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Wednesday, May 11, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 11 MAY 2011 (VIS) - In this Wednesday's general audience celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope continued with the reflection on "how prayer and religious feeling are a part of humans throughout their lives".

  The Holy Father said that our age is "marked by ... an apparent eclipse of God" but that, at the same time, there are "signs of a renewed religious sense".

  !Looking at recent history, the predictions of those who, from the age of Enlightenment, foretold the disappearance of religions and exalted absolute reason, separated from faith, have failed".

  While highlighting that "there has never been a great civilization, from time immemorial to our age, that has not been religious", Benedict XVI emphasized that "the human being is religious by nature. ... The image of the Creator is engraved on human beings, who feel the need to find a light to answer the questions regarding the profound meaning of reality; an answer that we cannot find in ourselves, in progress, or in empirical science".

  "We know that we cannot respond alone to our basic need to understand. For however much we think we are self-sufficient, we experience that we do not suffice. We need to open ourselves to something else, something or someone, that can give us what is missing. We must go out of ourselves and go toward the One who is capable of satisfying the width and breadth of our desire".

  The Pope explained that "humanity bears within it a thirst for the infinite, a yearning for eternity, a search for beauty, a desire for love, a need for light and truth, which impel us toward the Absolute. We carry within us the desire for God.  In some way, we know that we can turn to God, that we can pray to Him. St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest theologians of history, defined prayer as 'the expression of humanity's desire for God'".

  Referring to prayer, the Holy Father noted that "it is an inner attitude before being a series of practices or formulas; it is a manner of being in God's presence before the carrying out of acts of worship or speaking words. Prayer has its center and sinks it roots in the depth of the person. That is why it is not easily decipherable and, for the same reason, why it can be the object of misunderstanding and manipulation. ... The experience of prayer is a challenge for all, a 'grace' that must be invoked, a gift of the One to whom we address ourselves".

  "In prayer, ... human beings experience themselves as creatures in need of help, incapable of attaining the fulfillment of their existence or their hopes alone. ... In the experience of prayer we orient our very souls to that Mystery from which we look for the fulfillment of our deepest desires and help to overcome the poverty of our lives. In looking to the Other, in directing ourselves 'beyond', is found the essence of prayer, the experience of a reality that goes beyond the apparent and the contingent".

  Benedict XVI affirmed that "even though human beings are forgetful of their Creator, the true and living God never stops calling humanity first to the mysterious encounter of prayer".

 "We must learn to spend more time in front of God, before the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ; we must learn to recognize in silence, within our very selves, his voice that calls us and leads us to the depth of our existence, to the fount of life and the source of salvation, so that we might overcome the limit of our lives and open ourselves to the measure of God, the relationship with He who is Infinite Love".
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