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2024, a year dedicated to prayer

on Friday, 01 March 2024. Posted in Editorial

On January 21st, the Sunday of the Word of God, Pope Francis announced the beginning of a year of prayer to prepare for Holy Year 2025, the Great Jubilee Year. According to the Holy Father, 2024 should allow "a rediscovery of the great value and absolute necessity of prayer. I ask you to intensify your prayer in order to live this time of grace."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has an entire section on prayer. St. John Damascene said: "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God." Prayer is what unites us to God, and the means of obtaining His graces, because it allows us to humbly acknowledge that we need God's help and forgiveness, and that without Him we can do nothing.

There are prayers of praise and of thanksgiving, but the fundamental prayer is that of petition. "Ask and you shall receive," Jesus tells us. However, as well as asking favours for ourselves, we can and should also ask for help for others: peace in the world, the conversion of sinners, the deliverance of souls in purgatory, etc. This is known as intercessory prayer.

God's grace can also be obtained through the sacraments, but even in the absence of a priest, prayer is accessible to everyone at any time and in any place. St. John Chrysostom wrote: "It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop... while buying or selling... or even while cooking." Praying is a vital necessity. St. Alphonsus de Liguori said: "Whoever prays will certainly save himself; whoever does not pray will certainly be damned."

It is enough to start talking to God, to say "I love you" or "Help me, please come to my aid." As Saint Therese of the Child Jesus said, "For me, prayer is a surge of the heart. It is a simple turn toward heaven, a cry of recognition and love, embracing both trial and joy." Even by saying, "Lord I don't know how to pray," we have begun to pray.

One day, when Jesus had finished a time of prayer, one of his disciples asked: "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples" (Lk 11:1). It was then that Jesus entrusted to his disciples and to the Church the Lord's Prayer, the beautiful "Our Father" which contains seven requests, including that His will be done, that He give us our daily bread, that we be forgiven as we forgive others, and so on.

There are several forms of prayer recommended by the Church, including the Liturgy of the Hours (Lauds and Vespers) and the recitation of the psalms.  The  most accessible prayer,  the one recommended by the Blessed Virgin Mary in all her apparitions, is the Rosary. We recite the Hail Mary, Our Father and Glory Be while meditating on the mysteries in the lives of Jesus and Mary. In these difficult times, praying the Rosary is much needed.

In this issue, we continue to reflect on the various aspects of the life of Louis Even, the founder of MICHAEL, who passed away 50 years ago. The whole earth belongs to the Lord, and if Jesus reigns in our hearts, Satan will have no place there, and God's justice will be accomplished in our actions and in society. This is what Louis Even explained by meditating on the hymn "We want God" (see page 4).

Louis Even was born into a family of saints (see page 12). Love of Jesus and love of neighbour inspired him to establish the work of MICHAEL (see page 9), and to be indignant in the face of injustice (see page 14).

The Movement Louis Even began denounces anything which stands in the way of God's plan. First and foremost is the current financial system, which creates money in the form of unpayable debts (see page 16). The solution provided in the system of Economic Democracy (see page 18), ensures that the goods of the earth reach all human beings. God is always at work, ready to help us if we pray and ask Him. This is what the lives of the saints show us, like that of Saint Mary of the Incarnation (see page 28). Enjoy reading!

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