During the past weekend at the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis unveiled an official App ‘Click to Pray’. This is a media platform that invites men and women from around the world, to accompany the Pope in a mission of compassion for the world. There is a website and a mobile app, for Android and iOS, with its social networks, available in six languages (Spanish, English, Italian, French, Portuguese, and German).
By downloading this application on your phone:
- it is possible to access immediately a space to pray (using the Pope’s monthly prayer intentions) for the challenges facing humanity and the mission of the Church;
- to develop a personal daily prayer rhythm by linking in three times a day, and to
- choose to write your own prayers and share them within the prayer network.
Who would have even thought this could be possible or even attractive to such a wide demographic of people 5-10 years ago? Already as of today over 1 million people have prayed, or are praying using the three main areas of this application.
But prayer is nothing new. It is the media tools to facilitate and support it happening easily wherever you are as part and parcel of everyday life that are the novelty of today. We give thanks for such creative imagination and skill that makes these tools available to us.
It is worth remembering though that prayer has already been woven into our very DNA. It is a spontaneous and natural expression of who we are. Teilhard de Chardin wrote:
Since, by virtue of my consent, I shall have become a living particle of the Body of Christ, all that affects me must in the end help on the growth of the total Christ.
Christ will flood into and over me, me and my cosmos.
. . . May my acceptance be ever more complete, more comprehensive, more intense!
May my being, in its self-offering to you, become ever more open and more transparent to your influence!
And may I thus feel your activity coming ever closer, your presence growing ever more intense, everywhere around me.
In these days so close to the death of Mary Oliver, I am reminded too of the ‘other application’ that she so gently signposted in this poem:
“I Happened To Be Standing”
I don’t know where prayers go,
or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
of little importance, in full
self-attendance. A condition I can’t really
call being alive.
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.
While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, with my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don’t know why. And yet, why not.
I wouldn’t persuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don’t. That’s your business.
But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
if it isn’t a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.
Note: See Pope Francis Launches Click To Pray
Prayer quotation by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, was written in a meditation in 1918 from “The Priest”, Writings in Time of War and shared by Richard Rohr in his daily meditation page on cac.org/growing-in-christ-2018-12-07/