Prayer Prepares the Heart for Suffering, Says Pope

Meets “Servants of Suffering” in Audience

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2004 ( Prayer is an important preparation for living the salvific experience of suffering, says John Paul II.

“Prayer illuminates the heart and makes it more disposed to accept suffering,” the Pope said Thursday when meeting with members of the Servants of Suffering secular institute.

“Suffering, accepted with docile abandonment in God, opens the spirit to understand the pain of others,” the Holy Father said in Italian to those present, who were accompanied by Archbishop Benigno Luigi Papa of Taranto.

The Servants of Suffering institute was founded by Father Pierino Galeone in 1957, at the explicit request of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, to perpetuate in the world the mission of service to suffering in body and spirit.

The institute, which was soon divided into a feminine branch, and a masculine and priestly branch, is recognized by the archbishop of Taranto. The Pope acknowledged that the members of this institute have become a “vehicle of hope for many people severely tried physically and spiritually.”

“As Servants of Suffering, be silent Cyreneans who help all those going through trials, assuring them that God does not forget a single tear; on the contrary, he dries them all and writes them in his book,” John Paul II said.

“Follow in the footsteps of Padre Pio, whose teachings are always very timely; be inspired in them constantly. Be apostles, like him, of prayer and suffering!” the Pope concluded.

The Servants of Suffering are present in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Liechtenstein, Cameroon, Benin and Togo.

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