Asserts That It Is Not a Way to Evade Reality

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 4, 2007 ( 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."


Teachings of Christ

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)


Today is the fountainhead of our salvation, * and the revelation of an eternal mystery: * The Son of God becomes the Son of a Virgin, * and Gabriel announces the good news of grace. * Therefore, let us also cry with him to the Mother of God: * "Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion, Tone 4)

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

To you, O Mother of God, our leader and defender, * we, your servants, delivered from calamity, offer hymns of victory and thanksgiving. * So you, who have invincible might, * set us free from every peril * that we may cry to you: * "Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!" (Kontakion, Tone 8)

Random Proverb

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Faith and love which are gifts of the Holy Spirit are such great and powerful means that a person who has them can easily, and with joy and consolation, go the way Jesus Christ went. Besides this, the Holy Spirit gives man the power to resist the delusions of the world so that although he makes use of earthly good, yet he uses them as a temporary visitor, without attaching his heart to them. But a man who has not got the Holy Spirit, despite all his learning and prudence, is always more or less a slave and worshipper of the world.

St. Innocent of Irkutsk, Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven.