Hilarion Walters' Source of Spirituality

Fr. Hilarion Walters' source of spirituality was not a secret. Although I was near him for only two years, one year in my first year high school and another year during the novitiate, I easily noticed this source because it was very obvious for everyone to see. Perhaps it was partly because of this fountain of his spirituality that he reached the age of 95 years before he departed from planet Earth.

Not Books But Food

Fr. Hilarion was not fond of bringing a lot of books to the class he taught. He was unlike my professors of theology who brought a pile of books to class to show as their reference. Nor did I see him in the habit of reading books. So the source of his spirituality was not in books. I can even say that it was not the Bible. Of course he read the Bible but during class or spiritual conferences he would not refer to this verse and that verse in the Bible to prove his point. He was unlike our evangelical teachers and pastors who brought out the wisdom of God from the Scriptures.

As far as I can remember he never discussed with us this and that kind of spirituality. He did not discourse on the spirituality of the desert fathers or of the Dominicans or Franciscans or of any other order. He did not even emphasize the spirituality of the Passionists. It is true he often referred to the analogy of the Carmelite St. John of the Cross about the bird which was tied to a string. But he did not expound on Carmelite spirituality as something to admire or follow.

Strangely enough my conclusion is that the source of his spirituality was a food, the bread and wine in the Mass. The Eucharist was the source of Fr. Hilarion Walters' spirituality.

Long Hours Before the Blessed Sacrament

Fr. Hilarion spent long hours before the Blessed Sacrament. Late one night after seeing a movie I returned to my lodging in the church compound where he was parish priest. I passed by the chapel inside the rectory or convent. I noticed someone was there. I observed closely. It was Fr. Hilarion. He did this night after night, staying in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

When the movement Nocturna Adoracion Filipina (Philippine Nightly Adoration) reached his parish he gave total support to it, even joining in the games that the adorers would play in order to fight their drowsiness. He also provided coffee and some food for these adorers while waiting for their turn to pray before the exposed Blessed Sacrament.

This was also his practice when he was our novice master. He spent hours before the Sacrament by himself. This then was the source of his spiritual strength. For me it was his source of spirituality.

Thanksgiving After the Mass

Unlike most of our Mass presiders and goers today who leave the church building after the Mass Fr. Hilarion stayed for some minutes after the Mass in thanksgiving of the food he partook. He would converse with his Lord present in the bread and wine.

This is a practice of his which I inherited. I made it a point to stay 15 minutes after the Mass to converse with my Lord present in the food at Mass. This habit led me to enjoy God's presence on earth.

I can confidently say then that Fr. Hilarion's source of spirituality was the Eucharist. This formed his spirituality to a very ripe old age.

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