February 10, 2010 // Uncategorized

Christian faith without love cannot live, pope says

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — With love, faith comes alive, and without it, faith is dead, Pope Benedict XVI said.

It is God’s love that grants true spiritual knowledge and transforms people’s lives, he said Feb. 10 at his weekly general audience.

“Charity lies at the heart of faith and makes it come alive. Without love, faith dies,” he said.

The pope’s audience talk focused on the life and teachings of St. Anthony of Padua, a 13th-century Franciscan friar who was a contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi.

St. Anthony played a key role in developing Franciscan spirituality, the pope said, especially concerning the role and nature of prayer.

Only through authentic prayer can a person experience spiritual progress and fight the temptations of greed, pride, and impurity and instead live a life marked by poverty, generosity, humility, obedience and chastity, he said.

St. Anthony taught that prayer needs silence — not so much an absence of audible noise and sounds, but an inner silence in which all worries and mental distractions are quelled and the soul finds a sense of calm, said the pope.

He said the saint taught that there are four “indispensable” steps to perfecting the art of prayer.

The first step is confidently “opening one’s heart to God’s presence,” he said. The second is to “have an affectionate dialogue with God, seeing him present with me,” the pope said.

The next step, he said, comes easily to most people: telling God what is on one’s mind. Then lastly, praise God and thank him, he said.

These steps help make prayer a loving and joy-filled conversation with God that will enrich and strengthen one’s faith and spiritual journey, he said.

He said the saint also urged people to pursue “true wealth — that of the heart,” which brings goodness and mercy to the world.

St. Anthony asked that the faithful not forget the plight of the poor, which is “a very important and pertinent message today,” the pope said. Financial crises create serious economic gaps, which cause poverty and misery, he said.

In order for an economic system to function correctly, it must have an ethical basis that is based on friendship and respect for the human person, he said.

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Editor’s Note: The text of the pope’s audience remarks in English will be posted online at:


The text of the pope’s audience remarks in Spanish will be posted online at: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20100210_sp.html.

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