Thursday, July 08, 2010

Pope Benedict on discerning "true prayer"

And here, I would like to say a second thing: true prayer is in fact not foreign to reality. If praying alienated you, took you away from your real life, beware: it would not be true prayer! On the contrary, dialogue with God is the guarantee of truth, of truthfulness with oneself and with others and, therefore, of liberty. To be with God, to listen to his Word, in the Gospel, in the liturgy of the Church, defends us from the fascinations of pride and of presumption, from fashions and conformism, and gives us the strength to be truly free, including from certain temptations masked as good things.

You asked me: how can we be in the world without being of the world? I answer you: precisely thanks to prayer, to personal contact with God. It is not about multiplying words -- Jesus already said that -- but of being in the presence of God, of making one's own, in one's mind and heart, the phrases of the "Our Father," which embrace all the problems of our life, and also of adoring the Eucharist, meditating on the Gospel in our rooms, or participating with recollection in the liturgy. All this does not separate us from life, but helps us to be ourselves in every environment, faithful to God's voice that speaks to our consciences, free from the conditioning of the moment. [...]

Dear friends! Faith and prayer do not resolve problems, but enable one to address them with a new light and strength, in a way fitting to man, and also more serenely and effectively. If we look at the history of the Church, we will see that it is rich in figures of saints and blesseds who, precisely beginning with an intense and constant dialogue with God, illumined by faith, were always able to find new, creative solutions to respond to concrete human needs in every century: health, education, work, etc. Their daring was animated by the Holy Spirit and by a strong and generous love of brothers, especially of the weakest and most underprivileged.

Transcription of Benedict XVI's Sunday address to young people in the cathedral of Sulmona. The Pope made a one-day trip to the region, which was devastated by an earthquake in 2009.