The Liturgy of the Hours “Work gladly for God”

Author: SSpSAP
Subject: Constitution 113: Spirit of Prayer The Gift of Fortitude
Language: English, Spanish
Publisher: SSpSAP Generalate
Year: 1997
Mother Mary Michael Tonnies
  1. Bl. Arnold was deeply convinced that every work in God’s kingdom depends on grace and grace is given as the result of prayer. (MM 1 p. 11)
  2. He said to the Adoration Sisters: “You will surely get many and various intentions to pray for and it is good to pray for them. But the main portion of your prayer belongs to Christ and his Church, his intentions, his service, his love and to the salvation of souls.” (MM 2 p. 34)
  3. It was this sense of praying with Christ and the Church that led Mother Mary Michael to request that the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Hours, be the choir prayer for the Congregation. (MMM 2 p. 48)
  4. She understood well that the Liturgy of the Hours rehearses the many and diverse ways of God’s self-disclosure and of our response, all of which reach their fullness in the dialogue of Christ with his Father in the Holy Spirit. The Church at prayer contemplates this dialogue of salvation, praises God for the mystery at work among us and asks for the completion of salvation, the reconciliation of all things to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. (OSB n. 17)
  5. In the very act of celebrating aspects of the mystery of salvation, the power of that mystery is effectively present to the praying community. It transforms them day by day in the measure that they are open to the Holy Spirit, gift of the Risen Christ, in their midst. (OSB n. 18)
  6. With and in Christ by its celebration of the liturgy of the hours, a contemplative community gives voice by the power of the Holy Spirit to the words of praise, repentance and supplication in the hearts of all people. (OSBn.25)
  7. For Mother Mary Michael, the perpetual adoration of the exposed Blessed Sacrament, intensified the community’s awareness of sharing in the eternal high priestly prayer of the Risen Lord, present in the Blessed Sacrament- A Divine Word missionary spoke of the power of this witness after the foundation of the Convent of Divine Love at Lipa in 1923: “The Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration will be pleading day and night with the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus for more holy and worthy vocations to the priesthood and religious state who will be the salt of the earth and will devote themselves totally to the Lord and the salvation of immortal souls.” (MMM 1 p. 18)
  8. Bl. Maria Virgo knew that the Lord is present in the sacrament of his love in order to be united with us and to bring about in us the mystery of his adoration and surrender to the Father. In and through us the Risen Lord seeks to give life and holiness to the world. (BMVp.116)
  9. For Mother Mary Michael and Bl. Maria Virgo, the liturgy of the hours and perpetual adoration were occasions for casting their cares upon the Lord. Quoting the verse from Psalm 55: “Cast your care upon the Lord”, Mother Mary Michael would say: “The Sisters should pay attention to the expression ‘cast’. It is very clear that when I cast something away, I’m rid of it. So we, too, should cast all our cares upon the Lord.” (MMM 1 pp. 21-22)
  10. Mother Mary Michael saw “Working gladly for God” and “Talking things over with God” as two aspects of perpetual adoration. She said: “Everything must be a prayer for a sister of perpetual adoration, even work. Yes, we can and we must be adorers everywhere, in every corner of the house; in this way we shall truly be ‘perpetual adorers’”. (MMM 2 p. 166)
  11. We find the same spirit in Bl. Maria Virgo who wrote to Bl. Arnold in 1894: “Even when carrying out external duties, I feel an almost constant longing and desire for silence so that I might serve God undisturbed in prayer and work.” (BMV p. 126)
  12. She cultivated the “prayer of loving attention” and sought to dwell in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord. She walked lovingly and prayerfully through her daily work without any dichotomy occurring. (BMV p. 125)
  13. Bl. Maria Virgo saw that the interior recollection necessary for prayer is disturbed mainly by the emotions, e.g., annoyance, discord, anger, envy, resentment and jealousy.
Hence, she wrote to the Sisters in Argentina a few months before her death: “If sisterly love is truly present in a convent, everything is so much easier; very many failings are avoided; interior recollection is more easily maintained; you can relate to God in prayer with far less disturbance; and all the other religious duties can be fulfilled with greater joy and ease.” (BMVp.155)
  14. For both Mother Mary Michael and Bl. MariaVirgo the gift of fortitude, which gives us the courage for God’s service, enabled them to give themselves totally in love to prayer and to work and to see sisterly love as the horizon for loving attention to God.

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