Friday, June 3, 2011

The Apostleship of Prayer and the US Jesuits

In our discussion yesterday of the Sacred Heart and the Jesuits, we mentioned the Apostleship of Prayer.  This group was founded in 1844 AD by Jesuit scholastics who were restless in their studies and impatient to get on with missionary work.  Their spiritual director, Father Francois Xavier Gautrelet, S.J, instructed them that they could begin their supernatural work of saving souls right away through the supernatural means of prayer.  Fr. Gautrelet told the young scholastics:  "Be apostles now, apostles of prayer! Offer everything you are doing each day in union with the Heart of our Lord for what he wishes: the spread of the Kingdom for the salvation of souls."  Fr. Gautrelet taught the scholastics to offer each day in union with Christ's sacrifice of the Mass by means of a Daily Offering prayer (see below).  Since the 1880's, the Apostleship of Prayer has also prayed for the monthly intentions of the Pope.  The moderator general of the Apostleship of Prayer is the General of the Society of Jesus.

There are now two forms of the Daily offering prayer.  This is the "Traditional Daily Offering of the Apostleship of Prayer:"

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.

This one is simply called "Daily Offering of the Apostleship of Prayer:"

God, our Father, I offer You my day. I offer You my prayers, thoughts, words, actions, joys, and sufferings in union with the Heart of Jesus, who continues to offer Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world.  May the Holy Spirit, Who guided Jesus, be my guide and my strength today so that I may witness to your love.  With Mary, the mother of our Lord and the Church, I pray for all Apostles of Prayer and for the prayer intentions proposed by the Holy Father this month.  Amen.

One notices that the second prayer omits any reference to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and refers to the 
"Heart of Jesus" rather than the "Sacred Heart." 

A possible reason for these omissions may be found in the FAQ section of the Apostleship's US website.  The answer to the question "What is your connection to the Sacred Heart of Jesus?" reads, in part:

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had famous visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that she confided to her confessor, the Jesuit priest St. Claude de Colombiere. Later she spoke of an apparition in which the Blessed Virgin Mary asked her to commit her particular message to the Jesuits for propagation to the world. The Jesuits have always taken this commission seriously and have carried their love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus to mission fields throughout the world. In some places the Apostleship of Prayer is known primarily as a spreader of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That's fine, but our first mission is to teach the spiritual program of offering oneself every day for the world, the Church, the intentions of other Apostles of Prayer, and the express intentions of the Holy Father each month.

In other words, they've dropped spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus from their mission.  One wonders why.

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