School of prayer, lesson 4 -- 25/05/2011 13.32.24

Continuing his series of lessons on Christian prayer this Wednesday Pope Benedict XVI spoke of our struggle to surrender to God in prayer. Drawing from the passage in Genesis ...
Continuing his series of lessons on Christian prayer this Wednesday Pope Benedict XVI spoke of our struggle to surrender to God in prayer. Drawing from the passage in Genesis that recounts Jacob's battle with the Unknown, the Pope said ''our whole life is like this long night of struggle and prayer, to be consumed with the desire and search for God’s blessing that cannot be torn or won by counting on our own strength, but must be received from Him with humility, as a free gift that allows us, finally, to recognize the face of the Lord”

“This mysterious encounter takes place at night, when Jacob is alone and unarmed; the identity of his assailant and the winner of the contest is not at first clear. Jacob is wounded and must reveal his name to his rival, suggesting his defeat, yet he receives a new name – Israel – and is given a blessing”.

“At daybreak Jacob recognizes that his opponent is God; limping from his wound, he now crosses the ford. The Church’s spiritual tradition has seen in this story a symbol of prayer as a faith-filled struggle which takes place at times in darkness, calls for perseverance, and is crowned by interior renewal and God’s blessing. This struggle demands our unremitting effort, yet ends by surrender to God’s mercy and gift”

“At daybreak, Jacob called the place of his struggle Peniel, which means “face of God”, for he said: “I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved” (Gen 32:30). In our prayers, let us ask the Lord to help us as we fight the good fight of faith, and to bless us as we long to see his face”.

Pope Benedict concluded the Audience greeting the thousands of pilgrims and visitors present in various languages, “I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, especially those from England, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Nigeria, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan and the United States. In a special way I welcome the group of Wounded Warriors, with the promise of my solidarity in prayer. I also greet the many student groups present, and I thank the choirs for their praise of God in song. Upon all of you I invoke the joy and peace of the Risen Lord”.

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