“Let us ask the Lord to help us as we fight the good fight of faith”, the Holy Father said during the general audience in his catechesis on Christian prayer.
He reflected on the biblical account of the Patriarch Jacob's struggle with God at the ford of the Jabbok The Pope recognized it is not an easily interpreted passage, but, he said, it is an important one for our life of faith and prayer –
Jacob had taken away his twin brother Esau's birthright in exchange for a dish of lentils and had stolen the blessing of his father Isaac. In Chapter 32 of the Book of Genesis Jacob is suddenly attacked by an unknown figure who wrestles with him for the whole of the night.
“ This mysterious encounter takes place at night, when Jacob is alone and unarmed;” he explained, 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. “At the stranger's request, Jacob reveals his own name”; This, Benedict XVI affirmed,” is a form of surrender, of the total giving over of himself to the other.”
“But in this act of surrender, Jacob paradoxically also emerges as a winner, because he receives a new name, together with an acknowledgement of victory on the part of his adversary, who says to him: "Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed", He receives a new name 'Israel' and is given a blessing. “At daybreak Jacob recognizes that his opponent is God;the Holy Father noted, “ 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.”
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"
“He renders the land sacred by imprinting upon it the memory of that mysterious encounter with God” he continued “He who allows himself to be blessed by God, who abandons himself to him, who allows himself to be transformed by him, renders the world blessed.”
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. VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2011
Mary helps build up faith in Christ, Benedict XVI affirmed as he concluded the general audience with his traditional greeting to the young, the sick and newlyweds. Tuesday 24 th. was the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians. VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2011
“It is possible for humanity to know true joy, because wherever the Gospel arrives, life flourishes, just as an arid terrain that, irrigated by rain, is immediately verdant.” Benedict XVI said before praying the Regina Celli.
He reflected on the book of the Acts of the Apostles where Philip, one of the deacons, preached the Risen Christ, and his proclamation was supported by numerous healings, so that the outcome of the episode was very positive: "There was great joy in that city."
Reading this passage, he affirmed, “one thinks spontaneously of the healing power of the Gospel, which in the course of the centuries has "irrigated" so many populations, like a beneficial river.”
“Some great men and women saints took hope and peace to whole cities -- we think of Charles Borromeo in Milan at the time of the plague; of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and of so many missionaries, whose names are known by God, who have given their lives to take the proclamation of Christ and to make profound joy flower among men.”
“The vocation of the Church is evangelization: whether to populations which have not yet been "irrigated" by the living water of the Gospel, or those that, though having ancient Christian roots, are in need of new sap to bear new fruits, and rediscover the beauty and joy of the faith.”
The Pope ended asking Christ's Mother to accompany the proclamation of the Gospel always and everywhere, “so that the spaces where men rediscover the joy of living as children of God will multiply and spread in the world”. VATICAN CITY, MAY 29, 2011
Other papal messages and activities.
Keeping Christian roots in mind will help the political unity of the continent fare better, Benedict XVI affirmed when he addressed delegations from Bulgaria and Macedonia. The delegations' visit to the Pontiff has become a tradition to celebrate the co-patrons of Europe, the brothers Sts. Cyril and Methodius. The Bishop of Rome emphasized the need for Europe to grow spiritually. And he said that the unity of the continent "represents a prospect of great hope." VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2011
Faith and culture are intrinsically united, the Pontiff affirmed when he received students and representatives of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart.
When the faith-culture "marriage" is separated, the Bishop of Rome warned, "humanity tends to withdraw and shut itself in its own creative capacities."
He spoke of the conviction that "the force of the Gospel is able to renew human relations and penetrate the heart of reality." VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2011
The Holy Father followed with deep concern the aftermath of the catastrophic tornado which struck Joplin, Missouri, leaving 122 dead and 750 wounded. And assured his closeness in prayer in a message addressed to Bishop James Johnston of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2011
The Pope was connected with space and visited with the astronauts at the International Space Station. The audio-video link-up with space was a first-ever. VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2011
On ZENIT's Web page: Transcription of Pope's conversation with astronauts: www.zenit.org/article-32639?l=english
New Appointments. Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Thomas Gullickson apostolic nuncio to Ukraine.
Archpriest Mikaël Mouradian was appointed as bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg in New York of the Armenians.
He also appointed: Father Dabula Anthony Mpako, of the clergy of Pretoria, South Africa, as bishop of the Diocese of Queenstown, South Africa. Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc of Tomblon as bishop of Kalibo, Philippines.
And Father João Carlos Hatoa Nunes as auxiliary bishop of Maputo, Mozambique and Father Raymond Wickramasinghe, 48, as the bishop of Galle. VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2011
The Holy Father and his brother bishops prayed the rosary at the Basilica of St. Mary Major on the 150th anniversary of Italy's unification, Afterwards, he gave an address in which he reflected on Mary and the bishops' roles in Italy.
"In every historical period the encounter with the ever new Word of the Gospel was a source of civilization," he said. "It built bridges between peoples and enriched the fabric of our cities, expressing itself in culture, in the arts and, not last, in the thousand forms of charity. No wonder Italy, celebrating the 150 years of its political unity, can be proud of the presence and action of the Church." ROME, MAY 27, 2011
“Charity is understood not merely as generic benevolence but as self-giving, even to the sacrifice of one's life for others in imitation of the example of Jesus Christ”, the Pope said in his address on the 60 th anniversary of Caritas Internationalis. The Pope received in audience its representatives, gathered for their general assembly.
"For us Christians, God himself is the source of charity" The Pope said in his address. VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2011
Benedict XVI attended a concert on the occasion of the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and of the bicentenary of the birth of Ferenc Liszt.
He expressed his gratitude to the president of the republic, to the director, the tenor, to the Philharmonic Orchestra and to the choir and all the organizers for “having given us this moment in which our heart was invited to lift itself to the heights of God”. VATICAN CITY, MAY 29, 2011
At the end of the month of May dedicated in a particular way to Our Lady, Benedict XVI recalled the 30th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, primate of Poland, a key figure in John Paul II´s life.
In Polish-language greetings after the midday Regina Caeli, the Pope invited to learn from him total abandonment to the Mother of God,"May his trust expressed in the words: 'I have put everything in Mary' be for us a particular model”. The Holy Father said. VATICAN CITY, MAY 29, 2011
A prayer for the Holy Father
Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen.
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