2007-03-05 14:29:12

Pope says prayer is not optional

Prayer is not "an optional" or an accessory for Christians but an essential part of the life of the faithful, Pope Benedict said on Sunday. At the same time prayer could not be a means of escaping the sometimes harsh reality of the world, he told pilgrims and tourists who gathered in St Peter's Square to recite the traditional midday Angelus prayer with him. The Pope’s first Angelus reflection after a week of spiritual retreat was based on Sunday’s Gospel reading of the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mt. Tabor. "Prayer,” he said, “is not an accessory, an optional, but it is a question of life and death." "Only those who pray, in fact, only those who entrust themselves to God with the love of a child, can enter eternal life ...". "For a Christian," the Pope said, "praying does not mean evading escaping reality and its responsibilities but facing them fully, confiding in the faithful and inexhaustable love of the Lord."
The Holy Father spoke of the moment when Jesus went up the mountain to pray together with Peter, James and John: "For the three apostles, to go up the mountain meant to be involved in Jesus' prayer, who often withdrew to pray, especially at dawn or after sundown, and sometimes during the whole night. "However, on that occasion alone, on the mountain, he wished to manifest to his friends the interior light that invaded him when he prayed … his countenance was altered and his raiment became dazzling, reflecting the splendor of the divine person of the Incarnate Word." The Pope invited believers during Lent implore Mary, the teacher of the spiritual life, to "teach us to pray as her Son did so that our life is transformed by the light of his presence."
After reciting the Angelus, the Pope reminded all of a Marian vigil which he will hold in the Vatican next Saturday , March 10. The meeting is for young university students of Rome but students from other countries of Europe and Asia will also be linked up via radio and television.

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