A Prayerful Life

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A Prayerful Life


The rhythms of the day and week gradually forge a prayerful life. The year repeats this cycle, with greater breadth and depth. Every year nature is reborn in the spring and reaches maturity in summer, but, like fallen nature, declines in autumn and dies in the winter. These are also the stages of human life on earth: birth and youth, maturity, old age, and death.

Every liturgical cycle contains these same steps. The birth to new life is announced by Advent and Christmas; the weight of sin and death by Lent. The liturgical cycle breaks the chains of evil in the Paschal Triduum, which celebrates the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, who breaks the chains of sin and death and introduces us to a new life. Between these two intense periods of celebration are the two moments of Ordinary Time. The liturgical year concludes with the Solemnity of Christ the King, which announces the definitive coming of Christ and his final victory over evil, sin, and death. When he comes, God will be all in all (cf. 1 Cor 15:25-28).

The living of the liturgical year allows us to mature in our encounter with the living Christ who walked among us. With him, year after year, we rediscover and relive Salvation history once again, step by step.


Advent and Christmas
Lent, Holy Week, and Easter
Stations of the Cross
Sacred Heart of Jesus and Christ the King
Renewal of Association to Regnum Christi
Spiritual Exercises
Sacrament of Reconciliation


Advent and Christmas


The Year of the Lord begins in Advent, the preparation for the triple coming of Jesus, for he has already come, born of Mary; he comes today, in the life of the Church; and he will come with glory at the end of history. This season combines penitential waiting and vigil with hope and joy for the coming of the Messiah. It has four Sundays, the third of which is known as Gaudete (Rejoice): “Rejoice in the Lord always; I tell you again, rejoice. And let everyone know your mercy. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil 4:4-6).

In Advent there are different Christian traditions, depending on the country: posadas, the Advent wreath, the preparation of the manger and Christmas tree… They are a very good opportunity to live the faith as a family.

Midnight Mass, in many countries, is of special solemnity and tradition. Meditating on the readings of the Christmas vigil during these days helps us to live this powerful moment of the Spirit better. Christmas extends and joins with the feast of the Epiphany. The birth in Bethlehem and the adoration of the Magi are expressions of the manifestation of the Lord and of the participation in his grace, to all men of good will.

The Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord begins Ordinary Time, an invitation to live the new life in Christ in the ordinary circumstances of life. This time is interrupted by Lent and resumes after Pentecost to close the liturgical year with Saturday after the Solemnity of Christ the King.


Lent, Holy Week, and Easter


Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent: forty days in which we join the Lord in his desert, in his ascent to Jerusalem to complete his self-giving for us. It is a propitious time for conversion: to turn our gaze and our steps towards the Father who comes to meet us with his mercy. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving, in imitation of Jesus, help our hearts to become freer from the temptations of the world and to surrender to God. Fridays in Lent are traditionally penitential: the Church asks us to abstain from meat. A prayer particularly suitable for these days is the recitation of the Way of the Cross, which recalls the last steps of Jesus on Good Friday.

The Paschal Triduum (Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday) is the most intense time of the liturgical year. Thursday is centered on the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and the Church recommends a time of adoration in the evening to accompany Christ in the Eucharist. On Friday, we celebrate the Passion of the Lord which will give way, after the silence of Saturday, to the alleluia of the Resurrection, in the Easter Vigil, which lasts for fifty days until the Solemnity of Pentecost.

Every country has deeply rooted traditions that help us to live as a community the new life in Christ: processions, special preaching, a meditative reading of the Gospels of the Passion, etc. It is also an occasion to follow the preaching of the Holy Father closely and to receive his Urbi et Orbi blessing on Easter Day.

Easter is the time when the Risen Christ comes to meet us and strengthens our faith, as he did with the disciples. It is a time to remember that God is still at work in his Church, making all things new. Ascension and Pentecost are solemnities in which the Lord consoles us, for he continues to make himself present through the work of his Spirit, who dwells in us.


Stations of the Cross


The Stations of the Cross, or Via Crucis, mark 14 moments of Jesus’ road to Calvary. It is usually walked in groups, especially on Good Friday and on the other Fridays of Lent, although it can be done throughout the year. Meditating on it allows us to recreate in space and time, in our minds and hearts, the supreme moments of Christ’s self-giving for our redemption, fostering intimate and cordial attitudes of heartfelt compunction, trust, gratitude, generosity and identification with Christ.

There are different prayers that can help us meditate on each one of these moments. Here we offer a biblical Stations of the Cross, proposed by John Paul II on Good Friday, 1991, but you can look for other popular ones by different saints and popes.

