Last Sunday, being 24th February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI led his last Angelus at the Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City. He started his normal weekly catechesis by acknowledging the affections with which he has been accompanied in these last days of his papacy. And afterwards, he explained the text of Luke on the transfiguration of the Lord in these words:
Dear brothers and sisters. During the service on the second Lent Sunday, the Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord is always presented. Luke, the evangelist, has highlighted the fact that Jesus transfigured while he prayed. His is a deep, profound experience of relationship with the Father during a sort of spiritual retreat that Jesus lives on a high mount accompanied by Peter, James and John, the three disciples who were always present during the moments of the divine manifestation of the Master. The Lord, who not long ago had proclaimed his death and resurrection, offers the disciples an anticipation of his glory.
After a proper analysis of the places of each individual present at the transfiguration scene he continued in these words:
Pondering over this fragment of the Gospel, we can draw a very important lesson: First of all, the supremacy of prayer, without which all the apostolate endeavours, and that of charity, will be reduced to activism.
During Lent, let us learn to give the right time to prayer, both personal and community prayer, which breathes air into our spiritual life.
However, praying does not mean isolating oneself from the world and its contradictions, as St. Peter would have liked to have done on Mount Tabor, but prayer leads us back to the path, to action.
Christian existence — I have written in the Message for this Lent — means to continuously climb up the mount for our encounter with God, so that afterward we can descend again filled with his love and strength to serve our brothers and sisters with the very love of God.
And after these, he applied the transfiguration scene to his actual mission. He said:
Dear Brothers and sisters, this Word of God I feel in a particular way towards me, at this moment in my life.
The Lord is calling me to “climb the mount,” and to devote myself to meditation, reflection and prayer.
However, this does not mean abandoning the Church, but rather, if God has requested this of me, it is so that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done up until now, but in a way adapted to my age and my strength.