Audiences 2005-2013 20041

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 - Easter Triduum

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have now arrived at the heart of Holy Week, the culmination of the Lenten journey. Tomorrow we shall enter the Easter Triduum, the three holy days in which the Church commemorates the mystery of the Passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus.

The Son of God, who, after becoming man in obedience to the Father, similar to us in all things save sin (cf.
He 4,15), accepted to do the Father’s will to the very end. He accepted the Passion and the Cross out of love for us, to enable us to share in his Resurrection so that, in him and for him, we might live for ever in consolation and in peace.

I therefore urge you to accept this mystery of salvation and to participate intensely in the Easter Triduum, the fulcrum of the entire Liturgical Year and a time of special grace for every Christian. I invite you in these days to seek recollection and prayer, so as to draw more deeply from this source of grace. In this regard, with a view to the forthcoming celebrations every Christian is asked to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation, a moment of special adherence to the death and Resurrection of Christ, to be able to participate more fruitfully in Holy Easter.

Holy Thursday is the day on which the Institution of the Eucharist and of the Ministerial Priesthood is commemorated. In the morning each diocesan community, gathered round its bishop in the cathedral church, celebrates the Chrism Mass in which the sacred Chrism, the Oil of the Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick are blessed. Starting with the Easter Triduum and throughout the liturgical year these oils will be used for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, priestly and episcopal Ordination and the Anointing of the Sick.

This emphasizes that salvation, transmitted by the sacramental signs, flows from the very heart of the Paschal Mystery of Christ. Indeed, we are redeemed by his death and Resurrection and, through the sacraments, we draw on that same salvific source.

The priestly promises will also be renewed at the Chrism Mass tomorrow. Throughout the world, every priest renews the commitment he made on the day of his Ordination to be totally consecrated to Christ in exercising his sacred ministry at the service of his brethren. Let us accompany our priests with our prayers.

In the afternoon of Holy Thursday, the Triduum effectively begins with the commemoration of the Last Supper, at which Jesus instituted the Memorial of his Passover, complying with the Jewish Easter rite. In accordance with the tradition, every Jewish family, gathered at table on the feast of the Passover, eats roast lamb, commemorating the liberation of the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt; thus in the Upper Room, knowing of his imminent death, Jesus, the true Paschal Lamb, offered himself for our salvation (cf. 1Co 5,7).

In pronouncing the blessing over the bread and the wine, he anticipated the sacrifice of the Cross and expressed the intention of perpetuating his presence among the disciples. Under the species of the bread and the wine, he made himself present in a real way with his Body given and his Blood poured out.

At the Last Supper, the Apostles were constituted ministers of this Sacrament of salvation; Jesus washed their feet (cf. Jn 13,1-25), inviting them to love one another as he had loved them, giving his life for them. In repeating this gesture in the Liturgy, we too are called to witness effectively to the love of our Redeemer.

Lastly, Holy Thursday ends with Eucharistic Adoration, in memory of the Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Having left the Upper Room he withdrew to pray, alone before the Father. At that moment of deep communion the Gospels recount that Jesus experienced great anguish, such acute suffering that it made him sweat blood (cf. Mt 26,38).

In the knowledge of his imminent death on the Cross, he felt immense anguish at the closeness of death. In this situation an element appeared that was of great importance to the whole Church. Jesus said to his followers: stay here and keep watch; and this appeal for vigilance concerns precisely this moment of anguish, of threats, in which the traitor was to arrive, but it concerns the whole history of the Church. It is a permanent message for every era because the disciples’ drowsiness was not just a problem at that moment but is a problem for the whole of history.

The question is: in what does this apathy consist? What would the watchfulness to which the Lord invites us consist of? I would say that the disciples’ somnolence in the course of history is a certain insensitiveness of the soul with regard to the power of evil, an insensibility to all the evil in the world. We do not wish to be unduly disturbed by these things, we prefer to forget them. We think that perhaps, after all, it will not be so serious and we forget.

Moreover, it is not only insensibility to evil, when we should be watchful in order to do good, to fight for the force of goodness. Rather it is an insensibility to God: this is our true sleepiness, this insensibility to God’s presence that also makes us insensible to evil. We are not aware of God — he would disturb us — hence we are naturally not aware of the force of evil and continue on the path of our own convenience.

