Today, Benedict XVI began a series of catecheses that will focus on the theme of Christian payer.
Addressing the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope explained that, beginning this Wednesday, "drawing near to Sacred Scripture, the great tradition of the Church Fathers, the masters of spirituality, and the liturgy, we will seek to learn how to live even more intensely our relationship with the Lord, as if it were a type of "School of Prayer".
"We know", he said, "that prayer should not be overlooked. It is necessary to learn how to pray, almost learning this art ever anew. Even those who are very advanced in their spiritual lives always feel the need to attend the school of Jesus in order to learn how to truly pray".
In this first catechesis, Benedict XVI offered a few examples of prayer that were present in ancient cultures, "to highlight how, almost always and everywhere, we have turned to God. In ancient Egypt, for example, a blind man asking the divinity to return his sight, testifies to something universally human, which is the pure and simple prayer of someone who is suffering".
"In those sublime, all-time masterpieces of literature that are the Greek tragedies, even today, after 25 centuries, prayers expressing the desire to know God and adore His majesty are read, reflected on, and performed".
The Pope emphasized that "every prayer always expresses the truth of human creatures, who on the one hand experience a certain weakness and indigence and who, therefore, ask assistance from heaven and, on the other, who are endowed with an extraordinary dignity because able to prepare themselves to receive divine Revelation, discovering themselves capable of entering into communion with God".
"Persons of every age pray because they cannot stop asking themselves the meaning of their existence, which remains obscure and discouraging if they are unable to enter into relationship with the mystery of God and His plan for the world. Human life is a mixture of good and evil, of unwarranted suffering and of joy and beauty that, spontaneously and irresistibly, move us to ask God for the inner light and strength to sustain us on earth, revealing a hope that goes beyond the limits of death".
Benedict XVI concluded, asking that the Lord, "at the beginning of this journey in the School of Prayer, enlighten our minds and our hearts so that our relationship with Him in prayer be always more intense, affectionate, and constant. One more time let us ask Him: 'Lord, hear our prayer'".