"Where two or three are gathered in my name,

there I am in the midst of them"

(Mt 18:20)

"The family that prays together, stays together”

35 - Prayer is an essential part of the family life. "Far from being a form of escapism from everyday commitment, prayer constitutes the strongest incentive for the Christian family to assume and comply fully with all its responsibilities as the primary and fundamental call of human society" (CF 62).

Nothing in the Gospel better reveals the necessity of praying than the place that prayer held in the life of Jesus. He often prayed on the mountain (Mt 14:23), alone, secluded (Lk 9:18), even when "all were searching for him" (Mk. 1:35ff.); His prayer is the secret which attracts His closest friends and into which he causes them to enter more and more (Lk 9:18). Remaining faithful to Christ's command to "watch and pray", the Apostles and the early Church "joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with His brothers" (Acts 1:14). It is through prayer that the LMCs maintain their intimate union with Christ and the Church and become authentic Missionaries of Charity in their own families, toward the members of the Movement, and the poorest of the poor.

"The fruitfulness of the Christian family life derives from its living union with Christ, nourished by the Liturgy, by self-oblation and by prayer" (FC 62).

1 - The Lord Jesus Himself will teach us how we should pray. He is the One key-stone of our religious life and exercises (see 1Pt 2:4-5). He is the creative Word whom we receive in the silence of our heart and the fruitful soil of our life. We listen attentively to what He will say, what He will ask of us. He has promised to give His Holy Spirit who will bear our poor little efforts before the throne of grace and into the intimacy of the living God (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No.125).

2 - Our prayer is not so much a duty as a privilege; a gift rather than a problem; it is not merely the result of our own efforts. We do not tire ourselves out looking for beautiful thoughts or words, but prefer to stay attentive before God in humility and expectation, in desire and purity of heart, full of joy and hope. Our prayer can take many forms as it is the echo of our life and a reflection of the inexhaustible light in which God dwells. (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 126).

3 - We must be ready to face any sort of trials, dryness or desolation in prayer. Sometimes we will taste and see how good the Lord is. Sometimes we can be dry and joyless like a parched land or an empty well. But our thirst and helplessness will be our best prayer if we accept them with patience and embrace them lovingly. (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 127).

4 - At times our prayer can be an experience of the infinite distance that separates us from God; at times our being and His fullness will flow onto each other.(From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 128).

5 - As contemplation of divine things and assiduous union with God in prayer is our first and foremost duty, we set aside a considerable time for prayer everyday. Our zeal for the Kingdom of God, and our availability for our brothers and the poorest of the poor will grow all the greater for it. Prayer is more powerful than anything we can achieve by our actions. And the Lord says: "There are evils that can only be cast out by prayer and fasting" (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 130).

6 - We need to set ourselves again and again on the way of prayer. We shall not wait until we feel the need of it. Many times it is enough that we make a little effort to make a new start, the Lord will bring it to a good end. We should not be afraid to use a method when we need it; growth in prayer demands humility of heart, openness and receptivity. We willingly and joyfully learn from others and study how the saints of God have prayed (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 131).

7 - As we pray together we will discover the wide horizon of each prayer. We must rejoice and be glad to meet our brothers in the presence of the Lord, and to look with them to the Father of all light. We must allow ourselves to be healed of the wounds we suffer everyday by the saving praise of God.(From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 132).

8 - Prayer renews our life of faith, hope and love. Let us not allow ourselves be distracted by accidentals. We try to understand God's work even in the mouth of a bad reader, and shall not be irritated or upset with the brother who sings off-key. The forms are only important to the extent that we know how to see through them. (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 133).

9 - We do not pray that others may see and admire us nor do we refrain from praying out of human respect. We pray so that God may be glorified and His name praised. We unite ourselves with the unceasing prayer of the Church on earth and in heaven. We must know that through our mouth and heart, all of creation is proclaiming the glory of God and groaning for its redemption in the Lord (Rom 8:22). (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 134).

10 - Our life is meant to be a continuous prayer of praise and thanksgiving. We need to be fed each day with prayer, and ardent search for God who loves us. Prayer alone will enable us to give without counting the cost and helps us to accomplish God's will everyday. We have many enemies in our spiritual life: the world, the devil and ourselves. To dedicate ourselves heart and soul to the battle against our spiritual enemies we need to pray constantly and persevere in prayer. With joy and indestructible hope we will work for the poorest of the poor for whom Jesus gave His life and blood. Prayer and work are not whole without each other. Lord teach us to pray. (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 135).

36 -The spiritual exercises recommended to the Movement for the sanctification and for the apostolic work of its members are:

1) The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Holy Communion daily

1 - The celebration of the Eucharist is the centre of our life. It is the highest expression and the strongest support of our life. We have been called to a life in which is inspired by this Sacrament. It is the beginning and end of our actions; the source and consummation of our service to God and a principle incentive to be servants of the poor. We must grow in daily knowledge of this mystery, and in a greater love of the Lord who gives Himself in it. (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 136, a).

