Pope Benedict XVI: I Am Not Abandoning The Church!

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful as he leads his Urbi et Orbi at the VaticanEWTN news/CNA

Dear brothers and sisters!
On the second Sunday of Lent, the liturgy  always presents us with the  Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The  evangelist Luke places  particular emphasis on the fact that Jesus was  transfigured as he  prayed: his is a profound experience of relationship with  the Father  during a sort of spiritual retreat that Jesus lives on a high  mountain  in the company of Peter, James and John, the three disciples always  present in moments of divine manifestation of the Master (Luke 5:10,  8.51,  9.28).

The Lord, who shortly before had foretold his  death and resurrection  (9:22), offers his disciples a foretaste of his  glory. And even in the  Transfiguration, as in baptism, we hear the voice of the Heavenly Father, “This  is my Son, the Chosen One listen to him”  (9:35). The presence of Moses and  Elijah, representing the Law and the  Prophets of the Old Covenant, it is highly  significant: the whole  history of the Alliance is focused on Him, the Christ,  who accomplishes a new “exodus” (9:31), not to the promised land as in the time  of Moses,  but to Heaven. Peter’s words: “Master, it is good that we are here”  (9.33) represents the impossible attempt to stop this mystical  experience. St.  Augustine says: “[Peter] … on the mountain … had  Christ as the food of the  soul. Why should he come down to return to the labors and pains, while up there  he was full of feelings of holy love  for God that inspired in him a holy  conduct? “(Sermon 78.3).

We can draw a very important lesson from meditating on this passage of the  Gospel. First, the primacy of prayer, without which all the work of the  apostolate and of charity is reduced to activism. In Lent we learn to  give  proper time to prayer, both personal and communal, which gives  breath to our  spiritual life. In addition, to pray is not to isolate  oneself from the world  and its contradictions, as Peter wanted on Tabor, instead prayer leads us back  to the path, to action. “The Christian  life – I wrote in my Message for Lent –  consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back  down, bearing the love  and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers  and sisters  with God’s own love “(n. 3).

Dear brothers and sisters, I  feel that this Word of God is particularly  directed at me, at this point in my life. The Lord is calling me to “climb the  mountain,” to devote  myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does  not mean  abandoning the Church, indeed, if God is asking me to do this it is so  that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same  love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better  suited to my  age and my strength. Let us invoke the intercession of the  Virgin Mary: may she  always help us all to follow the Lord Jesus in  prayer and works of  charity.

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