This prayer is universally known as Fr Claret’s ‘apostolic prayer’. It is possibly one of the most well-known and popular phrases he wrote. In it there is a double movement: towards God and towards others.
’God’ and ‘Father’ appear united in the Claretian prayer. This union is extremely fertile. It unites two experiences: Divine transcendence and his merciful love. Therefore, praying this prayer awakes a purification of God’s image in the one who prayers, making it evangelical. Whoever prays it with attention and faith accurately expresses and effectively nourishes his condition as creature and child.
The whole prayer is imbued with gratitude. It contains no trace of Prometheism. For this reason, after the initial invocation the verb ‘may’ is added. Beginning the prayer in this way implies a sense of otherness and also of gratitude. What is asked will be received as a gift.
The four double petitions present with four verbs. United, they indicate a programme of spiritual growth and at the same time a pastoral programme: ‘Know, love, serve and praise’. Today, as always, or perhaps more than ever, we need to know and make God known because he is greatly unknown and ignored. It is essential to love God and make him loved because He, rather than loved, is usually feared and regarded with suspicion. Furthermore, we must serve him and make him served because many people frequently tend to manipulate and use him. Finally, choral praise of God is the peak of all pastoral action and all paths of spiritual growth: divine praise, signified in the liturgy, is the summit and goal of Christian life.
The proposal for you, who meditates on these lines, is clear: Pray the apostolic prayer slowly. Linger on each of the four petitions. How about learning it off by heart? At the very least, you can keep it in your pocket and pray it frequently.