September 12, 2012

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

Summary

- NO PRAYER IS EVER LOST

- MIDDLE EAST CHRISTIANS MUST BE BUILDERS OF PEACE AND ARCHITECTS OF RECONCILIATION

- DECLARATION BY HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE DIRECTOR

- DEVELOPMENT OF EVERY PERSON AND OF THE WHOLE PERSON IS THE HEART OF EVANGELISATION

- AUDIENCES

 

NO PRAYER IS EVER LOST

Vatican City, 12 September 2012 (VIS) - During his general audience, held this morning in the Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI focused his catechesis on prayer in the second part of the Book of Revelation in which, he noted, attention moves from the interior life of the Church "to the entire world, because the Church advances through history and is a part thereof".

In this second part of Revelation, the Christian assembly is called "to undertake a profound interpretation of the history in which it lives, learning to discern events with faith so that, through its actions, it may collaborate in the advancement of the kingdom of God. Such interpretation, discernment and action are closely associated with prayer".

The assembly is invited to ascend unto heaven "in order to see reality with the eyes of God". There, according to St. John's narrative, we find three symbols with which to interpret history: the throne, the scroll and the Lamb. On the throne sits Almighty God "Who has not remained isolated in heaven but has approached man and entered into a covenant with him". The scroll "contains God's plan for history and mankind, but it is hermetically sealed with seven seals and no one can read it. ... Yet there is a remedy to man's confusion before the mystery of history. Someone is able to open the scroll and illuminate him".

That someone appears in the third symbol: "Christ, the Lamb, Who was immolated in the sacrifice of the cross but stands in sign of His resurrection. The Lamb, Christ, Who died and rose again, will progressively open the seals so as to reveal the plan of God, the profound meaning of history".

These symbols, the Pope explained, "remind us of the path we must follow to interpret the events of history and of our own lives. Raising our gaze to God's heaven in an unbroken relationship with Christ, ... in individual and community prayer, we learn to see things in a new way and to grasp their most authentic significance". The Lord invites the Christian community "to a realistic examination of the present time in which they are living. The Lamb then opens the first four seals of the scroll and the Church sees the world of which she is part; a world containing ... the evils accomplished by man, such as violence ... and injustice, ... to which must be added the evils man suffers such as death, hunger, and sickness".

"In the face of these often dramatic issues the ecclesial community is invited never to lose hope, but to remain firm in the belief that the apparent omnipotence of the Evil One in fact comes up against true omnipotence, that of God". St. John speaks of the white horse, which symbolises that "the power of God has entered man's history, a power capable not only of counterbalancing evil, but also of overcoming it. ... God became so close as to descend into the darkness of death and illuminate it with the splendour of divine life. He took the evil of the world upon Himself to purify it with the fire of His love".

The Holy Father went on: "How can we progress in this Christian interpretation of reality? The Book of Revelation tells us that prayer nourishes this vision of light and profound hope in each one of us and in our communities. ... The Church lives in history, she is not closed in herself but courageously faces her journey amidst difficulties and sufferings, forcefully affirming that evil does not defeat good, that darkness does not shade God's splendour. This is an important point for us too: as Christians we can never be pessimists. ... Prayer, above all, educates us to see the signs of God, His presence and His action; or rather, it educates us to become lights of goodness, spreading hope and indicating that the victory is God's".

At the end of the vision an angel places grains of incense in a censer then throws it upon the earth. Those grains represent our prayers, the Pope said. "and we can be sure that there is no such thing as a superfluous or useless prayer. No prayer is lost. ... God is not oblivious to our prayers. ... When faced with evil we often have the sensation that we can do nothing, but our prayers are in fact the first and most effective response we can give, they strengthen our daily commitment to goodness. The power of God makes our weakness strong".

 

MIDDLE EAST CHRISTIANS MUST BE BUILDERS OF PEACE AND ARCHITECTS OF RECONCILIATION

Vatican City, 12 September 2012 (VIS) - At the end of his general audience today, the Holy Father spoke of his forthcoming apostolic trip to Lebanon, where he is due to sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops.

"At this hour in two days' time", he said, "I will be on a plane bound for Lebanon. I rejoice at this apostolic trip which will enable me to meet many members of Lebanese society: the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, Catholic faithful of various rites, other Christians, and the Muslims and Druze of the region. I thank the Lord for this rich variety, which will be able to continue only if people live in permanent peace and reconciliation. For this reason I exhort all Christians of the Middle East, both those born there and the newly arrived, to be builders of peace and architects of reconciliation. Let us pray to God that He may fortify the faith of Christians in Lebanon and the Middle East, and fill them with hope. I thank God for their presence and call upon the entire Church to show solidarity, that they may continue to bear witness to Christ in those blessed lands, seeking communion in unity. I thank God for all the individuals and institutions who, in many ways, help them to do so. The history of the Middle East teaches us the important and sometimes primordial role. played by the various Christian communities in inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue Let us ask God to give that region of the world its longed-for peace, and respect for legitimate differences. May God bless Lebanon and the Middle East. May God bless you".

 

DECLARATION BY HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE DIRECTOR

Vatican City, 12 September 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a declaration made by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi following episodes of violence in the Libyan city of Benghazi yesterday.

"Profound respect for the beliefs, texts, outstanding figures and symbols of the various religions is an essential precondition for the peaceful coexistence of peoples. The serious consequences of unjustified offence and provocations against the sensibilities of Muslim believers are once again evident in these days, as we see the reactions they arouse, sometimes with tragic results, which in their turn nourish tension and hatred, unleashing unacceptable violence.

"The message of dialogue and respect for all believers of different religions, which the Holy Father is preparing to carry with him on his forthcoming trip to Lebanon, indicate the path that everyone should follow in order to construct shared and peaceful coexistence among religions and peoples".

 

DEVELOPMENT OF EVERY PERSON AND OF THE WHOLE PERSON IS THE HEART OF EVANGELISATION

Vatican City, 12 September 2012 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. has sent a letter, in the Holy Father's name, to Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, for the opening of the first Integrated Meeting for the Pastoral Care of the Road/Street for the Continent of Africa and Madagascar, which is currently taking place in that city.

"As the Synod Fathers at the two Special Assemblies for Africa of the Synod of Bishops prophetically acknowledged, the Church's concern for the development of every person and the whole person, especially of the poorest and most neglected, is at the heart of her mission of evangelisation in Africa", the English-language text reads.

"His Holiness trusts that the present meeting will lead to greater cooperation and coordinated efforts among the particular Churches for the sake of safeguarding every life at risk on African streets and roads. He asks that special attention be paid to the pastoral needs of those women and children who find themselves on the streets, whether as a result of concrete social, economic and political factors, or as victims of organised national and international exploiters. He is likewise confident that the meeting will address situations affecting the lives of those who travel in their work and, not least, the road insecurity which threatens the lives of millions on African soil.

"With these sentiments, the Holy Father offers fervent prayers that the meeting will confirm the Church in Africa and Madagascar in its witness to the Gospel and its contribution to the building up of civil society and to the forging of a new Africa".

 

AUDIENCES

Vatican City, 12 September 2012 (VIS) - Following this morning's general audience, the Holy Father received in audience Karekin II, Catholicos and Supreme Patriarch of All Armenians.

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