.- Pope Benedict XVI said today that God can be found when we persevere in times of personal darkness.
Continuing his weekly teachings on prayer, the Pope drew upon the Old Testament story of Jacob and his nighttime struggle with a mysterious assailant at the ford of the Jabbok.
“Jacob is wounded and must reveal his name to his rival, suggesting his defeat, yet he receives a new name – Israel – and is given a blessing,” Pope Benedict recalled.
“At daybreak Jacob recognizes that his opponent is God; limping from his wound, he now crosses the ford.”
The Pope told the 15,000 present in St. Peter’s Square that the lesson for each of us is clear.
“The Church’s spiritual tradition has seen in this story a symbol of prayer as a faith-filled struggle which takes place at times in darkness, calls for perseverance, and is crowned by interior renewal and God’s blessing.
“This struggle,” the Pope said, “demands our unremitting effort, yet ends by surrender to God’s mercy and gift.”
Pope Benedict concluded by suggesting that the prize for Jacob’s struggle is the same prize awaiting those who persevere in prayer today – a glimpse of the face of God.
“At daybreak, Jacob called the place of his struggle Peniel, which means ‘face of God,’ for he said: ‘I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.’ In our prayers, let us ask the Lord to help us as we fight the good fight of faith, and to bless us as we long to see his face.”
This is the fourth week Pope Benedict has used his Wednesday audience to teach pilgrims about Christian prayer. His previous theme—the lives of the saints—took two years to complete.