February 20, 2012

God is near even though it may seem like he does not hear people's prayers or has abandoned his flock, Pope Benedict said.

"Faced with difficult and painful situations, when God seems to not hear us, we must not be afraid to give him all of the weight we carry in our heart, we should not be afraid to cry out to him about our suffering," he said.

Speaking at his weekly general audience Feb. 8, Pope Benedict highlighted Christ's prayer from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus' cry to the Father was not immediately understood by those nearby, the pope said. Some thought he was calling Elijah, asking him to prolong his life, but Jesus was quoting Psalm 22, which affirms God's presence amid his people, the pope said.

"Jesus is praying this psalm with the awareness of the Father's presence," he continued.

"Many ask how this omnipotent God could not intervene to spare his own Son?"

Because Jesus' cry is not one for help, he said, but rather a prayer for his people and all peoples.