2 - We should never forget that the heart of the Eucharist celebration is the self-giving of Jesus in the Bread of Life and in the broken, imprisoned, sickly, lonely, bodies of the poor. The sacrifice of ourselves with Jesus in the Eucharist for the sake of the others - our brothers and the poor - is the single foundation of every community. We unite ourselves with the Lord in a fruitful and acceptable sacrifice for the life of the world. (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 136, a).

In the sacrifice of the Mass we daily renew the sacrifice of our life and we find ourselves united with the offering of:

- the sacrifices offered to God by all people of all religions;

- the supreme sacrifice of life of all those who are dying;

- the pain and suffering of all the living on earth, especially of the poorest of the poor, and of all the faithful departed

- the struggle and effort of the whole of sinful humanity that it may be purified and redeemed in the "Blood of the Lamb".

As the Immaculate Virgin Mary welcomed the Eternal Word in her heart and in her womb with immense trust and profound humility at the Annunciation, we too must welcome Jesus in Holy Communion.

2) Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

1 - Let our life be permeated with a tremendous reverence towards this "Mystery of Faith". Our adoration needs no justification more than our love and wonder for the infinite, delicate grandeur of God, the unfathomable depths of Christ's gift. Let this praise never depart from our lips. (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 136, b).

2 - To this Christ who dwells ever present in His gifts we can bring our life's adoration. Our whole life must be worship in Spirit and truth. Our whole existence is a celebration and adoration before the Eucharist and there it will be inspired afresh. In this way we give praise and glory to our Father through Him, in Him and with Him (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 136, b).

"Jesus waits for us in this Sacrament of love. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him in adoration and in contemplation that is full of faith and ready to make reparation for the great faults and crimes of the world. may our adoration never cease". (The Holy Eucharist - Letter of John Paul II of Feb. 2, 1980, Nos. 3 & 6).

"A plenary indulgence is granted to one of the faithful who visits the Blesses sacrament to adore the same for at least half an hour". (New Regulations on Indulgences, No. 1 - June 29, 1968).

As consecrated souls the LMCs are called to become adorers of the Father in Spirit and in Truth.

While all are encouraged to take part in the daily adoration of the Blessed sacrament, the adoration which is part of the group meeting must be considered a duty. In addition, monthly adoration at night is recommended as well as other days chosen of more intense prayer on special occasions.

3) Liturgy of the Hours

1 - The purpose of the Liturgy of the Hours is to consecrate to God the whole cycle of day and night in order to sanctify the day and the whole human activity. It extends to the different hours of the day the praise and thanksgiving, the commemoration of the mysteries of salvation, the petitions and the foretaste of heavenly glory that are all present in the Eucharistic mystery which is "the centre and apex of the whole life of Christian Community". (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 136, c).

2 - The Liturgy of the Hours is an excellent preparation for the celebration of the Eucharist itself, for it inspires and deepens in a fitting way the disposition necessary for the fruitful celebration of the Eucharist: faith, hope, love, devotion and the spirit of self-denial. (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 136, c).

"The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the Divine Office, either with the priests or among themselves, or individually" (SC 100)

"It is desirable that the family, the domestic sanctuary of the Church should not only pray together to God, but should also celebrate some parts of the Liturgy of the Hours as occasion offers, so as to enter more deeply into the life of the Church". (General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours, No. 27, Pope Paul VI, Nov. 1, 1970).

"The recitation of these hours should be recommended also to individual members of the faithful unable to take part in a celebration in common" (Ibid. 40).

Besides the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours at the weekly meeting, the LMCs will celebrate part of it as a community whenever the opportunity presents itself.

"Gatherings of the laity - for prayer, apostolic work or any other reason - are encouraged to fulfil the Church's office by celebrating part of the Liturgy of the Hours. The laity must learn especially in liturgical actions, how to adore God the Father in Spirit and Truth and be reminded that through public worship and prayer they are in touch with all mankind and can contribute in no small degree to the salvation of the whole world". (Ibid. 27).

4) Meditative Reading of the Word of God

"A plenary indulgence is granted to one of the faithful who spends at least half an hour reading the sacred Scriptures with the reverence due to the Divine Word". (New Regulations on Indulgences, No. 16).

5) Prayer before and after meals (FC 61)

6) The Angelus

The LMCs pray the Angelus three times a day: in the morning, at noon, and in the evening, contemplating "the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, of the greeting to the Virgin, and of the recourse to Her merciful intercession...And despite the changed conditions of the times, for the majority of people there remain unaltered the characteristic periods of the day - morning, noon and evening - which mark the periods of their activity and constitute an invitation to pause in prayer". (Paul VI - Marialis Cultus 41).

