Seeking him, finding him, getting to know him, loving him

Interior life is strengthened by a daily struggle in your practices of piety, which you should fulfil – or rather which you should live – lovingly, for the path we travel as children of God is a path of Love. – St Josemaria, The Forge

I have distinguished as it were four stages in our effort to identify ourselves with Christ: seeking him, finding him, getting to know him, loving him. It may seem clear to you that you are only at the first stage. Seek him then, hungrily; seek him within yourselves with all your strength. If you act with determination, I am ready to guarantee that you have already found him, and have begun to get to know him and to love him, and to hold your conversation in heaven (cf Phil 3:20).

Try to commit yourself to a plan of life and to keep to it: a few minutes of mental prayer, Holy Mass — daily, if you can manage it — and frequent Communion; regular recourse to the Holy Sacrament of Forgiveness — even though your conscience does not accuse you of mortal sin; visiting Jesus in the Tabernacle; praying and contemplating the mysteries of the Holy Rosary, and so many other marvellous devotions you know or can learn…

Please don’t forget that the important thing does not lie in doing many things; limit yourself, generously, to those you can fulfil each day, whether or not you happen to feel like doing them. These pious practices will lead you, almost without your realising it, to contemplative prayer. Your soul will pour forth more acts of love, aspirations, acts of thanksgiving, acts of atonement, spiritual communions. And this will happen while you go about your ordinary duties, when you answer the telephone, get on to a bus, open or close a door, pass in front of a church, when you begin a new task, during it and when you have finished it: you will find yourself referring everything you do to your Father God.

– St Josemaria, Friends of God

The Rosary

The Rosary is the queen of all devotions. It is a prayer so simple Rosaryand humble, yet, as history has shown us, is among the most powerful prayers the Church possesses in its spiritual arsenal. It is its power to form the greatest saints and also the power to conquer the enemies of the Church that sets it apart from all other prayers outside the Liturgy and the sacraments. It is heaven’s prayer of choice for the Church in distress when the power of God is needed more than ever. And this is undoubtedly manifested at Fatima in 1917, that year of great spiritual revolution, where Our Lady revealed herself as “Our Lady of the Rosary.” Why is this so significant? Let’s take a look.

Put simply, the Rosary is the perfect devotion composed of the three greatest prayers—the Our Father (given to us by Christ Himself), the Hail Mary (given to us through the words of the Angel and the prayer of the Church) and the Glory Be (sung by the heavenly host in the Book of Revelation)—all of which are preceded by the Creed, that disposes our souls directly to God and puts demons to flight. So, the prayers of the Rosary are given to us by GodHimself through His direct revelation of the mysteries of Redemption as recorded in Sacred Scripture and transmitted by the Church. On top of these prayers we reflect on the saving mysteries of Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Church. And we do all this while “fingering the beads”. In short, we have a thoroughly incarnational prayer that occupies every part of our Christian person: body, mind and spirit. St. John Paul II emphasizes that, at the heart of the Rosary, is a pathway to deep contemplation: “The most important reason for strongly encouraging the practice of the Rosary is that it represents a most effective means of fostering among the faithful that commitment to the contemplation of the Christian mystery which I have proposed in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte as a genuine ‘training in holiness’: ‘What is needed is a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 5).

– Excerpt from The Powerful Crown of Roses by Dr Peter Howard