Asserts That It Is Not a Way to Evade Reality

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 4, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Prayer is "a question of life or death," as our relationship of love with God depends on it, says Benedict XVI.

Addressing the crowds gathered today in St. Peter's Square to recite the midday Angelus, the Pope drew this lesson from the day's liturgy, which recounted the transfiguration of Jesus.

The Holy Father explained that "prayer is not something accessory, it is not 'optional,' but rather a question of life or death."

"Only one who prays, that is, who entrusts himself to God with filial love, can enter into eternal life, which is God himself," added the Pontiff, who on Saturday finished a weeklong spiritual retreat.

Benedict XVI 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."

In history

The Pope took Christ's conversation with Moses and Elijah to represent his dedication to the mission the Father had given him.

"In his intimate dialogue with his Father, he does not leave history, he does not flee from the mission for which he came into the world, though he knows that to attain glory he will have to go through the cross," Benedict XVI said.

He continued: "What is more, Christ enters this mission more profoundly, adhering with all his being to the will of the Father, and he shows us that true prayer consists precisely in uniting our will to the Father's.

"Therefore, for a Christian to pray is not to evade reality and the responsibilities it entails, but to assume them to the end, trusting in the faithful and inexhaustible love of the Lord."

Benedict XVI concluded by inviting believers during Lent to pray to Mary, "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."

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Teachings of Christ

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching." (Proverbs 4:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

[The Lord] is always knocking at the doors of our hearts, that we may open to Him, that He may enter in and rest in Our souls, and we may wash and anoint His feet, and He may make His abode with us. The Lord in that passage reproaches the man who did not wash His feet (Luke 7:44); and again He says elsewhere, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man will open unto Me, I shall come in unto him" (Rev. 3:20). To this end He endured to suffer many things, giving His own body unto death, and purchasing us out of bondage, in order that He might come to our soul and make His abode with it.. ..His food and His drink, His clothing and shelter and rest is in our souls. Therefore He is always knocking, desiring to enter into us.. Let us then receive Him, and bring Him within ourselves; because He is our food and our drink and our eternal life, and every soul that has not now received Him within and given Him rest, or rather found rest in Him, has no inheritance in the kingdom of heaven with the saints, and cannot enter into the heavenly city.. But Thou, Lord Jesus Christ, bring us thereunto, glorifying Thy name, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever. Amen

St Macarius the Great