Nocturnal adoration of Holy Thursday, watching with the Lord, must be the very moment to make us reflect on the somnolence of the disciples, of the defenders of Jesus, of the Apostles, of us who do not see, who do not wish to see the whole force of evil nor do we wish to enter his passion for goodness, for the presence of God in the world, for the love of our neighbour and of God.

Then the Lord began to pray. The three Apostles — Peter, James and John — were asleep but they awoke intermittently and heard the refrain of this prayer of the Lord: “not my will, but your will be done”. What is this will of mine, what is this will of yours of which the Lord speaks?

My will is “that he should not die”, that he be spared this cup of suffering: it is the human will, human nature, and Christ felt, with the whole awareness of his being, life, the abyss of death, the terror of nothingness, the threat of suffering. Moreover, he was even more acutely aware of the abyss of evil than are we who have a natural aversion to death, a natural fear of death.

Together with death, he felt the whole of humanity’s suffering. He felt that this was the cup he was obliged to drink, that he himself had to drink in order to accept the evil of the world, all that is terrible, the aversion to God, the whole weight of sin. And we can understand that before this reality, the cruelty of which he fully perceived, Jesus, with his human soul, was terrified: my will would be not to drink the cup, but my will is subordinate to your will, to the will of God, to the will of the Father, which is also the true will of the Son. And thus in this prayer Jesus transformed his natural repugnance, his aversion to the cup and to his mission to die for us; he transformed his own natural will into God’s will, into a “yes” to God’s will.

Man of himself is tempted to oppose God’s will, to seek to do his own will, to feel free only if he is autonomous; he sets his own autonomy against the heteronomy of obeying God’s will. This is the whole drama of humanity. But in truth, this autonomy is mistaken and entry into God’s will is not opposition to the self, it is not a form of slavery that violates my will but rather means entering into truth and love, into goodness.

And Jesus draws our will — which opposes God’s will, which seeks autonomy — upwards, towards God’s will. This is the drama of our redemption, that Jesus should uplift our will, our total aversion to God’s will and our aversion to death and sin and unite it with the Father’s will: “Not my will but yours”. In this transformation of “no” into “yes”, in this insertion of the creatural will into the will of the Father, he transforms humanity and redeems us. And he invites us to be part of his movement: to emerge from our “no” and to enter into the “yes” of the Son. My will exists, but the will of the Father is crucial because it is truth and love.

Another element of this prayer seems to me to be important. The three witnesses preserved — as appears in Sacred Scripture — the Hebrew or Aramaic word with which the Lord spoke to the Father, he called him: “Abba”, Father. But this term “Abba” is a familiar form of the term “father”, a form used only in the family that was never applied to God. Here we have a glimpse of Jesus’ intimate life, of the way he spoke in the family, the way he truly spoke as the Son with the Father. We see the Trinitarian mystery: the Son speaks to the Father and redeems humanity.

A further observation: the Letter to the Hebrews gave us a profound interpretation of this prayer of the Lord, of this drama of Gethsemane. It says: Jesus’ tears, his prayer, his cry, his anguish, all this is not merely a concession to the weakness of the flesh as might be said. It is in this very way that Jesus fulfilled his office as High Priest, because the High Priest must uplift the human being, with all his problems and suffering, to God’s heights. And the Letter to the Hebrews says: with all these cries, tears, prayers and supplications, the Lord has brought our reality to God (cf. He 5,7ff). And it uses this Greek word “prosferein”, which is the technical term for what the High Priest must do to offer, with raised hands.

It was in this drama of Gethsemane, where God’s power no longer seemed to be present, that Jesus fulfilled his role as High Priest. And it also says that in this act of obedience, that is, of the conformation of the natural human will to God’s will, he was perfected as a priest. Furthermore, it once again uses the technical word for ordaining a priest. In this way he truly became the High Priest of humanity and thus opened Heaven and the door to the resurrection.

