When, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, the apostles addressed Jesus with the words “Lord, teach us to pray,” they were not asking an ordinary question; they were expressing one of the deepest needs of the human heart.

To tell the truth, today’s world does not make much room for this need. The hectic pace of daily activity, combined with the noisy and often frivolous invasiveness of our means of communication, is certainly not conducive to the interior recollection required for prayer. Then, too, there is a deeper difficulty: Modern people have an increasingly less religious view of the world and life. The secularization process seems to have persuaded them that the course of events can be sufficiently explained by the interplay of this world’s immanent forces, independent of higher intervention.

What we need to foster, in ourselves and in others, is a contemplative outlook. Such an outlook arises from faith in the God of life, who has created every individual as a wonder. It is the outlook of those who see life in its deeper meaning, who grasp its utter gratuitousness, its beauty, and its invitation to freedom and responsibility. It is the outlook of those who do not presume to take possession of reality, but instead accept it as a gift, discovering in all things the reflection of the Creator and seeing in every person their own living image.

Continue to “On Forgiveness and Reconciliation” or see full list of excerpts.

from Go In Peace, by John Paul II