Presence of God – Accept, O Lord, my humble prayer that Your kingdom may come.
When Jesus died on the Cross for us, the redemption of mankind became an accomplished fact. Thereafter, every one coming into this world is already redeemed, in the sense that the precious Blood of Jesus has already merited for him all the graces necessary for his salvation and also for his sanctification. What still remains to be done is the application of these graces to each individual soul; and, it is for this that God wishes our collaboration. He wants it so much that He has made the granting of certain graces, necessary for our salvation and that of others, dependent upon our prayers. In other words, by the merits of Jesus, grace—God’s infinite mercy—is ready to be poured out abundantly into men’s souls, but it will not be poured out unless there is someone who raises supplicating hands to heaven, asking for it. If prayer does not ascend to the throne of the Most High, grace will not be granted. This explains the absolute necessity for apostolic prayer and its great efficacy. “This kind [of devil] is not cast out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:20), Jesus has said. There is no substitute for prayer because prayer draws grace directly from its source, God. Our activity, our words, and works can prepare the ground for grace, but if we do not pray, it will not come down to refresh souls.
In the light of these truths we can better appreciate the importance of the insistent exhortations of Jesus in respect to prayer: “We ought always to pray and not to faint…. Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you” (Luke 18:1, 11:9). We can never be certain that all our prayers will be answered according to our expectation, for we do not know if what we ask is conformable to God’s will; but when it is a question of apostolic prayer which asks for grace and the salvation of souls, it is a very different matter. In fact, when we pray for the aims of the apostolate, we are fitting into the plan prearranged by God Himself from all eternity, that plan for the salvation of all men which God desires to put into action infinitely more than we do; therefore, we cannot doubt the efficacy of our prayer. Because of this effectiveness, apostolic prayer is one of the most powerful means of furthering the apostolate.
“O eternal Father, I offer You the Blood shed by Your Son with such deep love and ardent charity for the salvation of men.
“O Jesus, I offer You the innumerable drops of Blood which You shed so freely at Your dreadful scourging, and as You shed it for all Your members, so do I offer it to You for all the members of holy Church, whose Head You are. I offer It to You so that Your “Christs,” your priests, may once again be the light of the world, that Your virgins may not be of the number of the foolish virgins, that infidels and heretics may return to your fold and that all souls may be saved.
“O eternal Word, I want to speak to You as You did to us. In truth, I say to You that I would sacrifice a thousand lives, if I had them, to help save these souls. I do not want to depart from this life until You have enlightened some one of them. But I am not worthy to be heard. Hear not one who is so presumptuous, but answer Your own Blood. You cannot fail Yourself; hear then, O Jesus, the voice of Your Blood.
“O eternal Father, that love which moved You to create men, urges You also to infuse Your light into them. I well know that You do infuse it, but they do not accept it. What is the reason for this? My ingratitude. I know, O my God, my ingratitude, but I have not plumbed its depths. Punish me for their offenses; punish me for their sins. Oh! how wretched I am to be the cause of so much ingratitude and wickedness.
“If I could, I would take all men and lead them to the bosom of Your Holy Church, so that she could cleanse them of all their infidelities, regenerate them like a mother, and then nourish them with the sweet milk of the holy Sacraments” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).
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Art for this post on “Apostolic Prayer”: Mirror of Maiden Meditation, Charles West Cope, 1847, CCA-SA 4.0 International, Wikimedia Commons; Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.