Pope Benedict XVI's Weekly General Audience on Wednesday, December 28, 2011

After a busy weekend of Christmas ceremonies Pope Benedict welcomed the faithful on Wednesday who had gathered in the Paul VI hall for his last General Audience of 2011. Continuing his catechesis on prayer, the Pope told those gathered that families should be schools of prayer. We must, he continued, follow the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

“May the example of the Holy Family inspire all Christian families to be schools of prayer, where parents and children alike come to know that closeness to God which we joyfully celebrate in these days of Christmas.”The Holy Father explained that prayer is an inescapable model for Christians, because it is through prayer, “that we draw near to God with intimacy and depth”.

Jesus’ unique relationship with his heavenly Father was reflected in the prayer life of the Holy Family and stands at the heart of all Christian prayer. The Pope went on to say that it is important that parents provide an example of prayerful meditation to their children just like Mary and Joseph did.

“In the home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we learn to contemplate the mystery of God’s presence and to grow as faithful disciples of Christ. The Gospels present Mary as the supreme model of prayerful mediation on the mysteries of Christ’s life; in praying the Rosary, in fact, we unite ourselves to her contemplation of those mysteries in faith and hope. Saint Joseph fulfilled his vocation as the father of the Holy Family by teaching Jesus the importance of quiet fidelity to work, prayer and observance of the precepts of the Law.” 

Concluding his catechesis Pope Benedict urged the faithful to “rediscover the beauty of praying together as a family. Finally, the Holy Father had greetings for all those in the Paul VI Hall in various languages including English: “I offer a warm welcome to the students and teachers from the Oak International Academies. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present, including the pilgrimage groups from Ireland, and the United States, I cordially invoke an abundance of joy and peace in Christ our Newborn Saviour!”

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