Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In a world in which we risk relying only on the power of human means, we are called to rediscover and bear witness to the power of prayer, through which we grow day by day as our lives are conformed to that of Christ, who 'was crucified through weakness, but lives by the power of God,' "a God who does not free us from ills, but it helps us to mature in the face of suffering, difficulties, persecution" . This the teaching that Benedict XVI has taken from II Corinthians, of which he spoke to eight thousand people present in the Paul VI for the general audience.
The Pauline text, the Pope explained, shows that even "though our outer world is unraveling," "If we remain in God", "the inner world matures every day." St. Paul, in fact, "lists the communities that he founded, the miles traveled, not only to remember the difficulties and opposition he faced in order to proclaim the Gospel, but to indicate is relationship with the Lord, a relationship so intense to be characterized also by moments of ecstasy, deep contemplation, so he does not boast of what he did, of his strength, but boasts of the action of God in him and through him. " And "to tell what can not be told, he even speaks in third person, when he says: I know someone in Christ who, fourteen years ago, was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this person was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one may utter ".
"His contemplation was so deep and intense that the Apostle does not even remember the contents of the revelation received, but has in mind the date and circumstances in which the Lord grabbed him so completely, drew him to Himself, as He had done on the road to Damascus at the time of his conversion "
In order not to suffer from pride he "bears a thorn, a suffering" from which he prayed to be freed. "The Risen Lord speaks clear and reassuring words to him: My grace is sufficient for you, strength is made perfect in weakness." " Paul's comments to these words are surprising, but they also reveal how he really understood what it means to be an apostle: I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. So I am content with weaknesses , insults, hardships, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ: for when I am weak, then I am strong. '"
Paul "clearly understood how to face and experience each event in his life, especially those involving suffering, difficulty and persecution: at the moment we feel our own weakness the power of God becomes manifest, a power which does not abandon or leave us alone but becomes our support and our strength. "
And for us, as " As our union with the Lord grows and our prayer becomes more intense, we too come to focus on the essential and to understand that it is not the power of our own means that creates the Kingdom of God, but God Who works miracles through our very weakness. We must be humble enough not to trust in ourselves, but to work in the vineyard of the Lord, trusting in Him. "
Another point that emerges from the Letter, is the value of the contemplation of God, it is at the same time, "fascinating and terrifying: fascinating because he draws us to himself and steals our heart upwards, bringing it to its height where we experience the peace, the beauty of his love; terrifying because it lays bare our human weaknesses, our inadequacies, the effort to overcome the evil that threatens our lives, even the thorn in our flesh. In prayer, in everyday contemplation of the Lord, we receive the power of God."
"The more we give time to prayer - concluded the Pope - the more we will see our lives transformed and animated by the real power of God's love. This is what happened, for example, to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta who, in contemplating Jesus, discovered the ultimate reason and incredible strength to recognise Him in the poor and abandoned, despite her fragile figure. The contemplation of Christ in our life does not distance us from reality", the Pope concluded. "It makes us even more involved in human affairs, because the Lord, drawing us to Himself in prayer, enables us to remain close to all our brothers and sisters in His love".