CASTEL GANDOLFO (Zenit.org): Pope Benedict XVI has encouraged the faithful to turn to God in prayer with trust, seeing God as a Father who takes care of us.
Pope Benedict (pictured) made the remarks on August 1 as he resumed the Wednesday general audiences, following his customary summer break.
Continuing with his reflections on prayer, the Pope spoke of St Alphonsus Liguori, who described prayer as “the necessary and sure means of obtaining salvation, and all the graces we need to attain it.”
“This sentence sums up the Alphonsian understanding of prayer,” the Holy Father said.
“First, in saying that it is a means, he reminds us of the end to be attained: God created out of love in order to be able to give us the fullness of life; but because of sin, this goal, this abundance of life has, so to say, drifted away – we all know this – and only God’s grace can make it available.”
He recalled Alphonsus’ statement that “He who prays is saved. He who prays not is damned.” And: “To save one’s soul without prayer is most difficult, and even impossible … but by praying our salvation is made secure, and very easy.”
He noted the saint’s teaching that there was no excuse for failing to pray, “for the grace of prayer is given to everyone … if we are not saved, the whole fault will be ours, because we did not pray.”
Pope Benedict went on to reflect on prayer as a necessary means, emphasising that “St Alphonsus wanted us to understand that in every situation in life, we cannot manage without praying, especially in times of trial and difficulty. We must always knock at the Lord’s door with trust, knowing that in all things He takes care of His children, of us. We are invited, therefore, not to be afraid of turning to Him and of presenting our requests to Him with trust, in the certainty of obtaining what we need.”
He with the idea that “our relationship with God is essential for our lives.”
“Without a relationship with God, our fundamental relationship is missing,” he said.
“And a relationship with God develops by talking with God in daily personal prayer, and by participating in the Sacraments; and so it is that this relationship can grow in us, and that the divine presence that directs our path, enlightens it and makes it secure and serene can also grow in us, even amid difficulty and danger.”
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