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Pope: Through prayer God reveals mercy and saving power

2011-06-15

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 In our continuing catechesis on Christian prayer, we now turn to the prophet Elijah as a model of intercessory prayer. At a time when the kingdom of Israel saw the spread of Baal-worship and syncretism, Elijah invited the people to renew their covenant with the Lord and to reject every form of idolatry. In the episode of his contest with the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel (cf. 1 Kg 18), he calls upon Israel to choose the Lord and prays for their conversion of heart. What is more, he urges the people themselves to draw near and share in his prayer.

In response to Elijah’s prayer, God reveals his fidelity, mercy and saving power through the consuming fire sent down from heaven. He also enables the people to turn back to him and to reaffirm the covenant made with their fathers. As we look to Elijah’s example, let us be ever more convinced of the power of intercessory prayer, so that we can help all people to know the one true God, to turn away from every form of idolatry, and to receive the grace offered to us on the wood of the Cross and in the fire of the Holy Spirit.

I welcome the members of the Catholic-Pentecostal International Dialogue and I offer prayerful good wishes for the next phase of their work. I also welcome the Fiftieth Conference of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration, now meeting in Rome. I thank the choirs, and particularly the University Choir from Indonesia, for their praise of God in song.

 Finally, I greet the delegates to the General Chapter of the Congregation of the Resurrection. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Philippines, Canada and the United States, I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace."