Aparecida 255-256: Deep Friendship Through Prayer

Prayer is more than a pious fulfillment of a mandate from God. Pope John Paul refers to it as an art. The Aparecida bishops urge prayer as an expression of friendship.

255. It is in personal and community prayer that the disciple, fed by the Word and the Eucharist, cultivates a relationship of deep friendship with Jesus Christ and seeks to embrace the will of the Father. Daily prayer is a sign of the primacy of grace in the missionary disciple’s journey. Hence, “we have to learn to pray, as it were learning this art ever anew from the lips of the Divine Master.”(Novo Millennio Ineunte 33)

Prayer might arise spontaneously, under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Most often I see it cultivated by example. Parents. Mentors. Godparents. Catechists. Clergy and religious. Community leaders. If prayer is an art, then more than ever we need to offer people an apprenticeship in its practice.

Scripture tells us …

256. Jesus is present in the midst of a living community in faith and fraternal love. There he fulfills his promise: “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20). He is in all disciples who strive to make Jesus’ existence their own, and to live their life hidden in Christ’s life (cf. Col 3:3). They experience the power of his resurrection to the point of identifying deeply with Him: “yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). He is in the shepherds, who represent Christ himself (cf. Mt 10:40; Lk 10:16).

The bishops by divine institution have succeeded to the place of the apostles, as shepherds of the Church, and he who hears them, hears Christ, and he who rejects them, rejects Christ and Him who sent Christ (Lumen Gentium 20).

The bishops indeed bear great responsibility for the spiritual direction of the communities they oversee.

Any person may serve the cause of social justice; these people too are examples to imitate:

He is in those who give testimony to the struggle for justice, for peace, and for the common good, sometimes even surrendering their own life, and in all the events in the life of our peoples, who invite us to seek a more just and more fraternal world, in every human reality, whose limitations we sometimes find painful and overwhelming.

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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