A Vincentian View: A Great Symphony of Prayer

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

In preparation for the Jubilee Year 2025, Pope Francis has invited the Christian community to center 2024 around the theme of prayer (Letter of Pope Francis, 11 February 2022).   We read these wonderful lines:

In this time of preparation, I would greatly desire that we devote 2024, the year preceding the Jubilee event, to a great “symphony” of prayer. Prayer, above all else, to renew our desire to be in the presence of the Lord, to listen to him and to adore him. Prayer, moreover, to thank God for the many gifts of his love for us and to praise his work in creation, which summons everyone to respect it and to take concrete and responsible steps to protect it. Prayer as the expression of a single “heart and soul” (cf. Acts 4:32), which then translates into solidarity and the sharing of our daily bread. Prayer that makes it possible for every man and woman in this world to turn to the one God and to reveal to him what lies hidden in the depths of their heart. Prayer as the royal road to holiness, which enables us to be contemplative even in the midst of activity. In a word, may it be an intense year of prayer in which hearts are opened to receive the outpouring of God’s grace and to make the “Our Father,” the prayer Jesus taught us, the life programme of each of his disciples.

To assist in this intention, the Vatican has commissioned eight booklets, each of which picks up a particular theme around prayer (https://www.iubilaeum2025.va/en/giubileo-2025/verso-il-giubileo/2024-anno-della-preghiera.html).  Many of these booklets have already been written in Italian, but the English versions (done in India) are not yet available—though promised soon.  Already available free online is the “Teach Us to Pray” pastoral resource (https://www.iubilaeum2025.va/en/giubileo-2025/verso-il-giubileo/2024-anno-della-preghiera/insegnaci-a-pregare.html) which suggests different ways to pray for different communities.  And so, a significant amount of material beckons us to reflect upon the content and method of our turning to our God in words of worship and closeness.

One of our most well-known statements of St. Vincent is this one: “Give me a person of prayer, and such a one will be capable of accomplishing anything.” Vincent’s had great confidence in prayer and its ability to accomplish so much good through the ministry of a faithful follower.  We can be captured by his instruction to a Daughter who gets up from prayer to go to the apostolate as “leaving God for God.”  But, we might also imagine him intending the statement in the other direction: “leaving the ministry in order to join the community in prayer.”

Pope Francis encourages us to be a people of prayer.  Our Scriptures offer a wealth of examples of prayers and pray-ers.  The words of our Founders emphasize the importance of prayer in our Family.  The starting point for our following this guidance comes through the Holy Spirit who can inspire us to turn to our God in beautiful and heartfelt praise.  This year offers an opportunity to challenge ourselves on how we make use of this gift.  Yes, Lord, teach us to pray.

1 Comment

  1. Tom M

    Very hellpful reflections on Prayer….