I come before you at the beginning of this year. I gaze at your face, I look upon your side pierced by the lance.
Your wounded heart speaks to me of God's love poured out for us. Take, Lord, and receive my heart: the words of faith that I speak, the works of justice I would do, my joys and sufferings.
When I come to the Eucharistic table, gather my offerings to your own for the life of the world and for the Pope's Intentions this month:
That during this ‘Year of Faith’ Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and joyfully bear witness to the gift of faith in Him.
That the Christian communities of the Middle East, which frequently suffer discrimination, may receive the strength of fidelity and perseverance of the Holy Spirit
When Pope Benedict announced that a ‘year of faith’ would begin on the anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, he spoke of it as leading people ‘out of the desert and towards a place of life’. Indeed he has often used the image of an exodus-like journey to suggest the ‘rediscovery’ of faith that this year hopes to foster.
In other words we need to go out of ourselves, or to stand back from the superficial life-style that can clog the spirit, and get in touch again with our deeper hungers and desires.
Living Prayer, Apostleship of Prayer 2013 booklet:
In this booklet there is a form of the Daily Offering given for each month of the year. You may use these words, your own or indeed you may prefer to pray wordlessly in the silence of your heart.
The Living Prayer booklet contains
An explanation of the spirituality of the Apostleship of Prayer
Suggested forms of the Daily Offering
The monthly intentions of the Pope for the needs of the Church and the world
A brief reflection of the Pope’s General Intention for each month
A calendar with the principal feast days and the gospel reference for each day’s Mass
If you would like to purcahse a copy of the 2013 Living Prayer booklet follow the link at the base of this page
Since 1844 the mission of the Apostleship of Prayer, has been to help Christians live out their desire to serve God with their whole lives and their whole selves. God asks us all to pray for ourselves and for others. To make ourselves a living sacrifice and to pray without ceasing for all the needs of the Church and for the whole world. Since the nineteenth century Popes have asked the Apostleship of Prayer to pray for specific intentions. We receive two prayer intentions each month from the Holy Father, pledging ourselves to pray for them every day. The Apostleship of Prayer is an association of the faithful under the Pope with its international office in Rome. Since our founding, the Jesuits (priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus) have promoted the apostolate throughout the world. Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed the will of the Vatican that Jesuits continue their role in the Apostleship of Prayer.
In 2006, the board of the Apostleship of Prayer approved this mission statement:
The mission of the Apostleship of Prayer is to encourage Christians to make a daily offering of themselves to the Lord for the coming of God's Kingdom and for the Holy Father's monthly intentions. This habit of prayer encourages a Eucharistic spirituality of solidarity with the Body of Christ and loving service to others. Nourishing this spiritual program is the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Apostleship of Prayer began in France in 1844. At that time Fr. Francis X. Gautrelet told a group of Jesuit seminarians who were eager to work on the missions:
"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."
In 1888 the first Messenger of the Sacred Heart was published. Besides promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, this periodical also tried to develop in its readers an awareness of the needs of the Universal Church. In time the Pope himself proposed a particular monthly intention and since 1929 a specific mission intention has also been proposed to the faithful for their prayerful attention.
On its 100th anniversary in 1944, Pope Pius XII gave thanks to God for the Apostleship of Prayer, calling it:
"one of the most efficacious means for the salvation of souls, since it concerns prayer and prayer in common."
He commended the organization for its goal:
" to pray assiduously for the needs of the Church and to try to satisfy them through daily offering."
Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of its 150th anniversary in 1994, wrote:
"As the dawn of the third millennium approaches a world in which many sectors have become quite pagan, it is obvious how urgent it is for members of the Apostleship of Prayer to be involved in the service of the new evangelization. For Christ has come to preach the Good News to the poor, and the Apostleship of Prayer has always considered itself a form of popular piety for the masses. As such it has performed an important service during the past hundred and fifty years by giving new life to people's awareness of how valuable their lives are to God for the building up of His Kingdom."
Truly the Apostleship of Prayer is the Pope's own "prayer group." It is, as Pope John Paul II wrote in 1985, "a precious treasure from the Pope's heart and the Heart of Christ."
By the year 2000, the Apostleship of Prayer had over 40 million members, 50 different Messengers of the Sacred Heart, and 40 other periodicals.