Pope Benedict XVI's weekly General Audience - 1 June 2011

Pope Benedict XVI continued his catechecial series on Christian prayer this Wednesday during his weekly General Audience in St Peter’s Square – ...
Pope Benedict XVI continued his catechecial series on Christian prayer this Wednesday during his weekly General Audience in St Peter’s Square – the last audience before his scheduled weekend voyage to Croatia, where he will participate in the Day for Catholic Families organized by the Croatian Church. Speaking in Croatian, the Holy Father invited the faithful to pray that his trip might bear many spiritual fruits, and that the Catholic families of that dear land, Croatia, be salt of the Earth and light of the world.

Prayer was the central focus of the Holy Father’s remarks to the faithful, specifically the prophetic figure of Moses:

As the mediator between God and Israel, Moses is a model of intercessory prayer. We see this clearly in the episode of the golden calf (Ex 32). As Moses descends from Mount Sinai where he has spoken to God and received the gift of the Law, he confronts both the infidelity of the people, who now worship an idol of gold, and the God’s wrath.

The Holy Father went on to say that Moses intercedes for his people, fully acknowledging the gravity of their sin, and also pleads with God to remember His mercy, to forgive their sin and thus to reveal His saving power.

Moses’ prayer of petition is an expression of God’s own desire for the salvation of his people and his fidelity to the covenant. Through his intercessory prayer Moses grows in deeper knowledge of the Lord and his mercy, and becomes capable of a love which extends to the total gift of self. In this prayer Moses points beyond himself to that perfect intercessor who is Jesus, the Son of God, who brings about the new and eternal covenant in his blood, shed for the forgiveness of sin and the reconciliation of all God’s children.

The Holy Father’s catechesis this Wednesday was the latest in a multi-part series on Christian prayer, which began last month.

The Pope also had greetings for the faithful in many languages, including English, in which he especially welcomed a group of NATO soldiers here in Rome on pilgrimage, as well as a group of pilgrims from a Catholic high school in Mumbai, India, and the seminarians of Detroit, Michigan’s Sacred Heart seminary:

I welcome the many school and university students present at today’s Audience. I offer a cordial greeting to the pilgrimage group of NATO soldiers stationed in Germany. I also greet the students and staff of Father Agnelo Higher Secondary School in Vashi, Mumbai. My welcome also goes to the seminarians of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, Sweden, South Africa, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and the United States, I invoke the joy and peace of the Risen Lord.

Pope Benedict’s visit to Croatia begins Saturday morning with a flight from Rome to Zagreb.

Just a few of the scheduled events are: a meeting with diplomats, leaders in religion, politics, culture, academics, business and civil society; a prayer vigil with young people; an open-air Sunday Mass marking the National Day for Croatian Catholic Families; and Sunday Vespers with Croatia’s bishops, priests, seminarians, and men and women religious in Zagreb’s cathedral.

For full coverage of the trip, tune into Vatican Radio and check our website regularly.

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