7) The Rosary

"The rosary should be considered as one of the best and most efficacious prayers in common that the Christian family is invited to recite. We like to think and sincerely hope, that when the family gathering becomes a time of prayer, the Rosary is a frequent and favoured manner of prayer". (Marialis Cultus 52, 54; FC 61:3).

"A plenary indulgence is granted to one of the faithful who recite the Rosary of at least five decades with meditation on the respective mysteries in a Church, or public oratory, or in a family or in a religious community, or in some Pious Association. The five decades are said in continuity, and if said in public the respective mystery is announced before each decade". (The New Regulations on Indulgences, No. 14).

8) The Stations of the Cross

In order to enter more deeply into the paschal mystery of Christ and to identify ourselves with the "man of sorrows" it is recommended to make the Stations of the Cross at least once a week.

"A plenary indulgence is granted to one of the faithful who devoutly meditate on the Passion and death of the Lord, moving from one station to the another. The stations are to be properly erected. Those 'impeded' from making the stations can gain the same plenary indulgence by devout reading and meditation of the passion and death of the Lord for at least half an hour". (New Regulations on Indulgences, No. 14).

9) Examination of conscience

The particular examination of conscience (at midday) and the general one (in the evening) are a great help to spiritual growth and maturity

"Examine me, God, and know my mind;

test me and discover my thoughts.

Find out if there is any deceit in me,

and guide me in the eternal way". (Ps 139: 23-24).

37 - The Sacrament of Reconciliation

1. Confession is a meeting with Christ Himself, and it is His action in us. He forgives our sins, cures our weaknesses, and strengthens our will. With humility and gratitude we approach the sacrament of penance once every two weeks and more often when necessary and beneficial. Avoiding scruples and waste of time we confess our sins with great simplicity, clarity and sincerity. By this not only are we reconciled with God and one another but we also obtain the grace of reconciliation for the whole humanity. (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 137).

"To hasten daily progress along the path of virtue, we wish the pious practice of frequent confession to be earnestly advocated. Not without the inspiration of the holy spirit was the practice introduced into the Church. By it genuine self-knowledge is increased, Christian humility grows, bad habits are corrected, spiritual neglect and tepidity are countered, the conscience is purified, the will strengthened, a salutary self-control is attained and grace increased". (Pious XII - Mystici Corporis).

38 - Monthly Day of Prayer

Every first Saturday of the month we will set aside for our common monthly day of prayer, or another day during the month if the first Saturday is not convenient for the whole group. The LMCs will do their best to make it into a real day of prayer and profound silence.

39 - Celebration of the Patronal Feast

The LMCs will celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, their patron, each year in November, on the Sunday before the Feast of Christ the King. It will be preceded by a spiritual preparation of nine days, during which each family or each single person will prepare a small altar at home for the Holy family, with candles, flowers, etc. At a convenient time of day, the family gathers around the altar to pray together, part of the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary and the special novena prayer for the Holy family to obtain grace and blessing for the family, for the Movement, and for the poorest of the poor...The vigil of the feast will be spent in intense prayer together, participating in the Holy sacrifice of the mass, at Eucharistic Adoration, at the liturgy of the Hours, with reflection and meditation.

"Prayer is the most inoffensive instrument that we can turn to, but it is a most powerful weapon. Prayer is a key, capable of resolving even situations of the most hardened hate. Prayer is born in the heart and it has its roots in a spirit which believes in the possibility of reconciliation and peace" (John Paul II - Angelus of September 14, 1986).

1 - As Lay Missionaries of Charity, God has consecrated us in a special way on behalf of the poorest of the poor "together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus" (Acts 1: 14) to contemplate Him, His presence and His action:

- In the Church, as the mystical body of the Risen Lord. "He (Jesus) is the head of the body, the Church" (Col. 1:18);

- in the Scriptures; as the Word in His pure divine form in the Old Testament, and the Word Incarnate on earth, in the history of redemption;

- in the Liturgy; joining in with Christ's own worship and His contemplation of the Father: through the Liturgy God is glorified and man sanctified;

- in the Sacraments: humbly and lovingly welcoming the triune God in the depth of our very being who continues in us the divine and eternal contemplation; in the Eucharist; the presence of the Risen Lord in the lowly appearance of Bread;

- in the Rosary; the prayer book of the little ones and the breviary of the poor, presenting to us the great mysteries of redemption and sanctification;

- in the Statutes; as the will of God for us and an indispensable means of our sanctification;

- in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor; as the man of sorrows, we seek only Jesus' face, doing everything with, for and to Jesus;

- in our hearts; as the indwelling divine presence;

- in our lives; as God's tender and personal love for us, His children;

- in our homes and surroundings; as the gratuitous gift of a generous God, and

- in the creation, as the beauty, majesty and splendour of the Father.

We shall make use of everything we come across in our today living, as God's living means to enter into deep contemplation of Him and grow in faith and deeper communion with all. (From the Contemplative Brothers' Constitutions No. 143).