· At the General Audience the Pope talks about prayer in St Alphonsus Mary Liguori ·
The Pope addressed invitation “to knock at the door of the Lord confidently, knowing that he cares for all his children” to the faithful who took part in the General Audience on Wednesday, 1 August, in the Piazza della Libertà, the square in Castel Gandolfo. In resuming the weekly meetings after the summer pause – the last General Audience was held on 27 June – the Pope dedicated his catechesis to the teaching of St Alphonsus Mary Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, whose Liturgical Memorial is celebrated on 1 August.
One of the most popular saints of the 18th century, Alphonsus is known above all for his teaching on the sacrament of Penance in which he saw expressed “the joyful embrace of God the Father, who in his infinite mercy never tires of welcoming every one of his repentant children”, as well as for his teaching on prayer. He described prayer as “a necessary and certain means of obtaining salvation and all the graces that we require for that object”.
“Those who pray will be saved and those who do not will be damned”. In recalling St Alphonsus' famous maxim Benedict XVI stressed that “in no situation of life can we do without prayer, especially in times of trial and difficulty”. Human beings must not be afraid to turn to the Lord: “We are invited”, Benedict XVI urged the faithful, “not to be afraid to turn to him and to present our requests to him with trust, in the certainty of receiving what we need”. However, the Pope asked himself, “What is really necessary in my life?”. Once again the answer is found in St Alphonsus: “salvation and all the graces that we need”. What is meant with these words, the Pope explained, is “not only the health of the body, but first of all that of the soul, which Jesus give us”. More than anything else, he emphasized, “we need his liberating presence which makes us truly fully human and hence fills our existence with joy”. For it is only with the humility of prayer and trust in his mercy, he concluded, that it is possible for the divine presence to grow within us that “directs us on our journey, illuminates it and, even in the midst of difficulties and perils, makes it it safe and peaceful”.
St. Peter’s Square
Sept. 18, 2019
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