Pope Benedict XVI's Weekly General Audience on Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday in the Paul VI Hall, reflecting on the desire for unity that Christ expressed in his priestly prayer at the Last Supper, as recounted in the 17th chapter of Saint John’s Gospel.

Following is the Pope's English text: "In our continuing catechesis on Christian prayer, we now turn to the priestly prayer which Jesus offered at the Last Supper (cf. Jn 17:1-26). Against the backdrop of the Jewish feast of expiation Yom Kippur, Jesus, priest and victim, prays that the Father will glorify him in this, the hour of his sacrifice of reconciliation. He asks the Father to consecrate his disciples, setting them apart and sending them forth to continue his mission in the world. Christ also implores the gift of unity for all those who will believe in him through the preaching of the apostles. His priestly prayer can thus be seen as instituting the Church, the community of the disciples who, through faith in him, are made one and share in his saving mission. In meditating upon the Lord’s priestly prayer, let us ask the Father for the grace to grow in our baptismal consecration and to open our own prayers to the needs of our neighbours and the whole world. Let us also pray, as we have just done in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, for the gift of the visible unity of all Christ’s followers, so that the world may believe in the Son and in the Father who sent him."

Following the main catechesis, the Holy Father had greetings for pilgrims in many languages, including English: "I offer a warm welcome to the students of the Bossey Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies in Switzerland, and I offer prayerful good wishes for their work. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience I cordially invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!"

This Wednesday’s was the last General Audience of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and came ahead of an ecumenical Vespers service at the Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls.

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