09 July 2009

The Holy Father Continues to Teach from Heaven

The Lord of the Work

A constant danger for apostolic workers is to become so involved in their activity for the Lord that they forget that Lord is in every activity.

They must be aware, therefore, of the ever-increasing importance of prayer in their lives and must learn to devote themselves to it generously. To accomplish that, they need silence in their entire being, which requires regular periods of silence and personal discipline to encourage contact with God.

Prayer is the First Priority

Silence is vital space devoted to the Lord, in an atmosphere of listening to His word and assimilating it; it is a sanctuary of prayer, the hearth of reflection and contemplation. Jesus did not call the Twelve only to “send them forth to preach and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out devils” but, above all, so that “they should be with Him.”

Being with Jesus: let this be your greatest desire. Be with Him as the Apostles were and, earlier, in Nazareth, Mary and Joseph. Speak to Him in an intimate way, listen to Him, and follow Him docilely: this is not only a comprehensible requirement for those who want to follow the Lord; it is also an indispensable condition of all authentic and credible evangelization. He is an empty preacher of the Word – Saint Augustine aptly observes – who does not first listen to it within himself.

Frequent practice of the Sacrament of Repentance, devout participation in the Holy Mass, celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, the Lectio Divina, Eucharistic worship, the Spiritual Exercises, reciting the Rosary – should be sought and cherished by you.

Easily Avoiding Temptation

The soul that lives habitually in the presence of God and is filled with the warmth of His charity will easily avoid temptation to biases and conflicts that carry the risk of divisiveness.

The Sweetness of Prayer

You have felt an urgent need to encounter the Absolute, and so you have discovered the importance of inwardness, of silence, of meditation, in enabling one to grasp a definitive, reconciling sense of existence. You have tasted the sweetness of prayer and of the constantly renewed, enduring reconciliation of friendship with the Lord, fixed in your hearts by an existential attitude of humble and industrious obedience to the Heavenly Father. With Saint Benedict, then, I will address to you the eternal invitation: “Ausculta, O fili, verba Magistri”: Listen, O my child, to the teachings of the Master, and make your hearts attentive in the silence of prayer, to return, through the effort of docile obedience to the sound precepts, to Him, from Whom denial or rebellion has distanced us. Present yourselves often before the inner Teacher, and those who represent Him, in the attitude of a true disciple, who knows how to be silent and how to listen.

~Pope John Paul II~