Because today there are so many situations of injustice, war and self-interested oblivion in many corners of the world. Let us listen to the plea for help from persecuted Christians in many countries, the poor, the sexually exploited children and abused women in countries where protests are systematically put down. Many are silenced by terrorism or economic interests. We cannot remain indifferent to the climatic disasters that leave many without resources, nor to the number of entire families who drown in silence with the unfulfilled dream of reaching Europe by sea. Today, the whole world is experiencing a situation of political, economic and cultural uncertainty that is disturbing. Also today we see thousands of elderly people alone, abandoned in the big cities of the whole planet. And without forgetting Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, up to a total of 57 armed conflicts, of which we do not speak.
As Christians we cannot leave in silence so many realities for which we must pray together. We want to be a united body that suffers and celebrates as a family. This is our way to Easter, and the sense of union, with Mary and Joseph, who already at the foot of so many crosses of history, visible and invisible, announces the morning of resurrection. "Like the soldier who stands guard, so must we stand at the door of God our Lord: and that is prayer". St. Josemaría, Fork 73.
To pray is to awaken and to set out on the way, in communion.
If Christianity," said John Paul II, "is to be distinguished in our time above all by the art of prayer, how can we not feel a renewed need to spend long periods in spiritual conversation, in silent adoration, in an attitude of love, before Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament? How often, my dear brothers and sisters, have I made this experience and found strength, consolation and support in it!
St. Josemaría defines it as necessary for the spiritual life. Prayer is the breath that allows the life of the spirit to develop, and actualizes faith in the presence of God and his love. This can sometimes be a glance at an image of the Lord or his Mother; sometimes a request, with words; sometimes the offering of good works, a rosary in familyto attend Holy Mass or to embark on a pious ninth.
"Praying is the way to stop all the evils from which we suffer". Forge, 76. no two times of prayer are the same. The Holy Spirit, source of continuous novelty, takes the initiative, acts and waits. "Fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit who, infusing and stimulating faith, hope and love, leads us to grow in the presence of God, until we know that we are at once on earth, where we live and work, and in heaven, present through grace in our own hearts". St. Josemaría, Conversations, 116.
There is a need for "true Christians, men and women of integrity, capable of facing with an open spirit the situations that life throws at them, of serving their fellow citizens and contributing to the solution of the great problems of humanity, of bearing witness to Christ wherever they find themselves later in society". It is Christ who passes, 28.
St. Josemaría Escrivá.
The antidote for uncertain times: prayer
Sometimes it seems that prayer, although important, can hardly stop something as big as armed conflict or social injustice. But it has already shown that it can prevent wars or, if they are already happening, minimize their effects or even put an end to them. An example of this situation happened with the apparitions of Fatima. When on May 13, 1917, in the middle of the First World War, The Virgin Mary asked: "Pray the Rosary every day to achieve peace in the world and an end to war".
God tirelessly calls each person to the mysterious encounter of prayer. God is the one who takes the initiative in prayer, placing in us the desire to seek him, to speak to him, to share our life with him. The person who prays, who is ready to listen to God and to speak to him, responds to this divine initiative. When we pray, that is, when we speak to God, the one who prays is the whole person. To designate the place from which prayer springs, the Bible sometimes speaks of the soul or the spirit, and more often of the heart (more than a thousand times): It is the heart that prays.
Therefore, "Prayer is not a matter of speaking or feeling, but of loving. And one loves by making an effort to try to say something to the Lord, even if nothing is said". St. Josemaría, Furrow, no. 464. We must awaken ourselves not to the terror of difficulties, but to the humble courage of those who unite, like the early Christians, to pray with the certain conviction that Jesus on the cross is the victor of history.
Because the God of our faith is not a distant being, who contemplates indifferently the fate of mankind. He is a Father who ardently loves his children, a Creator God who overflows with affection for his creatures. And he grants man the great privilege of being able to love, thus transcending the ephemeral and transitory. St. Josemaría, Speeches about the University.
We are all in the same fight
St. Paul says, if one part of the body suffers, we all suffer. As Christians we are against suffering, war, hopelessness and lack of freedoms. We stand with those who suffer, even if they do not make the news. "Current events often make it clear that we are outraged, but not awake; frightened, but not on our feet; angry, but not on our way; in solidarity with those far away, but not so attentive to those nearby; generous, but safe in our enclosures of comfort. To pray is to wake up to what we are not seeing and recognizing about ourselves, our family, community and country, in this crucial hour of the world and the Church. What would our prayer be like if we have enough to eat and to clothe, house and roof, and we see those caravans of mothers with their children passing by and we do not offer, I do not say what we need, but what we do not use and what is empty. We must open our hearts, welcome and receive Jesus who is asking for lodging.". Miguel Márquez Calle, G. Carmelita.
Pope Francis asks all Christians to pray "that those who suffer may find ways of life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus".
For our prayer to be effective
Pope Francis tells us in his Catechesis on prayer that began on May 6, 2020. "In the face of all these difficulties we must not be discouraged, but continue to pray with humility and trust." Pope Francis.
Recollection against distractions
Prayer, like every fully personal act, requires attention and intention, awareness of God's presence and effective and sincere dialogue with Him. A condition for all this to be possible is recollection. This attitude is essential in the moments dedicated especially to prayer, cutting off other tasks and trying to avoid distractions. But it should not be limited to those times, but should extend to habitual recollection, which is identified with a faith and a love that, filling the heart, lead one to try to live all one's actions in reference to God, whether expressly or implicitly.
Hope against aridity
Many times we are down, that is to say that we have no feelings, we have no consolations, we can't go on any longer. They are those gray days..., and there are many of them in life! But the danger is in having a gray heart. When this "being down" reaches the heart and makes it ill..., and there are people who live with a gray heart. This is terrible: one cannot pray, one cannot feel consolation with a gray heart! Or one cannot carry on a spiritual aridity with a gray heart. The heart must be open and luminous, so that the light of the Lord may enter. And if it does not enter, it is necessary to wait for it with hope. But do not close it in the gray.
Perseverance against acedia
What is a real temptation against prayer and, more generally, against the Christian life.. Acedia is "a form of harshness or unpleasantness due to laziness, laxity of asceticism, carelessness of vigilance, negligence of the heart". CIC, 2733. It is one of the seven "deadly sins" because, fueled by presumption, it can lead to the death of the soul. In these moments, the importance of another of the qualities of prayer, perseverance, becomes evident.. The raison d'être of prayer is not the obtaining of benefits, nor the search for satisfactions, pleasures or consolations, but communion with God; hence the necessity and value of perseverance in prayer, which is always, with or without encouragement and joy, a living encounter with God. Catechism 2742-2745, 2746-2751.
Without a full trust in God and in his love, there will be no prayer, at least sincere prayer and capable of overcoming trials and difficulties. It is not only a matter of trusting that a particular request will be answered, but of the security that we have in the one we know loves us and understands us, and to whom we can therefore open our hearts without reserve. Catechism , 2734-2741.
-Catechesis of Pope Francis on prayer, 2020.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church.
-John Paul II, Litt. Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2004.
-St. Josemaría, Discourses on the University. The commitment to truth (May 9, 1974).