CHAPTER IV Prayer
40.--§1.--Christ, the Lord, remaining always in intimate union with the Father, used to seek his will in prayer. That will was the sole aim of his life, mission, and giving of himself for the salvation of the world. He likewise taught his disciples to pray always in the same spirit, and never to lose heart. § 2.--We, too, sanctified in Christ and sent into the world, should try to seek out in prayer the signs of God's will and to imitate the responsiveness of Christ, discerning everything according to his mind. In this way our lives are changed by the Holy Spirit into a spiritual offering, and we become better disposed to participate in Christ's mission.
41.--"Give me a man of prayer and he will be ready for anything." (SV, XI, 83) According to the mind of St. Vincent, prayer is the living source of the spiritual life of a missioner; through it he puts on Christ, becomes steeped in the teachings of the gospel, discerns things and events as before God, and remains always in God's love and mercy. In this way the Spirit of Christ will always make our words and actions effective.
42.--Apostolic involvement with the world, community life, and the experience of God in prayer complement one another and make an organic unity in the life of a missioner. For, when we pray, faith, fraternal love, and apostolic zeal are constantly renewed; and in action, the love of God and neighbor is effectively manifested. Through the intimate union of prayer and apostolate a missioner becomes a contemplative in action and an apostle in prayer.
43.--The prayer of a missioner should be characterized by a filial spirit, humility, confidence in providence, and love of the goodness of God; thus we learn to pray as people who are poor in spirit, knowing for certain that our weakness is made strong by the power of the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit enlightens our minds to know more thoroughly the needs of the world, and strengthens our wills to respond to them more effectively.
44.--We should find a unique experience of prayer in the ministry of the word, of the sacraments, and of charity, and in the events of life. Likewise, in evangelizing the poor, we should find Christ and contemplate him in them. Finally, in exercising pastoral care for the people to whom we are sent, we ought to pray not only for them but also with them, sharing spontaneously, as it were, in their faith and devotion.
45.--We should cultivate liturgical prayer in a way which is both alive and authentic. § 1.--Our life should be directed towards the daily celebration of the Lord's Supper as towards its summit, for from the Eucharist, as from a living source, flows the power of our apostolic activity and fraternal communion. Through the Eucharist, the death and resurrection of Christ are made present, we become in Christ a living offering, and the communion of the People of God is signified and brought about. § 2.--We should frequently approach the sacrament of penance so that we might achieve continuing conversion and authenticity of vocation. § 3.--In celebrating the liturgy of the hours, we unite our hearts and voices to sing the praises of the Lord, raise our prayer continually in his sight, and intercede for people everywhere. For this reason we celebrate morning and evening prayer in common, unless excused by reason of the apostolate.
46.--In community prayer we find an excellent way of animating and renewing our lives, especially when we celebrate the word of God and share it, or when in fraternal dialogue we share with one another the fruit of our spiritual and apostolic experience.
47.--§ 1.--We should try, as far as possible, to spend one hour daily in personal prayer according to the tradition of St. Vincent, either in private or in common. In this way we are enabled to discern the mind of Christ and to find suitable ways of fulfilling his mission. Moreover, personal prayer prepares for, expands, and completes liturgical and community prayer. § 2.--We should faithfully make our annual retreat.
48.--As witnesses and heralds of the love of God, we ought to show special honor and devotion to the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation.
49.--§1.--We should also show special devotion to Mary, the Mother of Christ and of the Church. According to the words of St. Vincent, she, more than all other believers, penetrated the meaning and lived out the teaching of the gospel. § 2.--We should express our love for the Immaculate Virgin Mary in many different ways, celebrating her feasts with devotion and praying to her frequently, especially through the rosary. We should make widely known the special message expressed through her maternal care by the Miraculous Medal.
50.--We should cherish devotion to St. Vincent and to the canonized and beatified members of the Vincentian Family. We should constantly return to the heritage of our Founder, expressed in his writings and in the traditions of the Congregation, that we may learn to love what he loved and practice what he taught.