05/02/2007, 00.00
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Pope: love is the “fast track” to knowing God

In his general audience, Benedict XVI returned to Origen underscoring his teachings on prayer. A small aside on the rain “a sign of grace” in the midst of concerns over rising drought.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The “fast track to knowing God, is love”, in reality “even among men and women true knowledge of another person can only be reached if you open your hearts”: the deep meaning of prayer, ‘our conversation with’ and keeping the “gaze of our hearts fixed on Christ.” Was at the centre of Benedict XVI’s general audience with over 20 thousand people.

The audience was marked by a long and violent rainstorm, which filled St Peter’s square with the colour of thousands of umbrellas, and which provoked a comment from the Pope himself.  Smiling he said “Let us take the rain as a blessing; there has been concerns over pending drought, so the Lord has sent us a sign of his grace”.

In his address the Pope continued in his reflections on the Fathers of the Early Church, returning once again to the figure of III century Origen, who he defined last week as being “the central figure in the development of Christian thought”.  Today, he underlined Origen’s “current” teachings on prayer and the Church, especially regarding the faithful’s universal mission. “A purity and honesty of life on the one hand, and on the other the faith and science of the scriptures – he said – are indispensable conditions for the universal mission, to an even greater extent the priestly mission and integrated conduct of life and study of the Word of God”.   

Benedict XVI said that in his life Origen affirmed and showed intellectual commitment and the search to God must be combined with prayer “he constantly intertwined his theological endeavours with prayer and oration”.  Origen maintained that “knowledge of the Scriptures requires first and foremost intimacy with Christ and with prayer”, because “only by animated contact with Christ can one truly understand the Scriptures”.  Thus he shows that “in order to understand God prayer is absolutely necessary”.  Benedict XVI also remembered that John Paul II wrote in Novo Millennio ineunte how “prayer progresses the true and proper dialogue of love”. “We must – he concluded - keep the “gaze of our hearts” fixed on the “Wisdom and Truth who is Jesus Christ”.

The pope also spoke of his upcoming trip to Brazil from May 9th through to 13th.  Speaking to Spanish and Portuguese pilgrims he said “I hope to be able to preside over the canonization of blessed Antonio of  Sant’Anna Galvao, and open the Fifth General conference of bishops from Latin American and the Caribbean”. He also expressed the hope that there would be “many fruits” from the assembly, so that “so that all Christians may feel themselves true disciples of Christ, sent by him to evangelize their brethren, through the Divine word and the witness of their daily lives”.

 

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