Sometimes I just don't get it. Not being snarky, truly. I just don't get it. Even in the context of a larger and valid point, how can a Pope utter this sentence?
“Prayer that doesn’t lead to concrete action toward our brothers is a fruitless and incomplete prayer,” the Pope said July 21.
In the interest of fairness, I will give the full context even though I don't think it mitigates in any way the clumsiness of this sentence.
In his Sunday Angelus message, Pope Francis told crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square to unite prayer and action in Christian life, reports Catholic News Agency.Even within the full context, I think that the sentence is simply wrong.
“Prayer that doesn’t lead to concrete action toward our brothers is a fruitless and incomplete prayer,” the Pope said July 21. “But at the same time, when ecclesial service only attends to work, not reserving time for dialogue with God in prayer, it risks serving itself rather than God who is present in the brother in need.”
Prayer is action. Pure and simple. There are other forms of action and they can certainly be inspired by prayer, but prayer itself is never fruitless or incomplete in any way for lack of additional action. Hey, the Pope is human and the Sunday Angelus is certainly not ex Cathedra, but I find it strange that such a sentence could pass the lips of a Pope without immediate correction. It makes one wonder that when wackos like Leonardo Boff quote the Pope as saying things like this that perhaps, just perhaps, he is not entirely making it up.
From the Catholic encyclopedia.
The great function assumed by contemplatives, as has already been said, is the worship of God. When living in community, they perform this sacred office in a public, official way, assembling at stated hours of the day and night to offer to the Almighty "the sacrifice of Praise" (Psalm. xlix, 14, 23; see Office, Divine). Their chief work then is what St. Benedict (Rule, xliii) Call emphatically God's work (opus Dei), i.e. the solemn chanting of Divine praise, in which the tongue gives utterance to the admiration of the intellect and to the love of the heart. And this is done in the name of the Church and of all mankind. Not only does contemplation glorify God, but it is most beneficial to the soul itself. Nothing brings the soul into such close union with God, and union with God is the source of all saintliness. Never so well as when contemplating the perfections of God and the grandeur of His works does man see his own imperfections and failings, the vileness of sin, and the paltriness and futility of so many of his labours and undertakings; and thus nothing so grounds him in humility, the prop and the bulwark of every other virtue.