the night had their fill of hobgoblins and demons of discouragement and puzzlement about this Seminary life. Doctors had told me that my health would keep me from the Priesthood.  In my first days there, I put a small image of the Sacred Heart on my desk.  For the next six years, this image of Christ would come with me from room to room on the Seminary campus.  On its back I wrote, “I place all my trust in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, now when I need His Help more than ever before.”

Every night I looked at the kind Face of Christ, gazing out at me from the Image, and shared all my feelings with Him: my fears, frustrations and the loneliness of the room. In the dark corners, the demons of my inner voice, very real to me, did their best to demoralize me . . . “You will never make it for the next six years! Give up, go home!  This life will never bring you happiness!”  The voices screamed!

As I began to speak of my trust in the Sacred Heart of Christ, a wonderful peace would settle in my troubled heart. The voices from the dark lost their power over me.  His Healing Presence came quietly to take away the loneliness of the room.  Every night we spoke with each other.  I was alone with my Lord, not demons.  I began to look forward to this quiet time together.

In the forward of her novel, “The Listener”, Taylor Caldwell, the British born American author wrote, “The most desperate need of men today is not a new vaccine for any disease, or a new religion, or a new ‘way of life’. . . His real need, his most terrible need, is for someone to listen to him . . . as a human soul.” Written 58 years ago, her insight still rings true.

Jesus of Nazareth comes into our lives as the Man Who listens! “Come to me, All you who are weary and burdened, and I will refresh you.”  In all the confusing experiences of life, with their heartaches, disappointments and painful times, Jesus assures us, His followers, of His availability, at all times all the days of our lives.  I still find it comforting to know, that in my prayers and my words, through my worries and fears, Jesus is there and He is listening!

Fr. George McKenna

October 21, 2018 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , ,


  1. Great theme as always

    Comment by Anonymous | October 21, 2018 | Reply

  2. God bless you Father, it’s always good to hear your words of wisdom. Hope you are well, think of you often…

    Comment by Patricia Melton | October 21, 2018 | Reply

  3. Thank you, Father. I find it amazing that your doctors discouraged you from the priesthood as a teenager and you had to push through that serious concern of your health. How easy it would have been to listen to those demons, give up and do something less challenging. God had special plans for you and you were courageous to place your trust in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Here you are still doing His work and you will likely outlive us all.

    Your spiritual directors at Mundelein were so wise to give you young men the quiet time to pray and reflect on your lives and vocations. How different life is today and that quiet reflection time is still so needed.

    God bless you all through your days. God bless S. Angelista for encouraging your vocation. The fruits of her work continue to this day as we read your messages.

    LMK – QPSS ’70

    Comment by LMK | October 21, 2018 | Reply

  4. You know Fr George, I share these messages with my brother and sisters and a couple friends. Your messages are always inspirational and give me plenty of food for thought. Thank you.

    Comment by Ed Weston | October 21, 2018 | Reply

  5. Thanks Father, I love to share these on Facebook with my friends.

    Comment by barttimm | October 21, 2018 | Reply

  6. I needed to read this today more than ever. Stressful times here and not coping well. I need to turn to Jesus above all else. Love you, Father George.


    Comment by Nancy Westvang | October 29, 2018 | Reply

  7. […] The Listener […]

    Pingback by 2019 A New Year of Prayer | Stepping Toes | January 2, 2019 | Reply

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