Evening prayer reminds Christians of Paschal mystery: Pope

The evening vespers are an important tradition and prayer that allow Christians a moment in the day to give thanks, ask for forgiveness and reflect on the essential elements of the Paschal mystery, John Paul II told pilgrims in his general audience at St. Peter’s Square today.

“The evening is a suitable time to consider before God, in prayer, the day that just passed,” said the pope. “It is the time to give thanks for what has been given to us and for what we were able to accomplish.” It is also the time to ask forgiveness for the sins we have committed, imploring the divine mercy of Christ, he added.

“Because every day of our pilgrimage on earth is a gift ever new of the love of God,” said the pontiff, the rising and setting of the sun are two important moments of prayer for Christians.

“Morning and evening are always excellent times to turn to the Lord in prayer, both in the company of others and in private. Evening prayer in particular reminds us that even the darkness of night is illuminated by God' s presence and love,” said the pontiff. “Our prayer at the end of the day fills us with longing and hope for the promised day that will never end, for Christ who is the light of the world.”

The pope said the daily office, which includes morning lauds and the evening vespers, allows Christians to be reminded every day of the two essential aspects of the Paschal mystery – that Christ died on the cross in the evening, but in the morning rose from the dead.

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