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Pope explains Christ's priestly prayer

Catholic World News - January 25, 2012

At his weekly public audience on January 25, Pope Benedict XVI discussed the priestly prayer of Christ at the Last Supper.

To understand that prayer fully, the Pope said, one must recognize that Jesus follows the pattern of a Jewish priest at Yom Kippur, praying for atonement first for himself and then for the people as a whole. At the Last Supper, the Pope said, Jesus offers Himself as victim for all the people, then prayed first for Himself, then for the apostles and all believers.

As He continues, Jesus prays for the fulfillment of God’s plan: “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you.” Jesus asks to be glorified not for his own sake, but because this is God’s will.

Next, the Pope continued, Jesus prays for the sanctification of the apostles. Pope Benedict pointed out: “To sanctify means to transfer something--a person or an object--to God.” Thus Jesus says that the apostles no longer belong to the world; they are consecrated for their mission.

Jesus goes on to ask God’s blessing on all believers, praying especially for unity. “This unity is not a worldly achievement,” the Pope remarked. “It derives exclusively from divine unity and comes down to us from the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.”

Concluding his remarks, the Pope encouraged Catholics to meditate on Christ’s priestly prayer and to make similar petitions, asking God to “consecrate us to Himself.” “Let us ask Him for the gift of visible unity among all those who believe in Christ,” the Pope said; “that we may be ready to respond to anyone who asks us about the reasons for our hope.”

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  • Posted by: koinonia - Jan. 25, 2012 10:15 PM ET USA

    "This unity is not a worldly achievement,” the Pope remarked. “It derives exclusively from divine unity and comes down to us from the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.” This unity extends to the faithful members of the Mystical Bride of the Son whose docility of intellect and will to Holy Mother Church bears testimony to the indelible character imparted by the sacrament of Baptism. All this completely unmerited on our part- the unselfish, unlimited, and unfathomable gift of Love.

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