An Atmosphere of Prayer
It is essential for us as a community to foster an atmosphere of prayer in our houses. Amid the demands of our work and apostolate, our founder urged us to foster “the cloister of the heart.” Our heart is a shrine where God and our Blessed Mother constantly wait for an encounter of love. Cultivating an uplifting atmosphere – either through our speaking or our silence – opens us for these encounters with the divine.
Our prayer life is deeply Marian. She is our example of prayer. Moreover, in our prayer we foster our covenant of love with the Blessed Mother. We cultivate our attachment to the shrine, the favorite place of all the sisters to pray and be with God and the Blessed Mother. We hold adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and call it a “Marian guard of honor” because we want to love and adore Christ as Mary did. We spend time in prayer with our father and founder and let his love for Mary enkindle our own hearts. All of our community prayers – most of them written by Father Kentenich – have a strong Marian element. Our day is filled with hymns of love and praise to Our Lady.
Our apostolic and professional work encompasses much of our time; our founder wanted it this way because of our marked apostolic mission. But he also emphasized the importance of quality times of prayer throughout the day that would unite us with God and give us strength and depth for our daily work. In fact, the atmosphere we create in and around us through our life of prayer is in itself an apostolate.
This atmosphere of prayer helps to secure that our entire day becomes a prayer in which we adore God’s will and strive to live in union with him wherever we are, in all we do.
We are surrounded by the world, its values and goods. Our times need people who radiate the features of God, who represent God, who bring to our world a “taste of heaven,” who make God and Mary present and tangible for others. In order to give to others this experience of God’s presence, we must seek his presence in our own lives.
“We have to represent a stream of life and radiate a religious atmosphere. That is an inconspicuous but exceedingly effective apostolate.”
(Father Joseph Kentenich)