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Pope Francis Christian Prayer 13.05.20 General Audience


Pope Francis Christian Prayer 13.05.20


Pope Francis  13.05.20 General Audience, Library of the Apostolic Palace      Catechesis: 2. Christian Prayer      John 15: 15-16

Pope Francis General Audience about Prayer 13.05.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we take the second step in the journey of catechesis on prayer, which began last week.

Prayer belongs to everyone: to men and women of all religions, and probably also to those who do not profess any religion. Prayer is born within the secrecy of ourselves, in that inner place that spiritual authors often call the heart (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church,2562-2563). To pray, therefore, is not something peripheral in us , it is not some second place or marginal faculty, rather it is the most intimate mystery of ourselves. It is this mystery that prays. Our emotions pray, but it cannot be said that prayer is only emotion. Intelligence prays, but praying is not just an intellectual act. The body prays, but one can speak to God even in the most serious disability. It is therefore every part of the human person who prays, if his or her heart prays.

Prayer is an impulse, it is an invocation that goes beyond ourselves: something that is born in the depths of our person and reaches out, because it feels the nostalgia for an encounter. That nostalgia that is more than a need, more than a necessity: it is a way. Prayer is the voice of an "I" groping, groping, groping, in search of a "You". The meeting between the "I" and the "You" cannot be done with calculators: it is a human encounter and many times we proceed to grope to find the "You" that my "I" is looking for.

Christian prayer, on the other hand, comes from a revelation: the "You" has not been shrouded in mystery, but has entered into a relationship with us. Christianity is the religion that continually celebrates the "manifestation" of God, that is, his epiphany. The first feasts of the liturgical year are the celebration of this God who does not remain hidden, but who offers his friendship to men and women. God reveals his glory in the poverty of Bethlehem, in the contemplation of the Magi, in the baptism at the Jordan, in the wonder of the wedding of Cana. The Gospel of John concludes with a concise statement the great hymn of the Prologue: "No one has never seen God: The only Son, God who is at the Father's side, has revealed him" (John 1:18). It was Jesus who revealed God to us.

The prayer of the Christian enters into a relationship with the God with a tender face, who does not want to incite any fear to men. This is the first characteristic of Christian prayer. If men and women had always been accustomed to approach God a little intimidated, a little frightened by this fascinating and tremendous mystery, if they had become accustomed to venerating him with a servile attitude, similar to that of a subject who does not want to disrespect his lord, Christians turn instead to Him daring to call him in a confident way by the name of "Father". Indeed, Jesus uses the other word: "Dad."

Christianity has banned all feudal relations from the connection with God. In the heritage of our faith there are no expressions such as "subjection", "slavery" or "vassal"; but words like "covenant," "friendship," "promise," "communion," "closeness." In his long farewell address to the disciples, Jesus says thus: "I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, because everything I have heard from the Father I have made known to you. You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you so that you will go and bear fruit and your fruit will remain; so that all you ask in my name of the Father, he will give you"(John 15: 15-16). But this is a blank cheque: "Everything you ask of my Father in my name, I will give you"! So let's try it out.

God is the friend, the ally, the groom. In prayer we can establish a relationship of confidence with him, so much so that in the "Our Father" Jesus taught us to ask him a series of questions. To God we can ask for anything, anything; to explain everything, to tell everything. It does not matter if in our relationship with God we feel at fault: we are not good friends, we are not grateful children, we are not faithful spouses. He continues to love us. It is what Jesus definitively demonstrates in the Last Supper, when he says: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you" (Luke 22: 20). In that gesture in the upper room Jesus anticipates the mystery of the Cross. God is a faithful ally: if men stop loving, he continues to love, even if love leads him to Calvary. God is always near the door of our hearts and waits for us to open. And sometimes he knocks on the heart but he is not intrusive: he waits. God's patience with us is the patience of a father, of one who loves us so much. I'd say, it's the patience of a dad and a mom together. Always close to our hearts, and when he knocks he does so with tenderness and with much love.

Let us all try to pray like this, entering into the mystery of the Covenant. Let us place ourselves in prayer in the merciful arms of God, to feel embraced in that mystery of happiness that is the Trinitarian life, to feel like guests who did not deserve so much honour. And let us repeat to God, in the wonder of prayer: is it possible that You know only love? He doesn't know hate. He's hated, but he doesn't know hate. He only knows love. This is the God to whom we pray. This is the glowing core of every Christian prayer. The God of love, our Father who waits for us and accompanies us.