Communication of Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus and Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network

Dear Friends:

During his recent visit to Mexico, in his homily to priests and religious, Pope Francis said: “There is a well-known saying, which affirms: ‘Tell me how you pray and I will tell you how you live; tell me how you live and I will tell you how you pray,’ because if you show me how you pray, I will learn to discover discover the God that you live for, and if you show me how you live, I will come to believe in the God that you pray to, because our life speaks of prayer and prayer speaks of our life. One learns to pray as one learns to walk, talk and listen. The school of prayer is the school of life, and the school of life is where we go to find a school of prayer.”

These are beautiful and deep words telling us that prayer is essential for life and for the Christian mission. A brilliant way to recall something that was part of the initial intuition of the Apostleship of Prayer, born more than 170 years ago: making a prayer out of life and making a life based on prayer. An intuition which during all this time has nourished and continues to nourish the life of many millions of believers.

Nevertheless, our world is a world in rapid transformation. Our cultures are very different from the culture in which the Apostleship of Prayer was born and unfolded over decades. The forms and expressions in use for more than a century and a half have been shown to be no longer adequate. For this reason, in 2010 I asked those responsible for the Apostleship of Prayer for a profound renewal of this pontifical service. A renewal which has found a good formulation in the document “Journeying with Jesus in Apostolic Availability,” and has received the approval of Pope Francis.

At this moment I can say that I am content with the way in which this service to the Church is been renewed. We now have at our disposal a new language, which shows how praying and offering our life signifies making ourselves available to the mission of Christ’ a language which highlights the need to join together prayer and life more explicitly, the need to take on ourselves the task of transforming our prayer according to the intentions of the Pope in an effective collaboration, to confront the great challenges which are presented to humanity and to the Church.

Besides this, for the purpose of spreading the pontifical intentions among the new generations we want to use the methods which technology puts at the disposition of the evangelization mission of the Church. For this reason we are very happy with the launch, in these days of the app “Click to Pray”, “24 hours for the Lord” to help pilgrims to pray according to the intentions of Pope Francis in this Jubilee of Mercy, which is very dear to him. He has already spoken of this to Msgr. Fisichella: “It will be necessary to accompany these celebrations with the profession of faith and with prayer for me and for the intentions which I carry in my heart, for the good of the Church and for the whole world.”

I am pleased because the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, as the Apostleship of Prayer is now called, can thus contribute, modestly, to the Year of Mercy. I am sure that this project will help in a simple and renewed way to pray for the challenges of this world, with its joys and its sorrows, accompanying those who work day by day to confront them, and sustaining in this way the mission of the Church.

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