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Prayer is a natural impulse, Pope tells audience

Catholic World News - May 11, 2011

"Man by his very nature is religious," Pope Benedict XVI told his weekly public audience on May 11. The impulse to pray, he said, is natural to humanity.

From the dawn of history, the Pope said, in every generation man has felt “the need to find a light to answer the questions regarding the profound meaning of reality.” There is always “a yearning for eternity, a search for beauty, a desire for love, a need for light and truth, which impel us toward the Absolute.” Life without “a transcendent horizon” is unsatisfactory. So men reach out toward the Almighty.

“St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that prayer is the expression of our desire for God, a desire which is itself God’s gift,” the Pope told the crowd in St. Peter’s Square.

However, Pope Benedict conceded, “prayer is difficult.” When we turn to God, we recognize ourselves as “creatures in need of help, incapable of attaining the fulfillment of their existence or their hopes alone.” In prayer we confront the great mystery of our relationship with the infinite God.

In the age of the Enlightenment, the Pope said, many prominent thinkers anticipated an end to the era of belief, and thus an end to the desire to pray. But their predictions were inaccurate, and in our day we see a revival of the desire to reach out toward God.

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