Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In our catechesis on Christian prayer, we have seen how prayer is part of the universal human experience. Our own age, marked by secularism, rationalism and an apparent eclipse of God, is showing signs of a renewed religious sense and a recognition of the inadequacy of a purely horizontal, material vision of life. Man is made in the image of God; a desire for God is present in every heart and man in some way knows that he is capable of speaking to God in prayer. Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us that prayer is the expression of our desire for God, a desire which is itself God’s gift. Prayer is first and foremost a matter of the heart, where we experience God’s call and our dependence on his help to transcend our limitations and sinfulness.
The posture of kneeling at prayer expresses this acknowledgment of our need and our openness to God’s gift of himself in a mysterious encounter of friendship. Let us resolve to pray more frequently, to listen in the silence of our hearts to God’s voice, and to grow in union with the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, with the One who is infinite Love.
I offer a warm greeting to the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing visiting Rome for a programme of spiritual renewal. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, especially those from England, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Canada and the United States, I invoke an abundance of joy and peace in the Risen Christ!