CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 29, 2012 ( The Truth is the Truth; there is no compromise, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope made this observation in today's general audience, as he reflected on the feast of the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, celebrated today.

John "did not keep silent about the truth, and thus he died for Christ who is the Truth. For love of the truth, he did not give in to compromises with those who were powerful, nor was he afraid to address strong words to the one who lost his way to God," he said.

Though dedicating today's audience address to this saint, Christ's cousin and precursor, the Holy Father also continued his series on prayer, as he noted that John's strength can be traced to his contact with God.

"We ask: where does this life [in John's figure] come from, this interiority, which is so strong, so principled, so consistent, which is spent so totally for God and in preparing the way for Jesus? The answer is simple: from his relationship with God, from prayer, which is the guiding thread of his entire life."

"The entire life of Jesus' precursor was nourished by his relationship with God, especially during the time he spent in the wilderness (cf. Luke 1:80); the wilderness, a place of temptation, but also a place where man feels his own poverty, for there he is deprived of all support and material security, and he comes to understand that the only secure reference point is God himself," the Pontiff reflected. 

John is not only a man of prayer, but also a guide in prayer, Benedict continued. He is also, the Pope said, an example to encourage steadfastness in our own day.

"Celebrating the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist also reminds us -- Christians in our own times -- that we cannot give into compromise when it comes to our love for Christ, for his Word, for his Truth," he said. "The Truth is the Truth; there is no compromise. The Christian life requires, as it were, the 'martyrdom' of daily fidelity to the Gospel; the courage, that is, to allow Christ to increase in us and to direct our thoughts and actions. 

"But this can only occur in our lives if our relationship with God is strong. Prayer is not time lost, nor does it steal space away from our activities, even those that are apostolic; it is exactly the opposite: only if we are able to have a life of faithful, constant, trusting prayer, will God himself give us the ability and strength to live in happiness and peace, to overcome difficulties and to courageously bear witness to him. May St. John the Baptist intercede for us, that we might always maintain the primacy of God in our lives."

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