Transfiguration, on the 2nd Sunday of Lent

"To Pray Means to Be Immersed With the Spirit in God"

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 7, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today before praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.



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1. "Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray" (Luke 9:28). Thus begins the Gospel of the transfiguration of Christ, which characterizes this Second Sunday of Lent. The evangelist Luke underlines that Jesus was transfigured "while he was praying" on a high mountain, immersed in intimate and profound dialogue with God the Father. A brilliant light shone from his person, in anticipation of the glory of the Resurrection.

2. Every year, in preparation for Easter, Lent invites us to follow Christ in the mystery of his prayer, source of light and strength in the hour of trial. To pray, in fact, means to be immersed with the spirit in God in an attitude of humble adherence to his will. From this confident abandonment in God derives the inner light that transfigures man, making him a witness of the Resurrection. However, this can only happen by listening to Christ and by following him docilely to the passion and cross. Therefore, we must look to him, "because only in him, the Son of God, there is salvation."

3. I wished to address this exhortation to the whole world 25 years ago, precisely at the beginning of Lent, in the encyclical "Redemptor Hominis" (see No. 7). If man wants to understand himself profoundly, I wrote then, he must draw near to Christ, he must enter in him, he must "appropriate" to himself and assimilate the whole reality of the Redemption (see No. 10). How timely this truth is also today!

May the Virgin Mother of the Redeemer help us to start afresh from Christ to build a world that is truly in the measure of man.

[At the end of his address, the Holy Father added:]

During the week of the Spiritual Exercises in the Vatican, I did not forget the painful situations in some countries of Africa, in the Middle East, and above in the Holy Land and Iraq.

They are our brothers who suffer from unacceptable acts of violence and terrorism, which can only aggravate the conditions of life of those beloved populations.

While I pray for them and invite you to pray, I would like to ask all once again to undertake the path of forgiveness and reconciliation.

[Translation by ZENIT]