If we reflect on this drama of Gethsemane we can also see the strong contrast between Jesus with his anguish, with his suffering, in comparison with the great philosopher Socrates, who stayed calm, without anxiety, in the face of death. And this seems the ideal. We can admire this philosopher but Jesus’ mission was different. His mission was not this total indifference and freedom; his mission was to bear in himself the whole burden of our suffering, the whole of the human drama. This humiliation of Gethsemane, therefore, is essential to the mission of the God-Man. He carries in himself our suffering, our poverty, and transforms it in accordance with God’s will. And thus he opens the doors of Heaven. He opens Heaven: this curtain of the Most Holy One, which until now Man has kept closed against God, is opened through his suffering and obedience. These are a few observations for Holy Thursday, for our celebration on Holy Thursday evening.

On Good Friday we will commemorate the Passion and death of the Lord; we will worship the Crucified Christ, we will share in his suffering with penance and fasting. Looking “on him whom they have pierced” (cf. Jn 19,37), we shall be able to draw from his pierced heart, from which blood and water flowed as from a source; from that heart from which the love of God for every human being flows, we receive his Spirit. Therefore, on Good Friday, let us too accompany Jesus on his ascent to Calvary, allowing him to guide us right to the Cross and to receive the offering of his immolated Body.

Lastly, on the night of Holy Saturday we shall celebrate the solemn Easter Vigil during which Christ’s Resurrection is proclaimed, his definitive victory over death which calls us to be new men and women in him. In participating in this holy Vigil, the central Night of the entire Liturgical Year, we shall commemorate our Baptism, in which we too were buried with Christ, to be able to rise with him and take part in the banquet of Heaven (cf. Ap 19,7-9).

Dear friends, we have endeavoured to understand Jesus’ state of mind at the moment when he experienced the extreme trial in order to grasp what directed his action. The criterion that throughout his life guided every decision Jesus made was his firm determination to love the Father, to be one with the Father and to be faithful to him; this decision to respond to his love impelled him to embrace the Father’s plan in every single circumstance, to make his own the plan of love entrusted to him in order to recapitulate all things in God, to lead all things to him.

In reliving the Sacred Triduum, let us also prepare ourselves to welcome God’s will in our life, knowing that our own true good, the way to life, is found in God’s will even if it appears harsh, in contrast with our intentions. May the Virgin Mother guide us on this itinerary and obtain from her divine Son the grace to be able to spend our life for love of Jesus, in the service of our brethren. Thank you.

To special groups:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I offer a cordial welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, The Netherlands, the Philippines, Canada and the United States. To you and your families I offer prayerful good wishes for a spiritually fruitful celebration of Holy Week and a Happy Easter!

I address a warm welcome to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet in particular those participating in the international UNIV meeting, sponsored by the Prelature of Opus Dei. Dear friends, I hope that these days in Rome will be an opportunity for all of you to rediscover the Person of Christ as well as a strong ecclesial experience so that you will go home motivated by the desire to witness to the heavenly Father’s mercy.

Thus, all that St Josemaría Escrivá hoped for will be brought about in your life: “How I wish your bearing and conversation were such that, on seeing or hearing you, people will say: This man reads the life of Jesus Christ” (The Way, n. 2).

I then cordially greet the young people, the sick and the newlyweds. Tomorrow we shall be entering the Sacred Triduum that will make us relive the central mysteries of our salvation. I ask you, dear young people, and especially, you young members of the “Lega Nazionale Dilettanti”, to look to the Cross and to draw from it light in order to walk faithfully in the Redeemer’s footsteps. Dear sick people, may the Lord’s Passion, which culminates in the glorious triumph of Easter always be a source of hope and comfort to you. And, dear newlyweds, may you prepare your hearts for celebrating the Paschal Mystery with intense participation, so that your whole life may become every day a reciprocal gift open to love and rich in fruits of goodness.

St. Peter's Square

Wednesday, 27 April 2011 - Octave of Easter

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In these first days of the Easter Season — which lasts until Pentecost — we are still filled with the freshness and new joy that the liturgical celebrations have brought to our hearts. I would therefore like to reflect briefly with you on Easter, the heart of the Christian mystery. Everything, in fact, starts here: our faith is founded on Christ risen from the dead.

The whole liturgy of the Church radiates from Easter, as if from a luminous, incandescent centre, drawing from it content and significance. The liturgical celebration of the death and Resurrection of Christ is not a simple commemoration of this event but is its actualization in the mystery, for the life of every Christian and of every ecclesial community, for our life. In fact, faith in the Risen Christ transforms life, bringing about within us a continuous resurrection, as St Paul wrote to the first believers: “For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)” (
Ep 5,8-9).

