Quotations from Saint Josemaria
The Prayer of Jesus
And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him followed him, and they found him and said to him, Everyone is searching for you (Mk 1:35-37).
In these days he went out into the hills to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles (Lk 6:12-13).
It is very important to note carefully what the Messiah did, because he came to show us the path that leads to the Father. With Our Lord we will discover how to give a supernatural dimension to all our actions, even those that seem least important. We will learn to live every moment of our lives with a lively awareness of eternity, and we will understand more deeply man’s need for periods of intimate conversation with his God, so as to get to know him, to call on him, to praise him, to break out into acts of thanksgiving, to listen to him or, quite simply, to be with him.
Many years ago, as I reflected upon our Lord’s way of doing things, I came to the conclusion that the apostolate, of whatever kind it be, must be an overflow of the interior life. This is why the passage, which relates how Christ decided to choose the first twelve, seems to me to be so natural and at the same time so supernatural. Saint Luke tells us that before choosing them he spent the whole night in prayer. Think also of the events at Bethany. Before he raises Lazarus from the dead, after having wept over his friend, he lifts his eyes to heaven and says, Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer. This is his message for us: if we wish to help others, if we really wish to encourage them to discover the true meaning of their life on earth, we must base everything on prayer.
There are so many Gospel scenes where Jesus talks to his Father that we cannot stop to consider them all. But I do feel we must pause to consider the intense hours preceding his Passion and Death, when Christ prepares to carry out the Sacrifice that will bring us back once more to God’s Love. In the intimacy of the Upper Room the Heart of Jesus overflows with love; he turns to the Father in prayer, announces the coming of the Holy Spirit, and encourages his disciples to maintain the fervor of their charity and their faith.
Our Redeemer’s mood of fervent recollection continues in the Garden of Gethsemani, as he perceives that his Passion is about to begin, with all its humiliation and suffering close at hand, the harsh cross on which criminals are hanged and which he has longed for so ardently. Father, if it pleases thee, take away this chalice from before me. And immediately he adds, Yet not my will but thine be done. Later, nailed to the Cross, alone, with his arms opened wide in a gesture of an eternal priest, he continues his dialogue with his Father, Into thy hands I commend my spirit.
Friends of God, 239