VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that it is normal and beneficial to ask for things from God in prayer, but that we must also remember to praise him and thank him for his many gifts.
The Pope said this today as he continued his series of catechesis on prayer at the general audience.
"Though in itself it is normal for us to ask for something in prayer, it should not exclusively be so. There is also reason to give thanks, and if we are attentive we see that we receive so many good things from God: He is so good to us that it is fitting, indeed necessary, to say thank you. And it should also be a prayer of praise: if our heart is open, despite all problems, we see the beauty of His creation, the goodness shown forth in His creation. Therefore, we must not only ask; we must also praise and give thanks: only in this way is our prayer complete," he said.
The Holy Father then went on to offer a commentary on the first chapter of Ephesians, in which Paul blesses God for making known "the mystery of his will."
"The hymn that opens the Letter to the Ephesians takes us by the hand and leads us towards a deeper meaning of this term [mysterion] and the reality it points to," the Pontiff said. "For believers, 'mystery' is not so much the unknown; rather, it is the merciful will of God, His loving plan, which is fully revealed in Jesus Christ."
He noted that Paul's vision "leads us to contemplate the action of the three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity: the Father, who chose us before the creation of the world; He thought of us and created us; the Son, who has redeemed us by his blood; and the Holy Spirit, the guarantee of our redemption and future glory."
Benedict XVI said that prayer leads us to see God's merciful plan in the Church's journey.
"St. Ireneaus once said that, in the Incarnation, the Holy Spirit accustomed himself to being in man," the Pope noted. "In prayer we must accustom ourselves to being with God. This is very important, that we learn to be with God; in this way, we see that it is beautiful to be with him, which is redemption. [...] Prayer, as a way of 'accustoming oneself' to being together with God, produces men and women animated not by egoism, by the desire to possess, by the thirst for power, but by gratuity, by the desire to love, by the thirst to serve -- animated, that is, by God; and it is only in this way that we can bring light to the darkness of the world."
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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-35044?l=english