Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Pope's Words to the American Bishops

The Vespers service in the crypt of the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was stirring to watch. My husband and I went there the day after we were married in 1996, for the Latin Mass celebrated by Don Marco. It was moving to see Pope Benedict in a place which is so personally special to us. I did not catch every word that the Holy Father said and so am glad that Zenit provides the full text. I think everything he said is worth some quiet pondering. This is what he said about prayer:
Time spent in prayer is never wasted, however urgent the duties that press upon us from every side. Adoration of Christ our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament prolongs and intensifies the union with him that is established through the Eucharistic celebration (cf. Sacramentum Caritatis, 66). Contemplation of the mysteries of the Rosary releases all their saving power and it conforms, unites and consecrates us to Jesus Christ (cf. Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 11, 15). Fidelity to the Liturgy of the Hours ensures that the whole of our day is sanctified and it continually reminds us of the need to remain focused on doing God's work, however many pressures and distractions may arise from the task at hand. Thus our devotion helps us to speak and act in persona Christi, to teach, govern and sanctify the faithful in the name of Jesus, to bring his reconciliation, his healing and his love to all his beloved brothers and sisters. This radical configuration to Christ, the Good Shepherd, lies at the heart of our pastoral ministry, and if we open ourselves through prayer to the power of the Spirit, he will give us the gifts we need to carry out our daunting task, so that we need never "be anxious how to speak or what to say" (Mt 10:19).

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