Opening Prayer

Guide: God of power and mercy, in love you sent your Son that we might be cleansed of sin and live with you forever.  Bless us as we gather to reflect on his suffering and death that we may learn from his example the way we should go.

We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord.

Participant: Amen.

The First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed.  Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death.  Remain here and keep watch.” He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass by him; he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.  Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.”  When he returned, he found them asleep.  He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep?  Could you not keep watch for one hour?  Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing.  Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him. He returned a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?  It is enough.  The hour has come.  Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners (Mk 14:32-41).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Second Station: Jesus, betrayed by Judas, is arrested

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had  come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders.  His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “the man I shall kiss is the one;  arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this, they laid hands on him and arrested him (Mk 14:42-46).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none.  Many gave false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree.  Some took the stand and testified falsely against him, alleging, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands  and within three days I will build another not made with hands.’”  Even so their testimony did not agree.  The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus, saying, “Have you no answer?  What are these men testifying against you?”  But he was silent and answered nothing.  Again the high priest asked him and said to him, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One? ” Then Jesus answered, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’”  At that the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further need have we of witnesses?  You have heard the blasphemy.  What do you think?”  They all condemned him as deserving to die (Mk 14:55-64).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s maids came along.  Seeing Peter warming himself, she looked intently at him and said, “You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus.”  But he denied it saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” So he went out into the outer court. [Then the cock crowed.]  The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” Once again he denied it. A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more, “Surely you are one of them;  for you too are a Galilean.” He began to curse and to swear, “I do not know this man about whom you are talking.” And immediately a cock crowed a second time.  Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.” He broke down and wept (Mk 14:66-72).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

As soon as morning came, the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Now on the occasion of the feast, he used to release to them one prisoner whom they requested. A man called Barabbas was then in prison along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion. The crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was accustomed. Pilate answered, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate again said to them in reply, “Then what [do you want] me to do with [the man you call] the king of the Jews?” They shouted again, “Crucify him.” Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” They only shouted louder, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified (Mk 15:1-15).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

After Pilate had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.  The soldiers led him away inside the palace, that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.  They clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.  They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.  They knelt before him in homage. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him (Mk 15:15-20).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

And carrying the cross himself, Jesus went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha (Jn 19:17).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross (Mk 15:21).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” (Lk 23:27-31).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”] They divided his garments by casting lots. The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews” (Lk 23:33-38).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:39-43).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home (Jn 19:25-27).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, “This man was innocent beyond doubt.” When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events (Lk 23:44-49).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

Guide: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Participant: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who, though he was a member of the council, had not consented to their plan of action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea and was awaiting the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been buried. It was the day of preparation, and the sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, and when they had seen the tomb and the way in which his body was laid in it, they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils. Then they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment (Lk 23:50-56).

Participant: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

Final Blessing

Guide: May abundant blessing, O Lord, we pray, descend upon your people, who have honored the death of your Son in the hope of their resurrection. May pardon come, comfort be given, holy faith increase, and everlasting redemption be made secure through Christ our Lord.

Participant: Amen.


Sacred Heart of Jesus and Christ the King


Regnum Christi celebrates with special devotion the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Solemnity of Christ the King. Jesus is both “Friend and Lord,” “Our King,” and close and affectionate companion, with whom we are united by a “personal, real, passionate and faithful love” (cf. SRCF 12, 14, 58). Jesus is “a man of interior life, a lover of prayer,” and at the same time, he is dedicated to the task of “proclaiming the Kingdom and bringing the light of the Gospel to the whole world,” “going out to meet the material and spiritual needs” of each person. Christ “takes up the spiritual combat, the persevering and trusting struggle (in his Father) in the face of the reality of evil and sin,” “undertakes his mission with a magnanimous heart, enthusiasm, and creativity,” is interested in “the most pressing needs of the world”, “faces with strength and courage the challenges” and difficulties, “boldly seizes every opportunity to proclaim love” and always “gives the best of himself” (cf. SRCF 10, 13, 17, 20).

Jesus’ longing for the Kingdom and his love for mankind are two sides of the same coin, for Christ is the Kingdom in person. He, who desires to reign in our hearts and in society, invites us to a continuous and progressive transformation in him. Feeling his love for us and loving as he loves us, “to the end,” transfigures our attitude and impels us toward “universal and thoughtful self-giving to our neighbor, creative and selfless service, treating people with kindness and simplicity, being merciful with people’s weaknesses; speaking well of others; forgiveness and reconciliation” (cf. SRCF 13, 14, 17, 20, 23).