So how can we make Easter become “life”? How can the whole of our interior and exterior existence take on a paschal “form”? We must start from an authentic understanding of Jesus’ Resurrection: this event is not merely a return to previous life, as it was for Lazarus, for the daughter of Jairus and for the young man of Nain; rather it is something entirely new and different.

Christ’s Resurrection is a landing place on the way to a life no longer subjected to the transience of time, a life steeped in God’s eternity. In the Resurrection of Jesus a new condition of being human begins, which illumines and transforms our daily routine and opens a qualitatively different and new future to humanity as a whole.

For this reason not only does St Paul interpret the resurrection of Christians in a manner inseparable from that of Jesus (cf. 1Co 15,16 1Co 15,20), but he also points out how we should live the Paschal Mystery in our everyday lives.

In the Letter to the Colossians, he says: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col 3,1-2). At first sight, on reading this text it might seem that the Apostle intends to encourage contempt of earthly realities, in other words inviting us to forget this world of suffering, injustice and sin, in order to live in anticipation in a heavenly paradise. The thought of “Heaven” would in this case be a sort of alienation. Yet, to grasp the true meaning of these Pauline affirmations, it is sufficient not to separate them from the context. The Apostle explains very clearly what he means by “things that are above” which the Christian must seek and the “things that are on earth”, that the Christian should avoid.

Now, first of all what are the “things of the earth” that must be avoided? “Put to death therefore”, St Paul writes, “what is earthly in you: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col 3,5-6). Putting to death within us the insatiable desire for material goods, selfishness, the root of all sin. Therefore, when the Apostle invites Christians to detach themselves firmly from the “things of the earth”, he clearly wishes to make them understand that they belong to the “old nature”, from which the Christian must divest himself, in order to put on Christ.

Just as he was unambivalent in spelling out the things which we should not set our hearts on, he was equally clear in pointing out to us the “things that are above”, which on the contrary Christians must seek and savour. They concern what belongs to the “new nature”, which has put on Christ once and for all in Baptism, but always needs to be renewed “after the image of its Creator” (Col 3,10). This is how the Apostle to the Gentiles describes these “things that are above”: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other.... And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col 3,12-24).

St Paul, therefore is very far from inviting Christians, each one of us, to escape from the world in which God has placed us. It is true that we are citizens of another “city”, where our true homeland is found; but we must journey on towards this destination every day, here on earth. Taking part from this moment in the life of the Risen Christ, we must live in this world, in the heart of the earthly city, as new men and women.

And this is not only the way to transform ourselves, but also to transform the world, to give the earthly city a new face that will encourage the development of humanity and of society, in accordance with the logic of solidarity, of goodness, in profound respect for the dignity proper to each one. The Apostle reminds us of the virtues that must accompany Christian life; at the top of the list is charity, to which all the others are related, as to the source and the matrix. Christian life sums up or summarizes the “things that are in Heaven”: charity, which, with faith and hope, represents the great rule of life of the Christian and defines its profound nature.

Easter, therefore, brings the newness of a profound and total passage form a life subjected to the slavery of sin to a life of freedom, enlivened by love, a force that pulls down every barrier and builds a new harmony in one’s own heart and in the relationship with others and with things. Every Christian just as every community, if he lives the experience of this passage of resurrection, cannot but be a new leaven in the world, giving himself without reserve for the most urgent and just causes, as the testimonies of the saints in every epoch and in every place show.

The expectations of our time are so numerous: we Christians, firmly believing that Christ’s Resurrection has renewed man without taking him from the world in which he builds his history, we must be luminous witnesses of this new life that Easter has brought.

Easter is therefore a gift to be accepted ever more deeply in the faith, to be able to operate in every situation with the grace of Christ, according to the logic of God, the logic of love. The light of Christ’s Resurrection must penetrate this world of ours; as a message of truth and life it must reach all human beings through our daily witness.

