Monday, July 25, 2011

Summertime reading

It’s summer! And that means that our community schedule is quite altered. It is a time for retreat, for vacation, for family visits. In June I spent a full week with my sister and her husband. And I also joined with a group of my religious Sisters for a week of retreat. This week some of us are cooking for another group of our Sisters so they can be free to pray and retreat with the Lord.

Rather than focusing on desk work this month, I too have extra time to pray and to read. I am enjoying a series of teachings on prayer given by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. These teachings are given during his weekly audience on Wednesdays at the Vatican. (Those weekly audiences have been suspended for awhile while our Holy Father spends his own vacation at Castel Gondolfo.) The text of his teachings on prayer can be found on Zenit, the on-line Catholic news source (under documents). Here is a link to the Holy Father’s talk on Praying with the Psalms

And here is an excerpt from that same talk:

The Psalms are given to the believer precisely as a text of prayer, which has as its one end that of becoming the prayer of the one who takes them up and, with them, addresses himself to God. Since they are the Word of God, he who prays the Psalms speaks to God with the very words that God has given to us; he addresses Him with the words that He Himself gives us. Thus, in praying the Psalms we learn to pray. They are a school of prayer...

...They are given to us so that we might learn to address ourselves to God, to communicate with Him, to talk to Him about ourselves with His words, to find language for an encounter with Him. And, through those words, it will also be possible to know and to receive the standards of his way of acting, to approach the mystery of his thoughts and of his ways (cf. Isaiah 55:8-9), so as to grow always more in faith and love. As our words are not only words, but also teach us about a real and conceptual world, so also these prayers teach us about the heart of God, for which reason are we able not only to speak with God, but also to learn who God is and -- in learning how to speak with Him -- we learn what is it to be man, to be ourselves.

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