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Prayers, not programs, sustain the Church, Pope tells weekly audience

Catholic World News - April 18, 2012

The Catholic Church seeks protection not in political or social programs but in the power of prayer, Pope Benedict XVI told his regular weekly public audience on April 18.

In a meditation of the 4th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, and the story of how Sts. Peter and John were arrested, the Pope observed that the early Christian community was sustained by unity in prayer. Prayer was “the fundamental element of the first community and should always be fundamental to the Church,” he said.

Facing persecution, the disciples of Christ recognized that the threat to Peter and John was a threat to their entire community, the Pope said. “In suffering persecution for Jesus' sake, the community not only did not give way to fear and division, but was profoundly united in prayer.” The Pontiff went on to observe that the disciples did not pray to be spared from persecution, but only to be allowed to continue spreading the Gospel.

In their prayer the earliest Christians were completed united, the Pope said. He remarked that “unity is consolidated rather than undermined, because it is supported by unshakeable prayer.” The Church should not fear opposition or persecution, he said, but trust steadily in God’s power.

The disciples sought God’s help, the Pope said, because “they wanted to become a force for the transformation of reality, changing the hearts, minds and lives of men and bringing the radical novelty of the Gospel.”

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