Benedict XVI is beginning an examination of Jesus' prayer in his Wednesday catecheses, and today he considered Our Lord's prayer like a "secret channel irrigating his existence, his relationships and his acts."
Until today, the Pope had drawn from the Old Testament for his teaching series on prayer, most recently concluding with a reflection on the Psalms.
In today's audience, he spoke of Jesus as the "Master for our prayer; indeed, he is the fraternal and active support each and every time we turn to the Father."
"The whole of Jesus’ life -- lived in a family profoundly tied to the religious tradition of the people of Israel -- stands against the backdrop of this extraordinary prayer. The references we find in the Gospels demonstrate this: His circumcision (cf. Luke 2:21) and His presentation in the temple (cf. Luke 2:22-24), as well as the education and formation He received at Nazareth in the holy house (cf. Luke 2:39-40 and 2:51-52). We are speaking here of 'about thirty years' (Luke 3:23), a long period of hidden, daily life -- even if marked by experiences of participation in moments of communal religious expression, like the pilgrimage to Jerusalem (cf. Luke 2:41)," he explained.
The Holy Father noted how Jesus' prayer is "found always at the crossroads between insertion into the tradition of his people and the newness of a unique personal relationship with God."
"In our prayer also," he said, "we must learn increasingly to enter into this history of salvation whose summit is Jesus; [we must learn] to renew before God our personal decision to open ourselves to his Will, and to ask him for the strength to conform our will to his -- in every aspect of our lives -- in obedience to his plan of love for us."
Benedict XVI proposed that Jesus' prayer is an invitation to examine our own prayer lives: "In looking to the prayer of Jesus, a question should arise in us: How do I pray? How do we pray? What sort of time do I dedicate to my relationship with God? Does there exist today a sufficient education and formation in prayer? And who can be its teacher?"
"Christians are called to be witnesses to prayer because our world is often closed to divine horizons and to the hope that leads to an encounter with God," the Pope affirmed. "Through a deep friendship with Jesus -- and by living a filial relationship with the Father in Him and with Him -- by our faithful and constant prayer we can open the windows to God's heaven. Indeed, in walking along the way of prayer -- without regard for human concern -- we can help others to travel the same road: for it is true also of Christian prayer that, in travelling along its paths, paths are opened."