Prayer Is the Secret in the Face of Helplessness, Says Pope

Contends It Should Be «the Daily Breath of Families»

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 8, 2002 ( John Paul II proposed prayer as the answer to give courage to those who frequently feel anxious and helpless.

«When believers pray, they move God’s heart, for whom nothing is impossible,» the Pope explained today before praying the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims.

«Unfortunately, we are often exposed to vicissitudes and tragic events, which sow disconcert and anxiety in public opinion,» the Holy Father began, as he spoke in the courtyard of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Rome.

«Modern man seems to be sure of himself and yet, especially on critical occasions, he must come to terms with his powerlessness: He feels his incapacity to act and, consequently, lives in uncertainty and fear,» the Pontiff added.

John Paul II said the «secret to face not only emergencies but exhaustion and personal and social problems day after day is in prayer, made in faith.»

«Whoever prays does not get discouraged, not even in the face of the most serious difficulties, because he feels God by his side and finds refuge, serenity and peace in his open arms,» the Pope stressed.

«Then, in opening the heart to the love of God, it also opens to love of brothers, and makes it capable of constructing history according to the divine plan,» he continued.

The Holy Father explained that, for this reason, «education in prayer» must become «a decisive point of all pastoral programs.»

«It is very important to pray every day, personally and as a family,» he concluded. «May prayer, and prayer together, be the daily breath of families, parishes and the whole community.»

John Paul II then greeted pilgrims in seven languages. At the end, he personally greeted parents with babies who attended the Angelus, and kissed the little ones.

He also had his picture taken with a group of about 20 children, the majority Polish, with whom he spoke for a few moments.

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