.- Pope Benedict XVI told pilgrims at todayâs general audience that through prayer Jesus calls the âchildlikeâ into a loving relationship with him and the Father.
In his âcry of exultation,â Jesus âgives thanks to the Father because he has willed to reveal the mystery of salvation not to the wise and learned, but to the âlittle ones,ââ the Pope told several thousand pilgrims gathered in the Vaticanâs Paul VI Audience Hall on Dec. 7.
Pope Benedict continued his weekly catechesis on prayer with a mediation on the âjewelâ of Christâs prayer, his âHymn of Joy,â which is found in the Gospels of St. Matthew 11:25-30 and St. Luke 10:21-22.
This prayer, he said, is the âapex of a path of prayer in which Jesusâ profound and intimate communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit and His divine sonship clearly emerges.â
At the beginning of the Scripture passages in question, Jesus says, âI praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.â This form of address has a twofold meaning, explained the Pope.
First, it shows "Jesusâ awareness and certainty of being âthe Sonâ in close and constant communionâ with the Father. This, he said, is the âcentral point and source of Jesusâ every prayer.â
The second meaning is that it ârecalls the great biblical narrative of the history of Godâs love for human beings that began with creation.â Jesus, said the Pope, is the âsummit and fulfillmentâ of âthis story of love.â Thus, through his use of the phrase âLord of heaven and earthâ we also ârecognize how Jesus is the one who reveals the Father,â as well as âthe possibility of access to Godâ to humanity.
Pope Benedict also reflected on how Godâs divine revelation does ânot occur within earthly logic,â which would say that it is âthe wise and powerful who posses important knowledge and transmit it to those who are more simple.â No, Godâs logic turns that on its head as âhis communication is addressed precisely to the âchildlike.ââ
This childlike state consists of nothing less than a âpureness of heartâ that âallows us to recognize the face of God in Jesus Christ.â
âIt is keeping our hearts as simple as those of children, without the presumptions of those who are locked in themselves, thinking they have no need of anyone, not even God,â he said.
Jesus concludes his prayer with the offer of rest to those who are âweary and burdened,â because his âyoke is easyâ and âburden is light.â
The Pope observed that in his prayer, Jesus asks that âwe go to Him, the true wisdomâ since the âyokeâ he speaks of is âneither a doctrine to learn nor an ethical proposal, but rather a Person to follow: He himself, the only-begotten Son, in perfect communion with the Father.â
This means that âwe also can address God with the confidence of sons and daughters,â said the Pope.
And when we call God âFatherâ when we pray, the Pope taught, we also âhave to keep the heart of a child, the heart of those âpoor in spirit,â in order to recognize that we are not self-sufficient, but that we need God, that we have to seek Him, listen to Him, speak to Him.â
Through prayer, he said, we open ourselves to receiving this gift from God, âhis wisdom who is Jesus himself, in order to accept the will of the Father in our lives and to find consolation in the weariness of our journey.â
At the end of todayâs audience, Pope Benedict wished pilgrims a happy feast day ahead of tomorrowâs Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a national holiday throughout Italy.
The day should remind us of âMary's singular acceptance of God's salvific planâ and that she was âpreserved from any stain of sin in order to be the holy dwelling place of the Incarnate Word, she always trusted fully in the Lord,â he said.
The Pope then concluded his audience by leading pilgrims in the singing of the Pater Noster, before imparting his apostolic blessing.