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Prayer and Scripture reading help guide the faithful through life, Pope tells audience

Catholic World News - May 02, 2012

Continuing his series of weekly talks on prayer, Pope Benedict XVI spoke at his public audience on May 2 about the defense that St. Stephen offered before his martyrdom.

When he was accused of undermining the Mosaic law, St. Stephen responded by showing how Jesus fulfilled that law, the Pope remarks. “Thus he reread the entire biblical narrative to show that it led to the place of God's definitive presence, which is Jesus Christ and in particular his passion, death, and resurrection.”

“Stephen’s words are clearly grounded in a prayerful re-reading of the Christ event in the light of God’s word,” the Pope told the crowd of 30,000 in St. Peter’s Square.

The first martyr explained to his fellow Jews that Jesus “inaugurated the new worship and, with the offer of Himself on the cross, replaced the ancient sacrifices,” the Pope said. In his reply to his accusers, St. Stephen “highlighted the perennial temptation to reject God and His acts, and affirmed that Jesus is the Just One announced by the prophets.”

The address delivered by St. Stephen illustrated how a prayerful meditation on the Scriptures helped him to understand the present, the Pope said. All Christians should learn that same lesson, the Holy Father continued, and allow God’s Word in the Scriptures to guide their way in life.

In his martyrdom St. Stephen completed the communion with Christ that he had nurtured through prayer and the Scriptures, the Pontiff concluded.

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