People do not know who they are unless they pray regularly, Pope Benedict XVI says at his general audience

People don’t really know who they are or what their life’s purpose is unless they pray regularly, Pope Benedict XVI has said.

Each day people need “to dedicate the proper amount of time to prayer, to this openness to God, to this journey to seek God in order to see him and find friendship with him so that we can experience true life”, the Pope said at his weekly general audience.

The Pope’s audience talk was dedicated to the life and teaching of St Teresa of Avila, the 16th-century mystic and doctor of the Church.

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“She teaches us to truly feel the thirst for God that exists in the depths of our hearts, this desire to see God, to seek God, to speak to God, to be God’s friend,” the Pope said. “All of us need this friendship, which we must renew day by day,” he said.

The Pope said that after a series of talks focusing on women who made important contributions to the Church in the Middle Ages, he would begin dedicating his audience talks to St Teresa and other doctors of the Church, saints who made important contributions to understanding Christian doctrine.

“St Teresa is a true master of Christian life for the faithful in every age,” Pope Benedict told the estimated 3,000 people who gathered for the general audience.

“In our society, frequently lacking spiritual values, St Teresa teaches us to be untiring witnesses of God, of his presence and his action,” he said.

The Pope said St Teresa’s teaching and example should encourage all Christians to be serious about their prayer, which is an essential part of a truly human life.

“Many of us, we must admit, do not really live because we do not experience the essence of our lives. Time for prayer is not wasted time; it’s time in which the path opens toward the fullness of life and to love of God, a burning love for him and his Church and a concrete love for our brothers and sisters,” the Pope said.

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