Sunday, May 19, 2013

It Doesn't Get Much Better

A School of Prayer
Pope Benedict XVI
Sceptre Publishers, Inc. 2012 (Kindle Edition)

“Constant and unanimous prayer is a precious tool to overcome any trial that may arise on life’s journey, because it is being deeply united to God that allows us also to be united to others.” (Highlight Loc. 2253-54)

No doubt there are those who would question as to whether I am all that in touch with the world around me, but for all my sustainers, who respect my judgment, I must tell you I couldn't be more enthusiastic about a book. Some may have enjoyed singly these Wednesday General Audience talks from our Pope Emeritus, but gathered under one cover they take on new life and never fail to impress as you allow yourself to be surprised, touched and convinced by the leitmotifs woven in.

This volume is indeed for everyone and can educate the smartest among us while edifying and responding to the needs of some of the simplest and most honest among us believers. It really helps understand what prayer of petition is all about and how we ask of God and experience an answer to our prayers.

"Before reflecting on this beautiful prayer, let us take note of an important basic attitude: when the first Christian community is confronted by dangers, difficulties, and threats, it does not attempt to work out how to react, find strategies, defend itself, or decide what measures to adopt; rather, when it is put to the test, the community starts to pray and makes contact with God." (Highlight Loc. 2001-4)

The Holy Father couldn't be clearer on the importance of unity and perseverance in prayer. He never judges, but it is all too clear that we as a Church would do better if we were of one mind and heart and constant in our prayer.

"Dear brothers and sisters, Peter’s liberation as recounted by Luke tells us that the Church (i.e., each of us) goes through the night of trial, but it is unceasing vigilance in prayer that sustains us. I too, from the first moment of my election as the successor of St. Peter, have always felt supported by your prayers, by the prayers of the Church, especially in moments of great difficulty. My heartfelt thanks! With constant and faithful prayer, the Lord releases us from our chains; he guides us through every night of imprisonment that can gnaw at our hearts. He gives us the peace of heart to face the difficulties of life, persecution, opposition, and even rejection. Peter’s experience shows us the power of prayer." (Highlight Loc. 2247-52)

People's enthusiasm for Pope Francis and the big crowds present in St. Peter's Square are truly a feast for the eyes and a joy to the heart. Beyond the hurrahs and the hosannahs, all of us worldwide in unanimity owe him the prayerful support which the Church has always given and without reserve to St. Peter and his Successors. 

Start with his monthly intentions in the Apostleship of Prayer and go on from there in union with the whole Church. Peter slept easy in chains, confident in God's power to save and in the prayer of the Church.

In Him we live and move and have our being:

Actiones nostras, quæsumus, Domine, aspirando præveni et adiuvando prosequere, ut cuncta nostra oratio et operatio a te semper incipiat, et per te coepta finiatur”—that is, “Inspire our actions, Lord, and accompany them with your help, so that our every word and action may always begin and end in you.” Every step in our life, every action—of the Church too—must be taken before God, in the light of his word." 
(Highlight Loc. 2111-15)

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