Jesus holds the Church in his hand, speaks to her with the cutting force of a sharp sword and shows her the splendour of his divinity”: the image of the Book of Revelation was proposed anew by Benedict XVI at the General Audience on Wednesday, 5 September. Having arrived at the Vatican from Castel Gandolfo, the Pope met the faithful in the Paul VI Hall, taking up with them his Catecheses on prayer and pointing out the last New Testament text as a book that “puts us in touch with the living, vibrant prayers of the Christian assembly”.
The Pope considers the spiritual dialogue on which the Ioannine text develops a true and proper “symphony of prayer”, which offers believers “a great wealth of indications”. Among them is first and foremost the need to adopt “the interior and exterior disposition of silence, to be attentive to what God wants to tell us”. This attitude must be combined with the commitment to make our own prayers not so much an opportunity for petition as rather a hymn of praise to God “for his love” and for “the gift of Jesus Christ”.
Only on this basis can Christians rediscover “the meaning of the presence of the Lord in life and in history ”. God, the Pope recalled, “was, is and will be present and active with his love in human affairs, in the present, in the future, just as in the past, in order for people to reach the final destination”.
Hence the knowledge that the Risen One holds the Church firmly in his hand and reveals himself to men and women as “the friend of life”.
The certainty that “the more and the better we pray, with constancy, with intensity, the more we will be likened to him and he will truly enter our lives and guide them, giving us joy and peace”. And “the more we know, love and follow Jesus, the more we shall feel the need to pause in prayer with him, receiving from him serenity, hope and strength in our life”. His presence, the Pope assured the faithful, is one “that sustains us, guides us and gives us great hope even in the darkness”.
And to the lay Catholics of the continent, gathered in these days at the congress in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Benedict XVI addressed the invitation to disseminate “the message of joy and hope that Christ brings” to the difficult social and religious situation of Africa. “The whole of Africa”, he writes in a Message addressed to Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, President of the Vatican dicastery for the Laity which has sponsored the meeting, “is today awaiting the 'ambassadors' of the Good News, among the faithful, courageous lay peacemakers.