Prayer and Silence: Pope Calls Us to Make Space for the Word to Dwell Within
Through prayer, heavenly wisdom is planted in the field of our hearts and we experience a deepening communion with the Trinitarian God.
Through prayer, daily life takes on new meaning. It becomes a classroom of communion. In that classroom we learn the truth about who we are - and who we are becoming - in Jesus. Through prayer we receive new glasses through which we see the true landscape of life. Through prayer darkness is dispelled and the path of progress is illuminated. Through prayer we are drawn by Love into a deepening relationship with Jesus whose loving embrace on the hill of Golgotha bridged heaven with earth
Pope Benedict XVI, man of prayer
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Every Wednesday the Pope instructs the faithful in either the Paul VI Hall or St Peters square, depending upon the weather. On Wednesday, March 6, 2012, the faithful heard the successor of Peter in the pristine beauty of an early spring day in St. Peter's Square. He concluded his ongoing teaching on learning how to pray from the prayer of Jesus by focusing on Silence.
Ten thousand eager pilgrims heard this man of deep prayer illuminate the beauty of the silence in the life of Jesus Christ as an example for all of us in pursuing our own call to prayer and intimacy with God. The Pope explained that silence is necessary to hear the Word of God, noting that "our age does not, in fact, favor reflection and contemplation; quite the contrary it seems that people are afraid to detach themselves, even for an instant, from the spate of words and images which mark and fill our days".
However, "the Gospels often show us ... Jesus withdrawing alone to a place far from the crowds, even from His own disciples, where He can pray in silence". Moreover, "the great patristic tradition teaches us that the mysteries of Christ are linked to silence, and only in silence can the Word find a place to dwell within us".
"This principle", the Holy Father explained "holds true for individual prayer, but also for our liturgies which, to facilitate authentic listening, must also be rich in moments of silence and of non verbal acceptance. ... Silence has the capacity to open a space in our inner being, a space in which God can dwell, which can ensure that His Word remains within us, and that love for Him is rooted in our minds and hearts, and animates our lives".
The Pope explained a connection between silence and prayer, "In our prayers, we often find ourselves facing the silence of God. We almost experience a sense of abandonment; it seems that God does not listen and does not respond. But this silence, as happened to Jesus, does not signify absence. Christians know that the Lord is present and listens, even in moments of darkness and pain, of rejection and solitude. Jesus assures His disciples and each one of us that God is well aware of our needs at every moment of our lives".
"For us, who are so frequently concerned with operational effectiveness and with the results ... we achieve, the prayer of Jesus is a reminder that we need to stop, to experience moments of intimacy with God, 'detaching ourselves' from the turmoil of daily life in order to listen, to return to the 'root' which nourishes and sustains our existence. One of the most beautiful moments of Jesus' prayer is when, faced with the sickness, discomfort and limitations of his interlocutors, He addresses His Father in prayer, thus showing those around him where they must go to seek the source of hope and salvation".
The Pope explained the most profound point of the prayer of Jesus to the Father came at the moment of His passion and death. Citing the Catechism (Par #2606) he explained that "His cry to the Father from the cross encapsulated 'all the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all the petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up in this cry of the incarnate Word. Here the Father accepts them and, beyond all hope, answers them by raising His Son. Thus is fulfilled and brought to completion the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation'".
Pope benedict XVI is a man of deep faith; the kind that gets into the marrow of the bones of a man who truly walks with God, making him strong, steady and unafraid of any adversary. This is precisely because he is a man of deep prayer, a contemplative. This contemplation is the symbol of his service and reveals the heart of the Church to modern world. He calls all of us to the kind of genuine conversion that comes only through prayer.
Only a Church of holiness, mystery, mission and true majesty can accomplish the huge task that lies ahead of us. The Church that was born from the wounded side of Jesus Christ, who stretched His arms out on the tree of our redemption to embrace the world, is desperately in need of deep and profound conversion. Prayer is the path to that much needed conversion.
Pope Benedict XVI has carried forward the mission of the "New Evangelization" announced by his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II. He knows that for the Church to rise to this challenge she must be filled with the Lord and thus able to give Him to others. This kind of deep conversion can only come through prayer.
World Communications Day falls on May 20, 2012. On Thursday, September 29, 2011 the Pontifical Council for Social Communications announced the theme of the event for 2012: Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization. In announcing the theme they explained, "In the thought of Pope Benedict XVI, silence is not presented simply as an ...
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