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 CNS Story:

POPE-AUDIENCE Aug-17-2011 (450 words) With photos. xxxi

Stop, listen, reflect on what God is trying to tell you, pope says

By Catholic News Service

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Most people don't leave any time in their day to stop, listen and reflect on what God is doing and saying in their lives, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"Our time is taken up by so many activities, commitments, worries and problems that often one tends to fill up one's whole day without having a second left for stopping to reflect and nourish one's spiritual life" by having contact with God, he said Aug. 17 as he held his weekly general audience in the courtyard of the papal summer villa at Castel Gandolfo.

The pope continued his series of talks on prayer by focusing on meditation and the role it plays in a Christian life.

He said it is essential to consistently find a moment every day to be able to "collect our thoughts in silence and meditate on what the Lord wants to teach us, since he is present and acts in the world and our lives."

Since the way to heaven involves believing in God, trusting in him and carrying out his will, each individual needs to be able to hear and understand what God is saying and wants for each person, and that happens through prayer and meditation, he said.

Meditation "means to remember how much God has done" and the bounty of his gifts, he said.

"Often we only see the negative," he said, and people must also reflect on all the positive things in their lives.

The pope offered a number of ways people can meditate on God's word and the mysteries of the faith:

-- Read a passage from sacred Scripture and the Gospels, especially the Acts of the Apostles or the letters of the Apostles.

-- Read a page of a spiritual book that aims to bring people closer to God and make better known his presence in the world today.

-- Talk with a confessor or spiritual adviser.

-- Reflect on an "intense spiritual experience" or words in a homily that made a deep impression.

Each reflection must involve trying to understand what God is saying to the individual and what it is saying about the world today, the pope said.

It means "opening our soul to what the Lord wants to tell us and teach us," he said.

After his catechesis, the pope greeted pilgrims gathered in the courtyard, including a small group of indigenous youths from the Diocese of Calgary, Alberta, who were en route to World Youth Day in Madrid.

The pope asked everyone to pray for his Aug. 18-21 trip to Madrid where he will "have the pleasure of meeting numerous young people."

- - -

Editor's Note: The text of the pope's audience remarks in English is posted online at www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20110817_en.html.

The text of the pope's audience remarks in Spanish is posted online at www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20110817_sp.html.

END


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