On June 26, the Church celebrated the memorial for St. Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei. The main thrust of his ministry as a priest was promoting holiness in ordinary daily life, especially among the laity. His work in the early part of the last century laid a good foundation for the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on the universal call to holiness in the Church. One of the practices that he encouraged, and one that I have practiced for many years, is known as “The Heroic Minute.” He describes it this way:
Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a fixed time, without yielding a single minute to laziness. If, with God’s help, you conquer yourself, you will be well ahead for the rest of the day. (The Way, 191) … The heroic minute. It is the time fixed for getting up. Without hesitation: a supernatural reflection and… up! The heroic minute: here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does no harm to your body.(The Way, 206)
In addition to getting right out of bed, it is helpful to turn immediately to prayer, not to your cell phone to check messages or other distractions. A time-honored prayer encouraged by the Church is known as the Morning Offering. The Morning Offering comes from a movement began in France in 1844 known as the Apostleship of Prayer. The basic goal of this movement (which still exists) is to pray for the pope and the monthly intentions that he designates. Here is the traditional version of the prayer as it is found on the English-language site for 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.
I share this with you this week as we reach the conclusion of this month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Praying the Morning Offering as soon as you wake up each morning is a way of staying close to the Sacred Heart each day throughout the year and it serves as a helpful reminder to us of the role we have to pray for the needs of the Church throughout the world.
This week will be a week of transition for us here at the Cathedral. We will be saying farewell to Deacon Scott Keen as he transfers to a new assignment at Christ the King Parish. I personally want to thank him for his service to our parish, and we send him with our prayers for continued fruitful ministry. We also welcome Deacon Rob Sgambelluri as he joins us in his first assignment as a newly-ordained deacon. We look forward to the gifts that he will share in service to our parish through his ministry here at the Cathedral.