Apostleship of Prayer

Author: AOP

PRAYING FOR AND WITH THE CHURCH We pray with Christ for the needs of the world and of the Church. We are concerned over the salvation of the world because in baptism we receive life from God and participate in Christ's Filiation: we are "sons and daughters in the Son", we are his members, we form his Body. We are bound to the Church because we are cells belonging to the living organism of which Christ is the head; we have received the same mission that Christ received from the Father: "You are the light of the world" (Mt 5:14), "Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good News to all creation" (Mk 16:15). The Church possesses different charisms for the accomplishment of this mission, but prayer is a valid means for all people. Active apostles, like Saint Francis Xavier, and contemplative nuns, like Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, prayed and so were apostles and evangelizers. Christians who remain in their homes and missionaries who go out to distant places can be apostles for the rest of the world, through their prayer, which becomes one with the prayer of the risen Christ. This is why the members of the AP offer each day in union with Christ, who offers himself to the Father in the Eucharist for the entire world, and why they particularly commend the Holy Father's intentions. These reflect the most urgent and important needs of the Church and the world and reflect the concerns of the universal Pastor, the successor of Saint Peter, from his vantage point, from which he can see the universal panorama of the Church and the world. They are the concerns and anxieties of the Heart of Christ! In entrusting these intentions to the AP, John Paul appears implicitly to repeat his message to the AP at the audience of June 1, 1992: "God manifests himself through the Heart of Jesus asking to be understood in his absolute will to love, to forgive, to save; through the Heart of Jesus God teaches us that the Church, in her ministry and in her teaching, must always be loving and sensitive, and never aggressive and oppressive, though she must always condemn evil and correct errors; through the Heart of Jesus God makes us understand that we must participate in his work of salvation through the 'apostolate of prayer' and the duty of reparation. Justly, therefore, the Movement of the 'Apostleship of Prayer' has these three ideas and goals: the proclamation and witness to the infinite treasures of the Heart of Jesus, who only wishes to love his creatures and be loved by them; the constant awareness of the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, maintaining the devotion to the Eucharist alive and profound through Holy Mass, Communion and the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament on the Altar; the commitment to reparation, as Jesus himself expressed it in his message to Margaret Mary, even through sacrifice and suffering." (Excerpted from Prayer and Service, [December, 1994] published by the General Secretariat of the Apostleship of Prayer, Rome) ============== The Apostleship of Prayer is a union of the faithful who, by their daily oblation, unite themselves with the Eucharistic Sacrifice in which the work of our redemption is continuously accomplished. By this vital bond with Christ, they cooperate in the salvation of the world. But this bond with Christ the High Priest necessarily requires an intimate bond with him through personal love. For this reason, the Apostleship of Prayer has given singular importance to devotion to the Heart of Jesus. Each Sunday, the celebrant leads the people in offering themselves, with Christ, to God the Father. It is important that they extend this self-offering throughout the week embracing all their day-to-day activity--their prayer, their work in the home or office, their joys and recreation, their tensions, headaches and sacrifices. This is how the laity 'consecrate their world to God'. The Apostleship of Prayer is a form of spirituality that helps them to do this in a simple, concrete way. It gives them a technique--the Daily Offering, and it gives them a motive--the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It presents them with a practical way of living life in union with Christ and making him truly present in the world. And they will adopt this way of life readily because of the compelling need they feel to respond to God's love; a love he has revealed in a visible, human fashion in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That is why Pope Pius XII called the Apostleship of Prayer 'the sum total of Christian perfection' and 'the most perfect form of Christian life'. It is why Pope John Paul II said the practice of the Daily Offering is 'of fundamental importance in the life of each and every one of the faithful'. "That graces may flow more abundantly from devotion to the Sacred Heart, let the faithful strive to join it closely with devotion to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God." -- Pius XII The AP was born in 1844 out of the apostolic restlessness of a group of Jesuit seminarians at Vals, France. These young men, destined for the missions of America and India, were impatient with their dull routine of study and eager to get on with their work as missionaries. Their spiritual director, Fr. Francois Xavier Gautrelet, in a conference to them, pointed out that the end they desired--the salvation of souls--was a supernatural end and that supernatural means were the best and quickest way to accomplish that end. Thus, their prayer, study, work, recreation, headaches, offered in union with Christ's sacrifice as renewed in the Mass, would advance the work of the missions as much as their direct work in the field. The idea quickly caught on and was spread to others; and thus was developed an apostolic spirituality of prayer and activity. This soon was formalized into what we know as the Morning (or Daily) Offering, to help people unite their daily lives to the oblation of Christ for the intentions close to His Heart.