This week's reflection is written by
V. Rev. Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS, Provincial.
I write this reflection during a pause in the retreat schedule for the three postulants who became Oblate novices on Saturday, August 4, 2018. It is such a privilege to share these days of retreat with three fine young men. It brings back many happy memories of my own novitiate year!
This morning, following Morning Prayer, Meditation and Mass, we shared a simple breakfast. The Master of Novices, Father Michael Newman, then led us in a spiritual reading that dealt with prayer as a loving relationship with God. Following that reading, we experienced a period of lectio divina, an ancient prayer form that Pope Francis has highly recommended in his recent writings.
This morning’s focus on prayer reminded me of the importance that Francis de Sales gives to prayer, especially mental prayer, in both his Introduction to the Devout Life and the Treatise on the Love of God. In those writings, he teaches that prayer is principally a heart-to-heart conversation with God in which our relationship with God is deepened and strengthened. Through this we become increasingly more faithful imitators of Jesus which is the common vocation of all Christians. Particularly in the Introduction to the Devout Life Francis writes for active people living in the midst of a busy world. Still, he wants even busy people to pause and pray, however briefly and however simply, every day. Prayer changes hearts and transforms ordinary, everyday experiences into the stepping stones of holiness.
Our novices will one day lead very active apostolic lives such as teachers, pastors, chaplains, and missionaries. As men of prayer, they will bring the fruit of their daily prayer into those very busy lives. For, as Francis de Sales reminds us, it is in prayer that we conceive what we then bring forth in our everyday inter actions with one another.
From the contemplative core of prayer, then, busy people learn to do the ordinary things of daily life extraordinarily well and thus, grasp the possibility of becoming holy right where they live and work and play!