The Mass of Christ the King is an occasion for all the vocations of a locality or territory to gather. It is usually preceded or followed by the rite of association of the lay faithful and is an opportunity for members of all vocations to renew their commitment to Regnum Christi. Ideally, the whole day is a time of community celebration to give thanks to God and respond to his call.


Renewal of Association to Regnum Christi


Lay members of Regnum Christi ordinarily renew our association once a year, at the conclusion of the Eucharistic celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King, accompanied by members of all vocations. However, the Rite of Renewal can be used frequently, individually or in teams, to ask God for the grace to identify ourselves more with the way of holiness that he proposes to us in Regnum Christi. Here we follow the instructions in the Devotional Renewal of the Commitments of Association to the Regnum Christi Federation.

Rite of Renewal

Lord, you have called me to consciously live my baptismal vocation to holiness and to apostolate according to the charism of Regnum Christi, to give myself to Christ in my state and condition of life so he may reign in my heart and in society. That is why I wish to renew my belonging to Regnum Christi as a member of this spiritual family. To achieve this, I commit to the following:

  • To grow in friendship with Christ, developing the life of grace through prayer and the sacraments.
  • To live the evangelical virtues of poverty, filial obedience, and purity in thought and action.
  • To fulfill the duties of my state in life with love and honesty, as a service to God and to others
  • To apply myself to my integral formation and forge my Christian leadership.
  • To initiate and participate in apostolic initiatives.
  • To profess a faithful and active love for the Holy Church, the Pope, and the other bishops.
  • To generously offer my prayer, talents, time, and material goods to collaborate in the mission of Regnum Christi at the service of the Church.

I accept your invitation and so it is my responsibility:

  • To see that your words are not lost and that your message of salvation reaches others;
  • To live your word in such a way that those who see me will recognize you and give you glory, that they will be moved by your grace to participate in the faith of the Church and bear living witness to it; and
  • To embody the charism of Regnum Christi to fulfill this mission in the Church and in the world.

Spiritual Exercises


The spiritual exercises are an annual opportunity Regnum Christi offers us to leave the world for three or eight days and give ourselves fully to the company of the Lord. They represent a stop on the journey to attend to the One Who walks with us, to listen to him, to discern his will, to be reconciled in his sight and to revive the fire of his love that impels us to give ourselves to others.


Sacrament of Reconciliation


“For even if we sin, we are yours, and know your might” (Wis 15:2). Recognizing our own sin or guilt is to trust in the merciful love of God, to open ourselves to receive his forgiveness, to be free to the end. Frequent confession increases our self-knowledge, fosters humility, helps to uproot bad habits, increases delicacy of conscience, combats tepidity and laziness, strengthens the will, renews the grace of baptism, and leads us to a more intimate identification with Jesus Christ. The sacrament of Reconciliation is a vital and renewing encounter with Christ and the Church.

Approach the sacrament and activate your faith in the sanctifying presence and action of Jesus Christ. Try to present your faults with order, brevity, propriety, clarity, and integrity. Accept the guidance of the confessor with a supernatural spirit, and try to complete the penance with a true spirit of reparation as soon as possible. Offer your daily work and jobs as satisfaction for your sins. Thank God for the gift of his forgiveness and his friendship with a life of greater fidelity to the mission entrusted to you.

Conscience Examen

This prayer helps us to place ourselves before God and ask for his help to prepare our confession:

Prayer of Petition for Help

My Lord and my God, you know each person’s heart. Give me the grace to examine mine sincerely and to know it truly so I can discover all my sins, confess them well, and avoid them from now on. Thus I hope to merit your pardon and grace on earth and eternal life in heaven. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

You can use different resources to prepare your confession: the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the points for examen contained in the rite of penance, or others adjusted to your personal needs.

Rite of Penance

Reception of the penitent

The priest and penitent say together:

† In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The priest invites the penitent to have trust in the mercy of God.

Priest: May God, who has enlightened every heart, help you to know your sins and trust in his mercy.
Penitent: Amen.

Then the penitent makes his or her confession, followed by some recommendations from the priest and the imposition of the penance. The penitent prays the act of contrition (he or she can use this formula or another similar one):

Act of Contrition

Penitent: My God, I am sorry with all my heart for all the wrong I have done and the good I have failed to do. By sinning, I have offended you, who are my supreme good and worthy of being loved above all things. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to do penance, to sin no more, and avoid whatever leads me to sin. Lord, by the merits of the Passion of our Savior Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Amen.

Absolution

Priest: God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace. And I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, † and of the Holy Spirit.
Penitent: Amen.

Dismissal

Priest: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Penitent: His mercy endures forever.
Priest: The Lord has freed you from your sins; go in peace.

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