Wednesday, December 14, 2011

General Audience: "The greatest gift God can give us is his friendship"


During the pope's general audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall, he spoke about the importance of prayer and how it helps in building a relationship with God.

FULL TEXT: Benedict XVI
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, In our continuing catechesis on prayer, we now consider Jesus’ own prayer, particularly in the context of his miracles of healing. Both the cure of the deaf man (Mk 7:32-37) and the raising of Lazarus (Jn 11:1-44) show us Jesus at prayer before cases of human suffering. His prayer on these occasions reveals not only his profound identification with the suffering but also his unique relationship with the Father. In the case of the deaf man, Jesus’ compassion leads him to introduce his prayer with a deep sigh (v. 34).

In the case of Lazarus, he is deeply moved by the sorrow of Martha and Mary, and weeps before the tomb of his friend. At the same time, he sees the tragedy of Lazarus’ death in the light of the Father’s will and of his own identity and mission. Jesus’ example teaches us that in our own prayers we must always trust in the Father’s will and strive to see all things in the light of his mysterious plan of love.

We too must join petition, praise and thanksgiving in every prayer, knowing that the greatest gift God can give us is his friendship, and that our example of prayer can open our hearts to our brothers and sisters in need and point others to God’s saving presence in our world.

I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking visitors present, including the groups from Vietnam, Nigeria and the United States. As we prepare to celebrate the Saviour’s birth at Christmas, I cordially invoke upon you and your families his abundant blessings of joy and peace!”

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