Dear friends, Yes, Christ is truly risen! We cannot keep for ourselves the life and joy that he has given us in his Passover, but rather we must give it to all who approach us. It is our duty and our mission: to kindle in the heart of our neighbour hope where there is despair, joy where there is sorrow, life where there is death.

Witnessing every day to the joy of the Risen Lord means always living in “a paschal mode” and causing to ring out the Good News that Christ is neither an idea nor a memory of the past, but a Person who lives with us, for us and in us, and with him, for him and in him we can make all things new (cf. Ap 21,5).

To special groups:

I welcome the newly-ordained deacons of the Pontifical Irish College, together with their families and friends. Dear young deacons: in fulfilling the ministry you have received, may you proclaim the Gospel above all by the holiness of your lives and your joyful service to God’s People in your native land. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, especially those from Sweden, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand and the United States, I invoke an abundance of joy and peace in the Risen Lord. Happy Easter!

St. Peter's Square

Wednesday, 4 May 2011 - Christian prayer

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today I would like to begin a new series of Catecheses. After the series on the Fathers of the Church, on the great theologians of the Middle Ages and on great women, I would now like to choose a topic that is dear to all our hearts: it is the theme of prayer, and especially Christian prayer, the prayer, that is, which Jesus taught and which the Church continues to teach us. It is in fact in Jesus that man becomes able to approach God in the depth and intimacy of the relationship of fatherhood and sonship. Together with the first disciples, let us now turn with humble trust to the Teacher and ask him: “Lord, teach us to pray” (
Lc 11,1).

In the upcoming Catechesis, in comparing Sacred Scripture, the great tradition of the Fathers of the Church, of the Teachers of spirituality and of the Liturgy, let us learn to live our relationship with the Lord, even more intensely as it were at a “school of prayer”.

We know well, in fact, that prayer should not be taken for granted. It is necessary to learn how to pray, as it were acquiring this art ever anew; even those who are very advanced in spiritual life always feel the need to learn from Jesus, to learn how to pray authentically. We receive the first lesson from the Lord by his example. The Gospels describe Jesus to us in intimate and constant conversation with the Father: it is a profound communion of the One who came into the world not to do his will but that of the Father who sent him for the salvation of man.

At this first Catechesis, as an introduction I would like to propose several examples of prayer in the ancient cultures, to show that practically always and everywhere they were addressed to God.

I shall start with ancient Egypt, as an example. Here a blind man, asking the divinity to restore his sight, testifies to something universally human. This is a pure and simple prayer of petition by someone who is suffering. This man prays: “My heart longs to see you.... You who made me see the darkness, create light for me, so that I may see you! Bend your beloved face over me” (A. Barucq — F. Daumas, Hymnes et prières de l’Egypte ancienne, Paris 1980). That I may see you; this is the essence of the prayer!

In the religions of Mesopotamia an arcane, paralyzing sense of guilt predominated, but which was not devoid of the hope of redemption and liberation on God’s part. We may thus appreciate this entreaty by a believer of those ancient cultures, formulated in these words: “O God who are indulgent even in the greatest sin, absolve me from my sin.... Look, O Lord at your tired servant and blow your breeze upon him: forgive him without delay. Alleviate your severe punishment. Freed from bonds, grant that I may breathe anew, break my chains, loosen the fetters that bind me” (M.-J. Seux, Hymnes et Prières aux Dieux de Babylone et d’Assyrie, Paris 1976). These are words that demonstrate how the human being, in his search for God, had intuited, if vaguely, on the one hand his own guilt and on the other, aspects of divine mercy and goodness.

In the pagan religion of ancient Greece, a very significant development may be seen: prayers, while still invoking divine help to obtain heavenly favours in every circumstance of daily life and to receive material benefits, gradually became orientated to more disinterested requests, which enabled the believer to deepen his or her relationship with God and to become a better person.

For example, the great philosopher Plato records a prayer of his teacher, Socrates, held to be one of the founders of Western thought. This was Socrates’ prayer: “Grant to me that I be made beautiful in my soul within, and that all external possessions be in harmony with my inner man. May I consider the wise man rich; and may I have such wealth as only the self-restrained man can bear or endure” (Plato, Phaedrus, English trans.: Loeb, Harold North Fowler). Rather than to possess plenty of money, he wanted above all to be beautiful within and wise.

