Friday, August 15, 2008

Power of prayer is topic as Pope resumes weekly audience

Pope Benedict XVI prays before a mass for the Assumption festival ...

Aug. 13, 2008 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) resumed his weekly public audiences on Wednesday, August 13, after returning from his summer vacation.

In his remarks to the pilgrims who gathered in the courtyard of the apostolic palace in Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father said that "really very many" people contacting him to ask for his prayers, and he remembers all those people each day at Mass and when he says the Rosary.

In fact, the Pope continued, prayer is "the first service that I can make to the Church and mankind." Prayer is a powerful resource for every believer, he said, especially "in situations that are difficult or even desperate from the human perspective."

To illustrate the power of prayer in desperate situations, the Pope cited the examples of Sts. Edith Stein and Maximillian Kolbe-- both martyrs who died at Auschwitz, whose feasts are celebrated in August. Even in that Nazi concentration camp, the Pontiff remarked, St. Maximillian Kolbe continued to pray without flagging, living out the words that he had spoken: "Hatred is not a creative force; only love is."

St. Maximillian's last words were the Hail Mary, the Pope said. Reminding his audience that the Church is preparing to celebrate the feast of the Assumption on August 15, he exhorted the faithful to "renew our trust in the one who always watches over us from heaven with a mother's love."

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