Pope Benedict XVI's General Weekly Audience on Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"When we pray we must not expect the immediate fulfillment of our petitions, of our will" instead, we must accept the will of God, who "is the God of life, who brings hope, capable of reversing humanly impossible situations", said Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday as he delivered the latest in his series of catecheses on prayer in Paul VI Hall.

Continuing his focus on Christ’s own prayer, with special attention to the context of his miracles of healing. Pope Benedict said: “Both the cure of the deaf man (Mk 7:32-37) and the raising of Lazarus (Jn 11:1-44) show us Jesus at prayer before cases of human suffering. His prayer on these occasions reveals not only his profound identification with the suffering but also his unique relationship with the Father. In the case of the deaf man, Jesus’ compassion leads him to introduce his prayer with a deep sigh (v. 34). In the case of Lazarus, he is deeply moved by the sorrow of Martha and Mary, and weeps before the tomb of his friend”.

Pope Benedict went on to say that, at the same time, Christ sees the tragedy of Lazarus’ death in the light of the Father’s will and of his own identity and mission.

“Jesus’ example teaches us that in our own prayers we must always trust in the Father’s will and strive to see all things in the light of his mysterious plan of love. We too must join petition, praise and thanksgiving in every prayer, knowing that the greatest gift God can give us is his friendship, and that our example of prayer can open our hearts to our brothers and sisters in need and point others to God’s saving presence in our world”.

The Holy Father also had special greetings for English-speaking pilgrims:

“I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking visitors present, including the groups from Vietnam, Nigeria and the United States. As we prepare to celebrate the Saviour’s birth at Christmas, I cordially invoke upon you and your families his abundant blessings of joy and peace!”

This Wednesday’s catechesis was the latest in a series of catechetical reflections on prayer and on the human person in prayer, which began in May of this year and has run to more than a dozen instalments.

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