Reaffirming the centrality of prayer in the life of the faithful, this article from Chiesa reminds us that of all the gifts of God that we may call upon to help us in our pilgrimage in the world, it is prayer that is the most powerful, the axis mundi of the faith.
“ROME, May 29, 2009 – On the visit he made to the abbey of Monte Cassino on Ascension Sunday, Benedict XVI revived the famous motto of the saint whose name he took: "Ora et labora et lege." Work and study, but first of all pray.
“And he linked this motto with the other one that the pope has repeatedly placed at the origin of all Western civilization: "quaerere Deum," to seek God.
“In the vision of Benedict XVI, praying to God is not a part, but rather the whole of man's vocation. The idea may appear daring in an age in which prayer is often trivialized, contested, put off limits. But it finds support in signs of renewed attention to this supreme act of Christian life, and that's not all.
“For example, at the same time as pope Joseph Ratzinger's visit to Monte Cassino, further to the north, in Bologna, one of the most secularized cities in Italy, the feast of the Madonna di San Luca saw a much larger crowd than in the past gather to pray. Just as a few weeks earlier, in the same city, the immense basilica of Saint Petronius was not large enough to hold the great mass of young people at a prayer vigil, who also filled the square in front of the church.
“Even further to the north, also a few days ago, in Piacenza on the banks of the Po, churchmen, theologians, philosophers and artists, believers and nonbelievers decided to discuss precisely this theme: "Prayer and experiences of God."
“The meeting, organized as a "Festival of theology," was begun on May 22 and concluded on May 24 with two "master lectures": the first by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, and the second by the most famous of the German Evangelical theologians, Jürgen Moltmann.
“The speakers included Philippe Némo and Mario Botta, PierAngelo Sequeri and Elmar Salmann, Massimo Cacciari and Guido Ceronetti.
“Cardinal Ruini's lecture is reproduced below, with editorial subtitles.
“Of particular interest are the passages in which he analyzes
the objections that today's culture raises against prayer, and, conversely, the profound meaning of prayer as a "serious matter" on which the Christian faith stands or falls.”