Josemaría Escrivá Obras
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Christ is passing by > The Ascension of Our Lord > Number 119
119

"A prayer to my living God." If God is life for us, we should not be surprised to realize that our very existence as Christians must be interwoven with prayer. But don't imagine that prayer is an action to be carried out and then forgotten. The just man "delights in the law of the Lord, and meditates on his law day and night." "Through the night I meditate on you" and "my prayer comes to you like incense in the evening." Our whole day can be a time for prayer — from night to morning and from morning to night. In fact, as holy Scripture reminds us, even our sleep should be a prayer.

Remember what the Gospels tell us about Jesus. At times he spent the whole night in an intimate conversation with his Father. The Apostles were filled with love when they saw Christ pray; and, after seeing this constant attitude in their master, they asked him: "Lord, teach us to pray" in this way. St Paul spreads the living example of Christ everywhere when he urges the faithful to be "constant in prayer." And St Luke portrays the behaviour of the first Christians with a phrase that is like the touch of an artist's brush: "they all, with one mind, continued steadfastly in prayer."

A good Christian acquires his mettle, with the help of grace, in the training-ground of prayer. But prayer, our life-giving nourishment, is not limited to one form alone. Our heart will find an habitual expression in words, in the vocal prayers taught us by God himself — the Our Father — or by his angels — the Hail Mary. On other occasions, we will use the time-proven words that have expressed the piety of millions of our brothers in the faith: prayers from the liturgy — lex orandi; or others whose source is the love of an ardent heart, like the antiphons to our Lady: Sub tuum praesidium, Memorare, Salve, Regina...

There will be other occasions on which all we'll need will be two or three words, said with the quickness of a dart, iaculata — ejaculatory prayers, aspirations that we learn from a careful reading of Christ's life: "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." "Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you." "Lord, I do believe, but help my unbelief," strengthen my faith. "Lord, I am not worthy." "My Lord and my God!"... or other short phrases, full of affection, that spring from the soul's intimate fervour and correspond to the different circumstances of each day.

Besides these occasions, our life of prayer should also be based on some moments that are dedicated exclusively to our conversation with God, moments of silent dialogue, before the tabernacle if possible, in order to thank our Lord for having waited for us — so often alone — for twenty centuries. This heart-to-heart dialogue with God is mental prayer, in which the whole soul takes part; intelligence, imagination, memory and will are all involved. It is a meditation that helps to give supernatural value to our poor human life, with all its normal, everyday occurrences.

Thanks to these moments of meditation and to our vocal prayer and aspirations, we will be able to turn our whole day into a continuous praise of God, in a natural way and without any outward display. Just as people in love are always thinking about each other, we will be aware of God's presence. And all our actions, down to the most insignificant, will be filled with spiritual effectiveness.

This is why, as a Christian sets out on his way of uninterrupted dealing with our Lord, his interior life grows and becomes strong and secure. And he is led to engage in the demanding yet attractive struggle to fulfil completely the will of God. I might add that this is not a path for a privileged few; it is a way open to everyone.

It is through our life of prayer that we can understand the other aspect of today's feast: the apostolate, the carrying out of the commission Jesus gave to the disciples shortly before the ascension: "You shall be witnesses for me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the very ends of the earth."

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