In the Greek tragedies, sublime masterpieces of the literature of all time which still, after 25 centuries, are read, thought about and performed today, there is a content of prayer which expresses the desire to know God and to worship his majesty. One of these tragedies says: “O Earth’s Upbearer, thou whose throne is Earth, Who’er thou be, O past our finding out, Zeus, be thou Nature’s Law, or Mind of man, Thee I invoke; for, treading soundless paths, To Justice’ goal thou bringest all mortal things” (Euripedes, Trojan Women, 884-886, English trans.: Loeb, Arthur S. Way). God remains somewhat nebulous, nevertheless man knows this unknown god and prays to the one who guides the ways of the world.

Also among the Romans who made up that great Empire in which Christianity first came into being and spread, prayer, even if it is associated with a utilitarian conception and fundamentally associated with the request for divine protection of the life of the civil community, sometimes begins with invocations that are wonderful for the fervour of personal devotion that is transformed into praise and thanksgiving. In the second century A.D., Apuleius, an author of Roman Africa, attested to this. In his writings he expresses his contemporaries’ dissatisfaction with the traditional religion and the desire for a more authentic relationship with God. In his masterpiece, entitled Metamorphoses, a believer addresses these words to a goddess: “You are holy, you are in every epoch a saviour of the human species, you, in your generosity, always help mortals, offer to the wretch in travail the tender affection of a mother. Neither a day nor a night nor even a second pass without you filling it with your benefits” (Apuleius of Madaura, Metamorphoses ix, 25).

In the same period the Emperor Marcus Aurelius — who was also a philosopher who reflected on the human condition — affirmed the need to pray in order to establish a fruitful cooperation between divine action and human action. He wrote in his Meditations: “Who told you that the gods do not help us also in what depends on us? So begin to pray to them and you will see” (Dictionnaire de Spiritualité xii/2, Col 2213).

This advice of the Emperor philosopher was effectively put into practice by innumerable generations prior to Christ, thereby demonstrating that human life without prayer, which opens our existence to the mystery God, lacks sense and direction. Always expressed in every prayer, in fact, is the truth of the human creature who on the one hand experiences weakness and impoverishment, who therefore addresses his supplication to Heaven, and on the other is endowed with an extraordinary dignity, so that, in preparing to receive the divine Revelation, finds himself able to enter into communion with God.

Dear friends, in these examples of prayer of different epochs and civilizations emerge the human being’s awareness of his creatural condition and of his dependence on Another superior to him and the source of every good. The human being of all times prays because he cannot fail to wonder about the meaning of his life, which remains obscure and discomforting of it is not put in relations to the mystery of God and if his plan for the world.

Human life is a fabric woven of good and of evil, of undeserved suffering and of joy and beauty that spontaneously and irresistibly impel us to ask God for that light and that inner strength which support us on earth and reveal a hope beyond the boundaries of death.

The pagan religions remain an invocation which from the earth awaits a word from Heaven. One of the last great pagan philosophers, who lived fully in the Christian era, Proclus of Constantinople, gives a voice to this expectation, saying: “unknowable, no one contains you. All that we think belongs to you. Our evils and our good come from you, on you our every yearning depends, O Ineffable One, whom our souls feel present, raising to you a hymn of silence” (Hymni, ed. Vogt, Wiesbaden 1957, in Preghiere dell’umanità, op. cit., p. 61).

In the examples of prayer of the various cultures which we have considered, we can see a testimony of the religious dimension and of the desire for God engraved on the heart of every human being, which receives fulfilment and full expression in the Old and in the New Testament. The Revelation, is in fact purifying and brings to its fullness man’s original yearning for God, offering to him, in prayer, the possibility of a deeper relationship with the heavenly Father.

At the beginning of our journey in the “school of prayer” let us now ask the Lord to illumine our minds and hearts so that the relationship with him in prayer may be ever more intense, affectionate and constant. Once again, let us say to him: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lc 11,1).

To special groups

I welcome all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, especially those from Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Nigeria, Japan, Singapore and the United States. My particular greeting goes to the pilgrimage group from the Archdiocese of Kampala, led by Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga. Upon all of you I invoke an abundance of joy and peace in the Risen Christ!

St. Peter's Square

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Audiences 2005-2013 20041