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The Power of the Holy Hour

April 22, 2024
Picture of by Dr. Peter Howard
by Dr. Peter Howard

In a world obsessed with fictional superheroes, it’s time to meet a real one who actually had super-human power to combat evil.

His name is Venerable Fulton J.  Sheen. A man whose very name in Gaelic means “War and Peace.” A man whose influence reached over thirty million people a week in the United States alone. A man whom people turned to when humanity was fleeing away from God at light speed. A man who had a power that changed the minds and hearts of millions of people around the world through his written and spoken word.  

And fittingly, he wore a cape. 

What was the secret behind a man of small physical stature, born in an obscure tiny town, who later reached 30 million people a week on television, and became one of the greatest evangelizers in the modern world? 

For Sheen it was simple. It was keeping his unbroken promise of 60 years from the day of his ordination to make a daily Holy Hour before Our Lord in the  Blessed Sacrament. Sheen said that ALL of his power and success to influence and convert souls to Christ came from making this hour . . . daily. And he preached about its importance everywhere. 

He made the holy hour for many reasons. Most importantly, he made it in  response to Our Lord’s only direct appeal to his Apostles, “Could you not watch  one hour with Me?” It was an hour of companionship with Our Lord that was asked during the “hour” of evil. And when the Apostles were found sleeping  three times, they all fled Christ, Peter [the first pope] denied Christ three times and Our Lord was abandoned by those He just called “friends.” 

So, Fulton Sheen made the hour to “stay awake” with Our Lord and make reparation for all the evil and betrayal that is in the world. Sheen said, “There has  never been a priest who has left [the priesthood] who made the hour.”  

The other reason for the hour was to receive power — power that comes only by staying close to the Lord. Sheen said, “You can be powerful in preaching and make a large impact on souls. You will be able to give counseling far better than if you spent 20 years in a university studying counseling. You’ll be able to talk about suffering. You’ll be able to communicate the Spirit when you’re in the pulpit. And Young people will catch fire from you.” 

Sheen’s appeal to make the holy hour did not end with priests. In a time of war,  Sheen said it is absolutely necessary for ALL to make the hour to defeat the evil threatening global destruction. What he said to all Americans in a radio address  during World War II is more applicable now than then:  

We are at war against a devil. There is a devil. And man is no match for him. And unless we quickly get on God’s side and just in God’s strength, we will lack the faith to see the devil and the moral indignation to oppose him. And that is why I am appealing in every broadcast to every American to return to God. To spend an hour a day in prayer and meditation. . . .Catholics should make it in church since Our Divine Lord is present in the tabernacle.  

America must awake…If we were fighting a nation, we could leave the job to the armed forces. But we are fighting an evil. Something intrinsically wicked. We are in combat with a demon. And the kind of demon that Our Divine Lord said is driven out only by prayer and fasting.  

[We are in] a revolution against the anarchic spirit of evil and our supreme business is to drive the demons back again to hell. But they will not obey that command, either while we stand or while we sit. They will obey it only when we are on our knees — praying, fasting and watching an hour.

We see now why Satan has been working hard to eclipse the “Apostle of the  Daily Holy Hour” from the world. He knows it’s game over for his reign when  Catholics make this practice their own. 

We all long for the era of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima. Well, Fulton Sheen lays out how to get there more quickly: 

 “Thus can the world be saved. What contribution could the 35,000 priests [and the majority of the 67 Million Catholics in the United States] make to the  peace of the world, if each spent an hour daily in the sanctuary! And how  blessed for each would be the moment of death.”

Venerable Fulton Sheen is the icon for everything the Church needs now for her Eucharistic and priestly revival.

About the Author

Dr. Peter Howard earned his Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas [Angelicum] in Rome, Italy. He is the founder and president of the Fulton Sheen Institute and the Fulton Sheen Movement. Peter is a renowned international Catholic speaker, scholar of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, author, professor, theologian, Mariologist, member of the International Marian Association, and member of the Coalition of Eucharistic and Marian Apostolates (CEMA). Peter has spoken at national, diocesan and family conferences in the United States and Philippines; the United States Air Force Academy and has been featured on numerous Catholic radio and television networks.
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