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Pope offers Holy Family as a model for household prayer

December 28, 2011

“The house of Nazareth is a school of prayer,” Pope Benedict XVI remarked at his regular weekly public audience on December 28.

Speaking to about 7,000 people in the Paul VI auditorium, the Holy Father continued his series of talks on prayer, with a focus on the Holy Family.

“Mary is the peerless model for the contemplation of Christ,” the Pope said, and her devotion is “contagious.”

St. Joseph was infected by it, he continued, and in the household with Mary and Jesus he fills the father’s role: “a silent but faithful presence, constant and active.” It was under the guidance of St. Joseph, the Pope observed, that Jesus “learned to alternate work and prayer, also offering up to God the fatigue by which they earned the bread the family needed.”

After the occasion when Jesus was lost in the Temple, the Pope said, the prayer life of the Holy Family became even more intense “because the profound significance of the relationship with God the Father began to spread from the Heart of the boy (then adolescent, then young man) Jesus to the hearts of Mary and Joseph.”

In their intimate life of prayer, the Pope said:

The Holy Family is an icon of the domestic Church, which is called to pray together. The family is the first school of prayer where, from their infancy, children learn to perceive God thanks to the teaching and example of their parents. An authentically Christian education cannot neglect the experience of prayer. If we do not learn to pray in the family, it will be difficult to fill this gap later.


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