.- Pope Benedict used his Aug. 17 general audience to reflect on Mary's example of prayer and meditation, just before he travels to Madrid to celebrate World Youth Day with over 1 million young people.
“In our time, we are absorbed by many activities and duties, worries, problems,” he said.
“Mary teaches us how necessary it is to find in our days, with all of its activities, moments to gather our thoughts in silence and meditate on what the Lord wants to teach us, on how he is present and acts in the world and in our life.”
At his summer residence in Castel Gandalfo, the Pope reflected on the passage from Luke’s Gospel that says Mary observed events in her son Jesus' life, “kept all of these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
“Mary fully lived her existence,” he said, “her daily duties, her mission as a mother, but she knew how to hold within herself an interior space for reflecting on the word and will of God, on what was occurring within her, on the mysteries of the life of her Son.”
The Pope said that although modern men and women often see and remember only “negative things,” people need to learn how to mentally recall the positive experiences they have and the gifts that God has given them.
Since the way to heaven involves following God's will for our lives, he added, it's necessary for individuals to listen to and discern God's voice, which requires silence and meditation.
Pope Benedict explained that meditation involves creating “in ourselves a situation of contemplation, of interior silence, to reflect, to assimilate the mysteries of our faith and what God operates in us; and not just the things that come and go.”
He noted there are many ways to learn how to meditate and offered several practical suggestions, such as reflecting on a brief Scripture verse and talking to a spiritual director.
“Reading and reflecting on what we have read, trying to understand it, what it is saying to me, what it says today, to open our spirit to what the Lord wants to tell us and teach us,” he said.
The Pope recommended praying the Rosary, which he called “a prayer of meditation” that invites the faithful to reflect deeply on the life of Christ.
He also suggested focusing on private words or reflections that come during the celebration of the Eucharist, which enables “an intense spiritual experience” and can help a person enter into meditation.
At the end of the audience, the Pope asked everyone to pray for World Youth Day, which he will attend in Madrid between Aug. 18 and 21. His visit will culminate with an open-air Mass on Sunday.