Skip to comments.Pope reflects on prayer in Book of the Apocalypse
Posted on 09/08/2012 10:27:33 AM PDT by EBH
Pope Benedict XVI says the final book of the Bible, which he referred to as the Book of the Apocalypse, provides Christians with a vision of a Church fully in communion with Jesus Christ in prayer.
The Apocalypse presents us with a community gathered in prayer, because it is in prayer that we gain an increasing awareness of Jesuss presence with us and within us, the Pope said during his Sept. 5 general audience at the Vatican.
The more and the better we pray with constancy and intensity, the more we are assimilated to him, and the more he enters into our lives to guide them and give them joy and peace. And the more we know, love and follow Jesus, the more we feel the need to dwell in prayer with him, receiving serenity, hope and strength for our lives, he explained.
Pope Benedict flew in by helicopter from his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo to deliver his reflections to over 8,000 pilgrims gathered in the Vaticans Paul VI Audience Hall. The address formed another chapter in the Popes continuing exploration of the school of prayer in the story of salvation.
He told the audience that the Book of Revelation is a difficult book, but one of great richness which presents the reader with the living breathing prayer of the Christian assembly, gathered together on the Lords day.
In it a reader presents the assembly with a message entrusted by God to John the Evangelist, the Pope noted. From the dialogue between them a symphony of prayer arises which is then developed in many different forms up until the conclusion.
Pope Benedict outlined how the first part of the Bibles last book presents three different but successive phases of the great assembly at prayer.
The first highlights that prayer is, above all, a listening to God who speaks. In a modern world where we are often engulfed by so many words we are often unused to listening and, especially, to adopting an interior and exterior attitude of silence so as to attend to what the Lord wishes to say to us, he said.
These verses also teach us that our prayers, often merely prayers of request, must in fact be first and foremost prayers of praise to God for his love, for the gift of Jesus Christ which brought us strength, hope and salvation.
The Pope suggested that this first phase also reminds us that constant prayer revives in us a sense of the Lords presence in our life and history.
Prayer, even that pronounced in the most extreme solitude, is never a form of isolation and it is never sterile, it is a vital lifeline which nourishes an increasingly committed and coherent Christian existence, he said.
In the second phase of the first part of Revelation we then witness how the relationship with Jesus Christ is developed further, Pope Benedict taught.
The Lord makes himself visible, he speaks and acts, and the community, increasingly close to him, listens, reacts and accepts.
Finally, in the third phase, the Pope pointed to a Church in prayer that, in accepting the word of the Lord, is transformed.
The assembly listens to the message, and receives a stimulus for repentance, conversion, perseverance, growth in love and guidance for the journey.
The Pope finished his general audience by addressing the assembled pilgrims in several different languages.
Prayer with others, liturgical prayer in particular, will deepen our awareness of the crucified and risen Jesus in our midst, he told English speaking pilgrims. Thus, the more we know, love and follow Christ, the more we will want to meet him in prayer, for he is the peace, hope and strength of our lives.
He then led the pilgrims in the singing of the Our Father in Latin before imparting his apostolic blessing and returning to Castel Gandolfo by helicopter.
Revelations is kind of the “red headed stepchild” of the Bible, and I can see why it is shunned by some of the Eastern churches.
Eventually, I can foresee the daring move of sidelining it in favor of a collection of the “best and brightest” of the writings from early Christian philosophers and the doctrinal decisions of conclaves.
There is a huge reservoir of brilliant Christian thought to select from, which would be far more spiritually valuable than graphic descriptions of cosmic horror and destruction.
It would be an enormous and difficult project, but a worthy one.
The Book of Revelation is the Word of God. Any church that would “sideline” it isn’t much of a church. It has valuable information on the end of the world and as the Word of God has strengthened Christians during times of tribulation and persecution for almost 2000 thousand years. The writings of many of the early fathers, Ignatius, Polycarp, etc, are brilliant but they aren’t the Word of God. One can read them as excellent spiritual reading, but they aren’t quite the inerrant Word of God.
You apparently don't know much about the Mass.
So you rarely go to Mass or doesn’t Mass qualify as “delving”?
God bless and protect our Pope.
May he live 120 happy healthy years!
So no, it isn't a matter of not going to mass...it is a matter it isn't normally discussed in most homilies I've ever heard.
Example: I never heard of Revelations or the Apocalypse until 8th grade...and even then it was from the ‘Gospel’ church across the street from my Catholic school. That would be the late 1970's.
More recently, when Dolan sent out the letters to the church to preach that Sunday about the mandate...the church I went too preached something else entirely. I swear I live in a rogue diocese. Let's just say I live in an area where the Vatican has even ordered the dioceses to reopen churches "they" closed. It's the first time that Rome has ordered parishes to be fully reopened.
