A monthly recollection is a chance to step back from the whirlwind of daily tasks for a few hours of quiet prayer spent looking at God, the world, and ourselves. It is not always easy to find time to pray, but it is always worthwhile.
The best way to enjoy this recollection is to find a time that you can commit to spending with our Lord, and a calm place—free of distractions—where you can pray. Set aside other tasks, switch your phone to “do not disturb,” and grab a notebook. It is a good idea to make note of resolutions and ideas throughout the recollection, but the most important thing is to put yourself in front of our Lord, to look at Him and to let Him look at you.
II. Meditation: The Angels: Our Protectors and Guides (30 minutes)
III. Spiritual Reading (10-15 minutes)
IV. Holy Rosary (20 minutes)
V. Examination of Conscience (5-10 minutes)
VI. Meditation: Why Opus Dei? (30 minutes)
“There are two things we can learn from these reflections... from the deep mystery of the fact that God not only became man, but also took on the human condition, making himself the same as us, except sin (cf. Heb 4:15). The first is the universal call to holiness, to the proclamation of which Blessed Josemaría made such a contribution, as John Paul II recalled in his homily during the beatification Mass. But also, to give body to this call, there is the recognition that holiness is reached, under the action of the Holy Spirit, through ordinary life. Holiness consists in this: living our daily life with our gaze fixed on God, shaping all our actions in the light of the Gospel and the spirit of faith. Each and every theological understanding of the world and of history derives from this core reality, as many passages in the writings of Blessed Escrivá so clearly and incisively show.
“‘This world of ours,’ he proclaimed in a homily, ‘is good, for so it came from God's hands. It was Adam's offence, the sin of human pride, which broke the divine harmony of creation. But God the Father, in the fullness of time, sent his only-begotten Son to take flesh in Mary ever Virgin, through the Holy Spirit, and re-establish peace. In this way, by redeeming man from sin, ‘we receive adoption as sons.’ We become capable of sharing the intimacy of God. In this way the new man, the new line of the children of God, is enabled to free the whole universe from disorder, restoring all things in Christ, as they have been reconciled with God’ (Christ is Passing By, 183).
“In this splendid passage, the great truths of the Christian faith (the infinite love of God the Father; his goodness, to which we owe the whole of creation; the redemptive work of Jesus Christ; divine filiation; the Christian’s identification with Christ...) are connected to shed light on Christian life and, more particularly, in the life of the Christian living in the middle of the world, with his many, complex secular occupations” (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Inaugural Message at the Theological Symposium "Holiness and the World", Rome 1993).
Our guardian angels can bring us closer to Christ and give us strength in the struggle. Listen to this meditation on devotion to the angels, our protectors and guides, here:
The most important part of the meditation is your personal conversation with our Lord. You can use the priest's prayer to inspire your own.
This meditation is part of the podcast "Meditations in Manhattan." You can subscribe to it on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
III. SPIRITUAL READING
“You write,” says St. Josemaria in The Way, no. 117: “'In my spiritual reading I build up a store of fuel. It looks like a lifeless heap, but I often find that my memory, of its own accord, will draw from it material which fills my prayer with life and inflames my thanksgiving after Communion.'”
We suggest spending 10-15 minutes reading this account of the foundation of Opus Dei. Afterward, you can spend a few minutes with the New Testament, reading, for instance, St. Matthew's account of the call of the apostles.
IV. HOLY ROSARY
The Holy Rosary is an ancient Christian prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, asking her to pray for all her children in our time of need. You can find a description of how to pray the Rosary here, and download the Litany of Loreto (traditionally prayed at the end of the Rosary) here.
V. EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE
The questions below can help us consider in the presence of God how we’ve responded to His love in our acts and omissions. It may help to begin by invoking the Holy Spirit and to end with an act of contrition, expressing our sorrow for our sins and imploring God’s grace to return and remain close to Him. The act of contrition can be any we like, including one as simple as Peter’s words to Jesus after the Resurrection: "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you" (Jn 21:17).
1. "The divine paths of the world have been opened up" (Christ is Passing By, 21). How do I find God in the realities of my daily life: family, work, rest, social relationships, etc.?
2. Do I turn to St. Josemaría, "saint of the ordinary" (St. John Paul II), to help me raise my eyes to Christ, so that he may grant me the help and grace I need now?
3. God "chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love" (Eph 1:4). How do I share, through my example, the adventure of the universal call to holiness with my relatives, friends and neighbours?
4. Do I consider myself an instrument in God's hands, through which he wants to work wonders in today's world? Are the ordinary circumstances of my everyday life occasion of service and love?
5. "Behold, I will send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to lead you" (Ex 23:20). Do I trust my guardian angel, to ask him to help me in my daily life? In what situations could I turn to him more?
6. The angel came into her presence and said, "Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you" (Lk 1:28). Do I ask to the Lord to help my family and my friends' families to build bright and joyful homes?
7. Do I look for places and activities that facilitate rest and thus also a deep relationship with God? Do encourage my friends and family to find healthy forms of entertainment?
8. "How frankly you laughed when I advised you to put the years of your youth under the protection of Saint Raphael: 'so that he'll lead you, like young Tobias, to a holy marriage, with a girl who is good and pretty and rich', I told you, jokingly. And then, how thoughtful you became!... when I went on to advise you to put yourself also under the patronage of that young apostle John; in case God were to ask more of you" (The Way, 360). Do I place my children and their friends under the intercession of the archangel Raphael, so that each one may discover the path by which God calls them? Do I accompany them with my prayer and my affection?
"Opus Dei proposes to help ordinary citizens like yourself to lead a fully Christian life, without modifying their normal way of life, their daily work, their aspirations and ambitions," St. Josemaria says in "Why Opus Dei?" from Conversations with Monsignor Escriva de Balaguer. Meditate on the foundation of Opus Dei with the full text here.