Papal Challenge: Spread God’s Kingdom

Urges Church in US to Pray Our Father

NEW YORK, APRIL 20, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI challenged the Church in the United States to pray and work to hasten the spread of the kingdom of God in the nation.

The Pope urged the more than 58,000 people gathered in Yankee’s Stadium today for the last major event of his five-day visit to pray “in the Lord’s own words: ‘Thy Kingdom come.'”

“This prayer needs to shape the mind and heart of every Christian in this nation,” he said. “It needs to bear fruit in the way you lead your lives and in the way you build up your families and your communities.

“It needs to create new ‘settings of hope’ where God’s kingdom becomes present in all its saving power.”

The Holy Father said praying for the coming of the God’s kingdom “also means being constantly alert for the signs of its presence, and working for its growth in every sector of society.”

The Pontiff continued: “It means facing the challenges of present and future with confidence in Christ’s victory and a commitment to extending his reign.

“It means not losing heart in the face of resistance, adversity and scandal. It means overcoming every separation between faith and life, and countering false gospels of freedom and happiness.

“It also means rejecting a false dichotomy between faith and political life.”

“It means working to enrich American society and culture with the beauty and truth of the Gospel, and never losing sight of that great hope which gives meaning and value to all the other hopes which inspire our lives,” he added.

Continuing the legacy

“Follow faithfully in the footsteps of those who have gone before you,” Benedict XVI challenged the Church in the United States. “Hasten the coming of God’s Kingdom in this land!

“Past generations have left you an impressive legacy. In our day too, the Catholic community in this nation has been outstanding in its prophetic witness in the defense of life, in the education of the young, in care for the poor, the sick and the stranger in your midst.

“On these solid foundations, the future of the Church in America must even now begin to rise!”

“Only God in his providence knows what works his grace has yet to bring forth in your lives and in the life of the Church in the United States,” Benedict XVI said. “Yet Christ’s promise fills us with sure hope.”

He continued, “Let us now join our prayers to his, as living stones in that spiritual temple which is his one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

“Let us lift our eyes to him, for even now he is preparing for us a place in his Father’s house. And empowered by his Holy Spirit, let us work with renewed zeal for the spread of his Kingdom.”

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