PRAYER GIVES ESSENTIAL MEANING TO OUR DAILY ACTIVITIES
Vatican City, 25 April 2012 (VIS) - If prayer and the Word of God do not nourish our spiritual life, we run the risk being suffocated by the many cares and concerns of daily existence. Prayer makes us see reality with new eyes and helps us to find our way in the midst of adversity. These words were pronounced by Benedict XVI in his catechesis during this morning's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of more than 20,000 faithful. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
The Pope explained how prayer encouraged the early Church, though beset by difficulties, and how it can help man to live a better life today. "Ever since the beginning of her journey the Church has had to face unexpected situations, new questions and emergencies, to which she has sought to respond in the light of the faith, allowing herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit", he said.
This was already evident at the time of the Apostles. In the Acts, Luke the Evangelist recounts "a serious problem which the first Christian community in Jerusalem had to face and resolve, ... concerning the pastoral care of charity towards the isolated and the needy. It was not an unimportant issue and risked creating divisions within the Church. ... What stands out is that, at that moment of pastoral emergency, the Apostles made a distinction. Their primary duty was to announce the Word of God according to the Lord’s mandate, but they considered as equally serious the task of ... making loving provision for their brothers and sisters in situations of need, in order to respond to Jesus' command: love one another as I have loved you".
The Apostles made a clear decision: it was not right for them to neglect prayer and preaching, therefore "seven men of good standing were chosen, the Apostles prayed for the strength of the Holy Spirit, then laid their hands upon them that they might dedicate themselves to the diaconate of charity". This decision, the Pope explained, "shows the priority we must give to God and to our relationship with Him in prayer, both as individuals and in the community. If we do not have the capacity to pause and listen to the Lord, to enter into dialogue with Him, we risk becoming ineffectually agitated by problems, difficulties and needs, even those of an ecclesial and pastoral nature".
The saints, Pope Benedict said, "experienced profound unity between prayer and action, between total love of God and love for their fellows". St. Bernard, a model of harmony between these two aspects, "affirmed that too many concerns ... often end up by hardening our heart and causing our spirit to suffer. This is an important reminder for us today, accustomed as we are to evaluating everything with the criterion of productivity and efficiency. That passage from the Acts of the Apostles reminds us of the importance of work and commitment in daily activity, which must be carried out with responsibility and dedication, but also of our need for God, for His guidance and His light which give us strength and hope. If we do not pray trustingly every day, our activities become empty, they lose all profundity and are reduced to mere activism which, in the final analysis, leaves us unsatisfied. ... Every step, every action in our lives, even in theChurch, must be done before God, in prayer and in the light of His Word".
When prayer is nourished with the Word of God "we see reality with new eyes, with the eyes of the faith and the Lord, Who speaks to the mind and to the heart, gives new light for the journey in all times and situations. We believe in the power of the Word of God and of prayer. ... If the lungs of prayer and of the Word of God do not nourish the breath of spiritual life, we risk suffocating in the midst of a thousand daily cares. Prayer is the breath of the soul and of life".
In conclusion, Benedict XVI noted that when we pray, "in the silence of a church or in our room, we are united in the Lord to our brothers and sisters in the faith, like so many instruments which, each in its own individuality, raise a single great symphony of intercession, thanksgiving and praise".
POPE TO VISIT AREZZO, LA VERNA AND SANSEPOLCRO, FAMOUS CENTRES OF MONASTIC LIFE
Vatican City, 25 April 2012 (VIS) - On 13 May Benedict XVI is scheduled to make a pastoral visit to Arezzo, La Verna and Sansepolcro, three Italian localities with a long history of monasticism and contemplative life.
The Holy Father will leave the Vatican by helicopter at 8 a.m. on Sunday 13 May, and is due to land at Arezzo an hour later. At 10 a.m. he will concelebrate Mass and pray the Regina Coeli in the "Il Prato" park, after which he will make a private visit to the cathedral of San Donato. Having lunched with bishops of the Tuscany region, he will again board his helicopter to travel to the shrine of La Verna where he will visit the Chapel of the Wounds in which St. Francis of Assisi used to meditate, then meet with members of the Friars Minor and Poor Clares from the local area on the esplanade in front of the building.
At 6.30 p.m. he will travel by helicopter to Sansepolcro. There he will visit the local cathedral which houses a famous crucifix known as the "Santo Volto" (Holy Face), considered to be one of the oldest images of the the clothed and crucified Christ. At 7.30 p.m. he will meet the inhabitants of the town in the piazza Torre di Berta before returning to the Vatican at 8.15 p.m.
THE POPE INVITES PEOPLE TO DRIVE CAREFULLY
Vatican City, 25 April 2012 (VIS) - At the end of his catechesis this morning, the Pope pronounced greetings in various languages to the faithful present in St. Peter's Square. He made particular mention of Slovak pilgrims who next Sunday will be celebrating a Day of Prayer for Vocations. "Ask Christ the Good Shepherd", he said, "always to send new workers to serve Him".
Finally he addressed some words in Italian to relatives of traffic accident victims, assuring them of his prayers "for those who have lost their lives on the roads", and recalling "our constant duty to drive carefully and with a sense of responsibility".
NOTE FROM THE SECRETARIAT OF STATE
Vatican City, 25 April 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a note released this morning by the Secretariat of State:
"In the wake of recent leaks of reserved and confidential documents on television, in newspapers and in other communications media, the Holy Father has ordered the creation of a Commission of Cardinals to undertake an authoritative investigation and throw light on these episodes.
"His Holiness has determined that the said Commission of Cardinals, which will act at all levels on the strength of its pontifical mandate, shall be presided by Cardinal Julian Herranz, and shall have as its members Cardinal Jozef Tomko and Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi.
"The Commission of Cardinals celebrated its first sitting on 24 April to establish the method and timetable for its activities".
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 25 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Maraba, Brazil, presented by Bishop Jose Foralosso S.D.B., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.