THE CHURCH: A HOUSE AND SCHOOL OF COMMUNION AND PRAYER
Once again the Wednesday general audience was live-streamed from the papal library in the Apostolic Palace and again, Pope Francis dedicated the weekly catechesis to prayer, focusing on how the Church, as the house and school of communion, is also the house and school of prayer.
He began by noting that, “the Church is a great school of prayer. Many of us learned how to whisper our first prayers on our parents’ or grandparents’ laps. We might, perhaps, cherish the memory of our mommy and daddy who taught us to say our prayers before going to bed. … This is good to remember.”
“We become aware,” continued the Pope, “that the gift we received with simplicity in infancy is a great heritage and source of wealth and that the experience of prayer is worth deepening more and more, …And the breath of faith is prayer: we grow in faith inasmuch as we learn to pray. After certain passages in life, we become aware that without faith we could not have made it through and that our strength was prayer.”
(photo from vatican media)
The Pope then highlighted how “communities and groups dedicated to prayer flourish in the Church. … There are monasteries, convents, hermitages in the Church where persons consecrated to God live. … They are cells that are vital not only for the ecclesial fabric, but that of society itself. Let us think of the role that monasticism played in the birth and growth of European civilization, and other cultures as well. Pray and working in community keeps the world going.
The Holy Father explained that, “everything in the Church originates in prayer and everything grows thanks to prayer. When the Enemy, the Evil One, wants to combat the Church, he does so first by trying to drain her fonts, hindering them from praying.”
Recognizing that, “holy women and men do not have easier lives than other people” because “they have their own problems and are often the objects of opposition,” Francis said, “their strength is prayer. They always draw from the inexhaustible “well” of Mother Church. Through prayer they nourish the flame of their faith, as oil used to do for lamps.” Citing a parable in the Gospel of Luke, he said, “Therefore, we can conclude that the lamp of faith will always be lit on earth as long as there is the oil of prayer.”
“This is the Church’s essential task, to pray and to teach how to pray,” concluded Pope Francis. . To transmit the lamp of faith and the oil of prayer from generation to generation. … Without faith everything collapses; and without prayer faith is extinguished. For this reason, the Church, as the house and school of communion, is the house and school of prayer.
PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR DEATH OF CARDINAL CASSIDY
The Vatican today published the following telegram sent by Pope Francis to Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, apostolic nuncio in Australia, upon news of the death of Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy at the age of 96 on April 10. Cardinal Cassidy was president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity:
“Having learned with sadness of the death of Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, I offer my heartfelt condolences. Recalling with gratitude the late cardinal’s years of valued service to the Holy See, his zeal for the spread of the Gospel and his commitment to the promotion of Christian unity, I commend his noble soul to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father. To all who mourn Cardinal Cassidy in the sure hope of the resurrection I cordially impart my Apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord. Franciscus pp.”