Pope Urges Faithful to Make a Spiritual Retreat

Fresh from “Exercises,” He Says Christ Changes Lives Radically

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 24, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Saying the most generous choices are the result of “profound and prolonged union with God in prayerful silence,” John Paul II recommended all the faithful to experience the Spiritual Exercises.

The Pope gave that advice today as he addressed pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter´s Square before the midday Angelus. A day earlier he finished a week of Exercises, a spiritual retreat involving a systematic series of meditations.

Life becomes radically different for the person who has found Christ, said the Holy Father. “The most generous choices, especially the persevering, are the fruit of profound and prolonged union with God in prayerful silence,” he said.

“In carrying the cross every day with faith full of love, we also experience, along with the weight and hardness, the force of renewal and consolation,” he continued. “With Jesus, we receive this interior light especially in prayer.”

The Pope noted that on this, the second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel passage at Mass is of Christ´s transfiguration on Mount Tabor.

“On Tabor we understand better that the life of the cross and of glory are inseparable,” the Pope explained. He called Tabor the “mountain of silence and contemplation.”

The Holy Father encouraged Catholics to go on a spiritual retreat, “although in ways adapted to the different vocations and conditions of life.”

“It is important, especially in the time of Lent, that Christian communities become authentic schools of prayer, where we allow ourselves to be conquered by the mystery of God´s light and love,” he concluded.

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