If you can get your hands on any of the books Scott Hahn has written, I would encourage you to read them. They are very richly steeped in Catholicism. The best part is he writes for lay people. They are full of valuable information which is also very understandable. :)
“Example: I never heard of Revelations or the Apocalypse until 8th grade...and even then it was from the Gospel church across the street from my Catholic school. That would be the late 1970’s.”
So, in 8 years of Catholic school you never went to Mass on the following Sundays in Year c: 2nd Sunday of Easter, 3rd Sunday of Easter, 4th Sunday of Easter, 5th Sunday of Easter, 6th Sunday of Easter, or 7th Sunday of Easter?
You never noticed the First Reading was taken from Revelation for 12 straight weekdays in Year II?
My local parish is the same as yours. The Pastoral Assistant & Dir Liturgy and makes all church related decisions, she is a street clothes wearing, short haired nun, built like Fred Flintstone. They never participate in Divine Mercy Sunday, no DM pict of Jesus present in the church, but the next Sunday is Earth Day and they made a Big Thing To Do out of that. Save the Earth, but no real devotion or piety towards saving souls.
Its a great church if your interested in the new age: They have and promote centering prayer, enneagram and spiritual maze walks. My parish in Huntington Bch,CA is run by a “Santa Barbara Franciscan Order” which is essentially corrupt, all their retreat centers teach the same new age stuff with gay/lesbian retreats and they are essentially followers of Fr. Richard Rohr(Franciscan) who has published alot of books that get alot of great reviews on Amazon by liberal Catholics, but 1 star reviews by those who are orthodox. This parish figured predominantly in the Sexual Abuse scandal. Many or most of the priests have a femininity problem. Heck, thats true throughout most So.Calif parishes also. The parish has no kneelers, no one kneels in church, past pastors have talked very bad theology from the pulpit. The nun has given homilies. So have children and grade school teachers with feel good things they’ve done. All the people they bring in for talks, seminars are liberal. They have voting seminars led by liberals. Social Justice oriented through and through. The yearly give away Calendar at Christmas and NewYears , stresses with each and every month that we are ‘STEWARDS’, one month tells us to be good stewards like the Blessed Virgin Mary another month be a good steward like St. so and so. Steward is heavily used there in the bulletin, homilies etc, must be liberal-speak. They have seminars based on a book, one of which discusses legitimate things(actually illegitimate) that can be changed in the Church. This church St Simon & Jude, Huntington Beach is the most liberal parish in the diocese of Orange,CA. Yet look for reviews on Yahoo,Yelp,Google and nary a voice speaking out against it. Everyone who goes there likes it, so its a waste of time to talk to any of them, they are either liberal or non-discerning people who lean on what Fr. told them and thats all they know. Some complaints when talking to some who you think would be somewhat supportive are followed with comments to you that your not open minded enough or that your too rigid in your views. The parish is heavily infested with Wal Mart greeters before mass, they shake hands just before the Entrance Procession and again after the Our Father. Touchy Feely Good this parish is! Sarcasm!
Enough of my parish as I am neither registered there nor attend it on Sundays as a regular. I’m a bit of a rover between 2-3 other nearby parishes. My goal along with many others is just to attend a Novus Ordo Mass without too many gimicks, w/o too much ad libbing by chuckling Fr. Feel Good, or one parish that was pretty good had Fr Feel Good spending 10 minutes shaking everyones hand, at least a full half of those present by going into pews during his entrance procession and song. I sat/stood out of range. Hopefully, my goal is just to find and attend a Novus Ordo mass that doesnt stink too much due to the Priests disallowance and lack of respect toward Canonicity and the GIRM. Good luck.
Neither the Catholic, Orthodox, not Syriac churches are enamored of the "Apocalypse." For many years the Orthodox churches resisted accepting its canonicity and even today it is the one book of the Orthodox bible that is not read liturgically during services. As for the Syriac churches, the Peshitta' (Syriac bible) still doesn't have it.
John's apocalypse is a subversive attack on an evil world order that is about to be overthrown. That was all right so long as chrstians were being persecuted, but once chrstianity became legal (and later, the official state religion) attacks on the world order (which was now chrstian) were wildly out of place.
John's apocalypse is primarily for those people who regard the world order as evil and unredeemed and scheduled for overthrow. That would be the J Witnesses, Adventists, and Fundamentalist Baptists, but not any of the long-established ancient liturgical churches.
I know the feeling...the church has a lot to do for itself.
Then I hear and see the works of Dolan and other repreentatives of the larger church...I have faith.