It is God who speaks through the mouth of the Missionary who prays
The prayer is the great secret of the missionary life
The Letter to the Colossians
“Pray for us, too, that God may open a door to us for the word, to speak of the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, that I may make it clear, as I must speak.” (Col 4:3-4)
From Church documents
“It is the heart that prays. If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2562)
“Imbued with a living faith and a hope that never fails, the missionary should be a man of prayer.”
(Second Vatican. Council, Decree on the Mission Activity on the Church, Ad Gentes, n. 25)
“Among the forms of sharing, first place goes to spiritual cooperation through prayer, sacrifice and the witness of Christian life. Prayer should accompany the journey of missionaries so that the proclamation of the word will be effective through God’s grace.” (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Redemptoris Missio, n. 78)
From the writings of Blessed Father Paolo Manna
“When our heart is united to God in the intimacy of meditation and prayer, then we will be fervent and our love will inspire us with that diligent, practical persevering and untiring zeal which characterizes the true apostle of Jesu Christ.” (P. Manna, Virtù Apostoliche, Milan 1944, p. 49)
“A purely active life does not exist. […] The missionary is Mary in contemplation, Martha in exterior action. The missionary who wants to do only the part of Martha is reprimanded by our Lord, is not blessed, and accomplishes nothing.” (P. Manna, Virtù Apostoliche, Milan 1944, pp. 199-200)
“The man of prayer, immersed as he is in supernatural light.” (P. Manna, Chiamati alla santità, Naples 1977, p. 122)
“The missionary, who is truly a man of prayer, only he can appear in front of people as a messenger of God, as if he had a mission just for them. […] The missionary, inflamed in prayer by the fire of the Holy Spirit, truly converts souls and makes true Christians. They, allowing the same fire to fill them, also become apostles of the faith to be shared among their own fellow countrymen.” (P. Manna, Virtù Apostoliche, Milan 1944, p. 202)
“It is worthwhile to know how to preach, but it is much more worthwhile to know to pray. The missionary who has learned the language well and knows how to preach, but prays little, can expound perfectly on the truths of our religion, but he leaves the people cold. The missionary who has much intimacy with God in prayer, even if he is not the best in his presentation, will always have the gift of planting the spirit of Jesus Christ in souls […]. The former will teach about Jesu Christ; the latter will make Him visible.” (P. Manna, Virtù Apostoliche, Milan 1944, p. 56)
“The missionary dedicated to prayer obliges the Holy Spirit to work and so brings about true conversions.” (P. Manna, Virtù Apostoliche, Milan 1944, p. 201)
“God tells us through the mouth of the missionary who prays.” (P. Manna, Virtù Apostoliche, Milan 1944, p. 197)
“Prayer and action. First prayer and then action.” (P. Manna, Chiamati alla santità, Naples 1977, p. 265)
The omission of the prayer because of work is it “not leaving God because of God? What a huge error: this is really leaving God because of the devil. O yes, the devil has no fear of certain Catholic works which are based upon clamor, confusion and self-love; he lets us do them, he helps us…and he laughs at us. It is the interior virtues and prayer which bother him the most.” (P. Manna, Virtù Apostoliche, Milan 1944, p. 192)
“It’s no wonder that people don’t listen to us, if we don’t know how to listen to God, if it bothers us to spend time with him in prayer, if we can’t stay one hour in front of the holy tabernacle.” (P. Manna, Virtù Apostoliche, Milan 1944, p. 195)
Questions for reflection
· What place does prayer have in my daily life?
· How strong is the belief that God is the one who guides history, time and events?
· Do I let God act freely in my life without raising barriers?
· How much and how does my prayer accompany the missionaries around the world with their needs?
· To those to whom I am sent do I express that “prayer is the first and most powerful form of missionary cooperation?”
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
that I always may be holy.
O my God and Father,
grant that I may know you and make you known,
that I love you and bring others to love you,
that I serve you and persuade others to serve you,
that I praise you and work
that all your creatures praise you.
Grant my Father that all sinners be converted,
that all the just persevere in grace
and all of us reach eternal glory.
St. Anthony Mary Claret