Benedict XVI returns to devote general audience catechism to prayer. The first Christian community, persecuted, unites in prayer and does not ask God to ensure their safety, but the courage of faith. An example to follow in our personal lives, God is present in our lives, even in difficult moments, and everything, even things that are incomprehensible, is part of a plan of love.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Church "should not fear persecution which forced to suffer in history", but "trust always in the presence, in the help and the power of God invoked in prayer", which should always be "in accord", as was that of the first Christian community, who, despite being persecuted", did not ask for their lives to be spared ", or for God to punish those who afflicted them, but "not to lose the courage of faith, the courage to announce".

Following the Easter holidays, Benedict XVI returned to devote his general audience catechesis to prayer, focusing today on the "little Pentecost," recounted in the Acts of the Apostles. An episode which the Pope says, also indicates the way forward in our own lives. "Like the first Christian community", we too, must allow ourselves be enlightened by the word of God, we learn to see that God is present in our lives, even in their difficult times, and that everything, even things incomprehensible, are part of a design of love.

The 25 thousand people who had come to the audience had birthday and anniversary greetings in several languages - and even in song - for the Pope's 85th birthday and the seventh anniversary, April 19, of the beginning of his pontificate. Benedict XVI asked them for prayers so that "I may persevere in my service to Christ and the Church. "

In today's catechesis, the Pope was inspired by the story of Peter and John who were imprisoned after the healing of a paralytic, because they had announced the resurrection of Jesus. Following their release they told the other apostles what had happened. And "all unanimously raised their voice to God." "In the face of danger, difficulties and threats, the first Christian community does not try to carry out an analysis or draw up strategies on how to defend themselves, on measures to be taken, rather they join in prayer. A unanimous and united prayer. This something that should always be fundamental to the Church. The community is not afraid and does not become divided. This is the first miracle that takes place when believers are tested for their faith: the unity is strengthened rather than compromised ".

At this time of trial, in fact, the Church does not seek "safety in the face of persecution, but that it may be granted to boldly proclaim the word of God, it prays not to lose the courage to proclaim the faith, but first try to read events in the light of faith", until it sees in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus" the key to understanding persecution. "

"And here we also find the meaning of the persecution that the early Christian community is experiencing; this first community is not a simple association, but a community that lives in Christ, so what happens is part of God's plan . As it happened to Jesus, the disciples also encountered opposition, misunderstanding, persecution. In prayer, meditation on Sacred Scripture in the light of the mystery of Christ helps us to read the present reality within salvation history which God realizes in the world, always in His own way. "

At the end of the prayer of the apostles, "the place where they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. It trembled: faith has the power to transform the earth and the world."

"Like the first Christian community - Benedict XVI concluded - prayer helps us to read personal and collective history in a just perspective that is faithful to God. We too want to renew the request of the gift of the Holy Spirit, that warms the heart and enlightens the mind, to recognize how the Lord realizes our prayers according to His loving will and not according to our ideas. Led by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, we will be able to live with serenity, courage and joy in all of life's situations and with St. Paul boast in our sufferings, knowing that tribulation brings patience, patience brings tested virtue and tested virtue, hope: the hope that does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Holy that was gifted to us. "