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Pope urges faithful to make a retreat

Recommending a spiritual retreat for all, Pope John Paul II has said the most generous choices are the result of "profound and prolonged union with God in prayerful silence".

The Pope gave that advice on Sunday as he addressed pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter's Square before the midday Angelus. A day earlier he finished a week of Exercises, a spiritual retreat involving a systematic series of meditations.

Life becomes radically different for the person who has found Christ, said the Holy Father. "The most generous choices, especially the persevering, are the fruit of profound and prolonged union with God in prayerful silence," he said.

"In carrying the cross every day with faith full of love, we also experience, along with the weight and hardness, the force of renewal and consolation," he continued. "With Jesus, we receive this interior light especially in prayer."

"It is important, especially in the time of Lent, that Christian communities become authentic schools of prayer, where we allow ourselves to be conquered by the mystery of God's light and love," he concluded.