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POPE-AUDIENCE Feb-1-2012 (410 words) xxxi

True freedom, strength come when human will guided by God, pope says

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Only by fully following God's will can humanity find true freedom and the strength to bear the fear or suffering in one's life, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"Only by conforming one's own will to the divine does the human person reach his true greatness -- becomes divine," he said. Only by shedding one's own interests and goals for God's does humanity obtain what everyone wants: "to be completely free," the pope said.

Speaking at his weekly general audience Feb. 1, Pope Benedict continued his catechesis on prayer by highlighting Jesus' intense prayer to his father in the garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus understood the hour of betrayal and death was near, and his prayer "reveals his human fear and anguish," the pope said.

Though he implored God to "take this cup away from me" and spare him, Jesus quickly showed his complete obedience to his father's will when he added, "not what I want, but what you want," the pope said.

It's not always easy to discern and comply with what God wants, he said. But it will help, he said, if people "learn to trust more in God's providence" and pray every day for the strength to step out of oneself and step up to God's plan.

When praying the "Lord's Prayer" every day, one is asking that God's "will be done on earth as it is in heaven," the pope said.

The prayer shows that not only does God have a plan for everyone, "we also recognize that it is in heaven where God's will is done and that the earth becomes heaven -- a place where there is love, goodness, truth, divine beauty -- only if the will of God is done," he said.

Just as Jesus used prayer to draw strength to sustain him through times of immense suffering and anguish, so must men and women today use prayer to sustain them and "bring before God our troubles, suffering, the daily task of following (God), of being Christian and also the burden of evil that we see in us and around us."

It's God, he said, who brings hope and light and always stays near his children, even during their moments of great trial.

The pope asked that people grow closer to Christ day by day and follow God's will, even if to do so entails great pain and sacrifice, so that "a little bit of God's heaven is brought to earth."

- - -

Editor's Note: The text of the pope's audience remarks in English will be posted online at: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2012/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20120201_en.html.

The text of the pope's audience remarks in Spanish will be posted online at: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2012/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20120201_sp.html.

END


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