.- When Christians say âamen,â they are expressing their trust in the loving promise of God manifested in Jesus Christ, Pope Benedict said during his General Audience on Wednesday.
âThe Spirit, poured forth into our hearts, leads us to the Father, constantly making present Godâs 'Yes' to us in Christ and in turn enabling us to say our 'Yes' â Amen! â to God,â the Pope told tens of thousands of pilgrims in St. Peterâs Square on May 30.
âOur use of the word 'Amen,' rooted in the ancient liturgical prayer of Israel and then taken up by the early Church, expresses our firm faith in Godâs word and our hope in his promises.â
Pope Benedict's remarks continued his catechesis on Christian prayer with a particular focus in recent weeks upon the interior life of St. Paul. This week the Pope explored the Apostleâs Second Letter to the Corinthians where he writes;
âPraise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.â
This promise of comfort is not an exemption from suffering, said the Pope, but a plea not to let ourselves âbe overcome by tribulations and difficulties.â
âWe are invited to experience every situation in unity with Christ, who takes all the suffering and sin of the world upon himself in order to bring light, hope and redemption.â
Either by providence or planning, Pope Benedict seemed to touch upon with his own present suffering following the recent prosecution of his personal butler for stealing confidential documents.
âOur life and our Christian journey are often marked by difficulty, misunderstandings and pain,â he said, adding that âin a faithful relationship with the Lord, in constant daily prayer, we are able to feel the consolation that comes from God.â
The source of this strength, he explained, is a relationship of mutual love between God and man. This is the thrust of St. Paul's proposition to the Christians in Corinth â that the incarnation of Jesus Christ âis Godâs 'Yes' to mankind and the fulfillment of all his promisesâ and that âthrough Jesus we say our 'Amen,' to the glory of God.â
âFor Paul, prayer is above all Godâs gift, grounded in his faithful love which was fully revealed in the sending of his Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit,â observed the Pope.
Sadly, however, this faithful love of God is not always returned by man. Despite this, said the Pope, the âentire history of salvation is a progressive revelation of this fidelity of Godâs, despite our own infidelity and our constant denials.â
The difference between human and divine love, he explained, is that when we are âfaced with conflict in human relationships, often even within the family, we tend not to persevere in gratuitous love, which requires commitment and sacrifice.â
God on the other hand ânever loses patience with us and, in his immense mercy, precedes us always and comes out to meet us.â
It is important, therefore, for humans to âenter into Christâs 'yes' by following Godâs will.â In this way we will be like St. Paul in being able to affirm that âit is not we who live, but Christ himself who lives in us,â Pope Benedict said.
The âamenâ of our personal and community prayer âwill embrace and transform all of our lives.â