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Archive of March 4, 2007

Prayer a question of “life or death,” Pope Benedict says

Vatican City, Mar 4, 2007 (CNA) - Speaking from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square this Sunday.  Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the tremendous importance of prayer in the life of Christians, especially in light of today's Gospel readings.

"The evangelist Luke underlines that Jesus went up the mountain 'to pray' (9,28) with the Apostles Peter, James and John." According to Benedict, "For the three Apostles, going up the mountain means being involved in the prayer of Jesus."

Unlike the other times Jesus goes away to pray, "only this time, on the mountain, does He manifest His interior light to his friends."

The Pope drew attention to another important detail in the account, something "that deserves to be underlined: the indication of the topic of the conversation between Jesus, Moses and Elias." According to the Gospel, "They were speaking about his ‘exodus,’ that would take place in Jerusalem" (9,31).

"Thus," continued His Holiness, "Jesus is listening to the Law and the Prophets speaking about His death and resurrection." By embracing the Father's Will "with His entire person," Jesus shows us that "true prayer consists of the union of our will with God's Will." As a result, "for a Christian, praying is not avoiding reality and responsibility."

The Pope then drew the conclusion that "the transfiguration, paradoxically, is truly verified in the agony in Gethsemane." This is because "in His immense passion, Jesus experienced anguish and entrusted Himself to the Divine Will."

The Pope concluded his address, emphasizing that "prayer is not an accessory, an optional [thing], but a question of life and death." Moreover, he continued, "only those who pray - that is - those who trust themselves to God with a filial love, can enter into eternal life."

Following his address the Holy Father greeted the thousands of pilgrims in their diverse languages.

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