On November 5, in St. Eugene's Basilica in Rome, the Prelate of Opus Dei conferred ordination as deacons on 35 faithful of the Prelature. In his homily, Bishop Echevarría encouraged the deacons and all the faithful to lead a life of intense prayer. As Ferdinand Cancelli wrote in an article published in L'Osservatore Romano on November 16, 2011, a few days after the ordination, the contemplative life (drawing close to God—getting to know him and to know oneself, as St. Josemaria said in no. 91 of The Way) was the central topic in the homily, of which we now offer a few points:

“Prayer is more than just reciting vocal prayers, although this can be very good, as long as it is done calmly and attentively.”

“Naturally, a Christian cannot be satisfied with just this way of turning towards God: we need to carry on a personal conversation with him, one to one; a conversation made up of listening to his voice and speaking in our own words.”

“Benedict XVI has been carrying out a catechesis about prayer. Through it, he seeks to encourage Christians to speak to our Lord, to our Lady, to the saints, in a habitual way, not only in times of need.”

“Our goal has to be to reach the stage when we can become people who know that they are always in God’s presence and who, as a consequence, try to keep up a conversation with him in every circumstance.”

He also told the faithful: “Don't think that this is something very difficult. To pray is to direct our thoughts towards our Creator in a spirit of adoration, thanksgiving, asking for help… Prayer answers to the deepest desires of the human heart, because we have been created to love and serve God on earth, and then to be happy with him forever.”
Citing words of Benedict XVI, he continued: “Nowadays we are taken up with so many activities and duties; for this reason, today more than ever we need to find specific moments to talk to God, ‘moments for silent recollection, to meditate on what the Lord wants to teach us, on how he is present and active in the world and in our life: to be able to stop for a moment and meditate.’ ”

“The Holy Father recalls that St. Augustine compared meditation to the assimilation of food, and used a verb that recurs throughout the Christian tradition, ‘to ruminate.’ ”

“In order for the Gospel passages and the mysteries of God to end up becoming something familiar to us, being a guide for our lives and nourishing us spiritually, we have to make them resonate within us.”

“And let us not forget that having frequent recourse to the sacrament of Confession is another way of praying, because God’s forgiveness helps us to pray with peace.”

“If, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we take seriously the times we devote to meditation, we will be amazed at their effect on our lives and the lives of others: we will be more serene and contented, because worries will fade away like mist in the sunshine; we will pay more attention to serving others; we will do our work better and contribute to carrying out an abundant sowing of peace and joy all over the world.”

Romana, No. 53, July-December 2011, p. 256-257.

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