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Pope's advice on prayer: don't just talk; listen

Catholic World News - September 05, 2012

At his weekly public audience on September 5, Pope Benedict XVI told the faithful that “prayer is, above all, a listening to God, Who speaks.”

“Engulfed as we are by so many words, we are little used to listening, and especially to adopting an interior and exterior attitude of silence so as to attend to what the Lord wishes to say to us,” the Pope said. Prayer must be more than a listing of petitions, he told his audience; it must involve listening for God’s voice.

The Pope’s meditation for the Wednesday audience continued his series of talks on how the Bible offers guidance for prayer. In this week’s talk he discussed the lessons to be drawn from the Book of Revelation—which he described as “a difficult book, but one of great richness.”

In Revelation, the Pope remarked, we are shown how “the Church in prayer, accepting the Word of the Lord, is transformed.” The vivid description of St. John’s vision “presents us with the living, breathing prayer of the Christian assembly, gathered together on the Lord’s day.”

A habit of prayer, and a willingness to listen for the Word of God, allows the faithful to grow in understanding, the Pontiff said. He said that the Book of Revelation underlines a simple but important truth: “Prayer with others—liturgical prayer in particular—will deepen our awareness of the crucified and risen Jesus in our midst.” Pope Benedict traveled by helicopter from his summer residence to the Vatican for the September 5 audience. After suspending public audiences during his vacation in July, the Pontiff had held his weekly audiences in August at the apostolic palace in Castel Gandolfo.

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