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

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9 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)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (Troparion, Tone 1)

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

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself." (Proverbs 6:32 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Christ is Risen! 
O the marvel! the forbearance! the immeasurable meekness! 
The Untouched is felt; the Master is held by a servant, 
And He reveals His wounds to one of His inner circle. 
Seeing these wounds, the whole Creation was shaken at the time. 
Thomas, when he was considered worthy of such gifts, 
Lifted up a prayer to the One Who deemed him worthy, 
Saying, "Bear my rashness with patience, 
Have pity on my unworthiness and lighten the burden 
Of my lack of faith, so that I may sing and cry, 
`Thou art our Lord and God.'" 


Kontakia of Romanos, V. 1, On Doubting Thomas