Prayer Endeavor Takes Up a 100-Year-Old Suggestion

Archbishop Rylko on «Burning Bush» Project

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ROME, MAY 7, 2001 ( An ecclesial movement has been launched an endeavor calling on Christians to «return to the Cenacle» and rediscover the power of prayer.

The Renewal in the Spirit movement, which attracted 30,000 people to its recent meeting in Rimini, Italy, launched the «Burning Bush» prayer endeavor.

The initiative´s inspiration goes back to Jan. 1, 1901, when, at the suggestion of Blessed Elena Guerra, Pope Leo XIII invoked the Holy Spirit on the new century, and called the faithful to a perpetual novena to the Holy Spirit between Ascension and Pentecost, for the intention of Christian unity.

One hundred years later, Renewal in the Spirit has taken up that call again.

In a letter to the bishops of Italy, the movement offers to promote a «return to the Upper Room,» to enable Christians to rediscover the beauty and power of prayer. It is an invitation to invoke a «new outpouring of the Spirit,» beginning with Pentecost 2001.

Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, addressed the Rimini meeting on the primacy of prayer. He congratulated Renewal in the Spirit for its response to John Paul II´s call to turn Christian communities into veritable «schools of prayer.» The archbishop spoke more on the subject in this interview.

–Q: Your Excellency, what do you mean by the «prophetic nature of the ´Burning Bush´ project»?

–Archbishop Rylko: I refer to Renewal in the Spirit´s timeliness of response to the Holy Father´s words, who, in the apostolic letter «Novo Millennio Ineunte,» recalled the fundamental principle of evangelization, valid for all time: the primacy of grace.

It is a very simple truth: The fruits of evangelization do not depend solely on our ability to do and to plan, but on the depth of our relationship with Christ, the way, the truth and the life.

The world today no longer accepts this principle, because modern culture is oriented toward doing more than toward being. It is often difficult, even for Christians, to understand that praying is not a waste of time but, rather, the only basis on which to build evangelization and bear witness.

–Q: Do you see Renewal in the Spirit as having a role in spreading the Holy Father´s call beyond its own groups and communities?

–Archbishop Rylko: This project is not bound to any one ecclesial movement or area: becoming «burning bushes» of prayer is an integral part of the vocation of Christians. However, it is certainly akin to the charism of Renewal in the Spirit, a current of grace that has given great fruits of conversion. So many lay people have rediscovered the beauty of prayer through Charismatic Renewal groups!

The lack of prayer is the reason why people today so often lose their sense of the meaning of life. One can only recover one´s identity by kneeling before God, above all in prayer and adoration. It is there that men and women find their own dignity once again, as creatures before their Creator, as redeemed beings before their Redeemer.

There is no holiness without prayer, and there can be no evangelization without holiness and prayer.

–Q: How can a movement become a «school of prayer»?

–Archbishop Rylko: It comes naturally for the human spirit to turn to God. However, prayer is an art that requires exercise, effort and, sometimes, even sacrifice. It supplies the moments in which a person manifests his or her worth most greatly.

This is why I invite one and all to say «yes» to the call to become «burning bushes» of prayer, men and women of adoration and intercession.

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