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: Finding Peace in the Heart of Christ (30 minutes)
III. Spiritual Reading (10-15 minutes)
IV. Holy Rosary (20 minutes)
V. Examination of Conscience (5-10 minutes)
VI. Meditation: St. Josemaria (30 minutes)
—I give you thanks, my Jesus. Give us hearts to measure up to Yours!
"The Heart of the Incarnate Word is deservedly and rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that threefold love with which the divine Redeemer unceasingly loves His eternal Father and all mankind. First, it is a symbol of that divine love which He shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit but which He, the Word made flesh, alone manifests through a weak and perishable body, since 'in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily.' It is, besides, the symbol of that burning love which, infused into His soul, enriches the human will of Christ and enlightens and governs its acts by the most perfect knowledge derived both from the beatific vision and that which is directly infused. And finally—and this in a more natural and direct way—it is the symbol also of sensible love, since the body of Jesus Christ, formed by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, possesses full powers of feelings and perception, in fact, more so than any other human body" (Haurietis aquas, Pope Pius XII's encyclical on devotion to the Sacred Heart).
"Jesus on the cross, with his heart overflowing with love for men, is such an eloquent commentary on the value of people and things that words only get in the way. Men, their happiness and their life, are so important that the very Son of God gave himself to redeem and cleanse and raise them up" (Christ Is Passing By, no. 165).
"I give you thanks, my Jesus, for your decision to become perfect Man, with a Heart which loved and is most lovable; which loved unto death and suffered; which was filled with joy and sorrow; which delighted in the things of men and showed us the way to Heaven; which subjected itself heroically to duty and acted with mercy; which watched over the poor and the rich and cared for sinners and the just...
"—I give you thanks, my Jesus. Give us hearts to measure up to Yours!" (Furrow, no. 813).
God reveals His extreme love for each one of us through words and deeds, and He calls each one of us. You can listen to or read this meditation, a homily given by St. Josemaria for the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, here:
The most important part of the meditation is your personal conversation with our Lord. You can use the audio to inspire your own prayer.
III. SPIRITUAL READING
“You write,” says St. Josemaria in The Way, pt. 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 "The Family's Educational Mission," an article about parents' self-sacrificing love, or "Jesus, ever young," a chapter of Pope Francis' encyclical Christus vivit.
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. "Jesus, I put myself trustingly in Your arms, hiding my head on Your loving breast, my heart touching Yours: I want what You want, in everything (The Forge, no. 529). Do I want my heart to be more and more like the Heart of Christ? How do I try to learn from Jesus' reactions, expressions, gentleness, patience, signs of affection, etc., seen in the Gospel? Do I ask God to give my spouse, children, and friends big hearts too?
2. "Jesus saw a tax collector, and when he looked at him with a feeling of love and chose him, he said to him, 'Follow me'" (St. Bede the Venerable, Homily 21). Does the consideration that Jesus looks at me with the same love with which He looked at Matthew fill me with peace? Do I try to look at others the way Christ does?
3. The works of mercy ensure that our behaviour reflects Christ's life. Do I try to console the suffering, treat the sick with patience and affection, teach the ignorant, or give good advice to people who need it? How can I be generous with my time? Do I realize that the works of mercy begin in my own family?
4. How do I show patience and affection to the sick in my family, dedicating time to the people around me who are most in need? Am I a kind person? Do I try to look at problems positively?
5. "I haven't needed to learn how to forgive because the Lord has taught me to love" (Furrow, n. 804). Whom could I show more understanding and love to? Do I ask God to give me grace to love those who have humiliated or treated me badly, and those with whom I do not get along? Am I able to overlook others' faults?
6. How do St. Josemaria's teachings nourish my prayer and my relationship with our Lord? Do I ask for his intercession to help me take care of my family and friends?
7. St. Josemaria used to say that he wanted to leave his children in Opus Dei, as their inheritance, great love for freedom and a good sense of humor. Are these gifts present in my life? How can I grow in them?
June 26 is the feast of St. Josemaria. Listen to this meditation about his first Communion 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.