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August 13 , 2009

The Abiding Presence of the Holy Ghost in the Soul


In his own life time Father Jarrett held a recognised position as the greatest preacher in Catholic England. In the light of his own teaching it is easy to understand the reason. Behind all his sermons there lay a personal vision and a personal love. He always preached to the individual: it made no difference to him whether these were many or were few. He would seem to put the same care and thought and vision into each of his sermons and his lectures for with him the lectures were in fact sermons. It appeared to make no difference whether these were to be delivered in Westminster Cathedral, or the Albert Hall or Our Lady of Victories, New York, or in some small church or class room. The author of the obituary in The Times noted that “he has been called the best Roman Catholic preacher in this country, and he was perhaps the most popular English preacher in the United States, his sermons being marked by their intellectual quality, their appositeness to the times and their incisiveness”. All this seems true enough. Much of his success as a preacher was due to his clarity of thought and of word and of voice. But it was Father Vincent McNabb who perhaps came closest to the secret of his influence: “His light was a spiritual flame that fed itself, increasing day by day–but alas a bodily flame that fed upon itself until the day when it made an end to its powers. I need not say that if he was on fire it was with the master-flame of love.”
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