In his Wednesday audience, Pope Benedict XVI spoke on the Ecclesial Nature of Liturgical Prayer. This has made Father Z happy, for obvious reasons. It applies directly to liturgy, which is right up his alley. I do want to point out, though, the part preceding that which is about what it is that makes us who we are to begin with, what makes a friend a true friend, and where we will find our true identity. I am fond of saying (because it is true) that we are friends to each other as much as we are Christ to each other, and also that we must find our identity in Christ or we are denying God’s will for us. I have linked Pope Benedict’s Scripture references for your convenience. The brokenhearted find their truest friend in Jesus and our truest friends on earth are those who are most like Jesus.
Today I would like for us to ask ourselves: in my life, do I reserve sufficient space for prayer and, above all, what place does liturgical prayer have in my relationship with God, especially the Holy Mass, as the participation in the common prayer of the Body of Christ, which is the Church?
In responding to this question, first we must remember that prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit (cf. ibid. n. 2565). Therefore, the life of prayer consists in abiding habitually in the presence of God and being aware of this, in living in relationship with God as we live the normal relationships of our lives, with the dearest members of our family and with our truest friends; indeed, it is our relationship with the Lord that enlightens all our other relationships. This communion of life with God, One and Triune, is possible because by our Baptism we have been inserted into Christ. We have begun to be one with him (cf. Romans 6:5).
In fact, it is only in Christ that we may converse with God the Father as children; otherwise it is not possible, but in communion with the Son we too may say, as he did: “Abbà”. In communion with Christ we can come to know God as a true Father (Matthew 11:27). Therefore, Christian prayer consists in looking constantly and ever anew to Christ, in speaking with him, being silent with him, listening to him, acting and suffering with him. The Christian discovers his truest identity in Christ, “the first born of all creation” in whom all things subsist (cf. Colossians 1: 15ff). In identifying myself with him, in being one with him, I discover my personal identity as a true child who looks to God as to a Father full of love.