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Pope Francis Abraham's Prayer 03.06.20 General Audience


Pope Francis Abraham's Prayer 03.06.20 General Audience



Pope Francis    03.06.20 General Audience, Library of the Apostolic Palace      Catechesis: 5. Abraham's Prayer        Genesis 15: 1, 3-6

Pope Francis - Abraham's Prayer 03.06.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

There is a voice that suddenly resonates in Abraham's life. A voice that invites him to set out on a path that sounds absurd: a voice that encourages him to uproot himself from his homeland, from the roots of his family, to move towards a new future, a different future. And all on the basis of a promise, which only needs to be trusted. And trusting a promise is not easy, it takes courage. And Abraham trusted himself to God.

The Bible is silent on the past of the first patriarch. The logic of things suggests that he worshipped other divinities; perhaps he was a wise man, accustomed to searching the sky and the stars. The Lord, in fact, promises him that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars that dot the sky.

And Abraham leaves. He listens to God's voice and trusts his word. This is important: he trusts God's word. And with his departure a new way of conceiving the relationship with God is born; it is for this reason that the patriarch Abraham is present in the great Jewish, Christian and Islamic spiritual traditions as the perfect man of God, capable of submitting to him, even when his will proves difficult, if not downright incomprehensible. 

Abraham is therefore the man of the Word. When God speaks, man becomes the receptor of that Word and his life the place where it seeks to be incarnated. This is a great novelty in the religious journey of man: the life of the believer begins to be conceived as a vocation, that is, as a call, as a place where a promise is fulfilled; and he moves in the world not so much under the weight of an enigma, but with the strength of that promise, which will one day come true. And Abraham believed in God's promise. He believed and went, not knowing where he was going – so says the Letter to the Hebrews ( 11: 8 ). But he trusted.

Reading the book of Genesis, we discover how Abraham lived prayer in continuous fidelity to that Word, which periodically appeared along his path. In summary, we can say that in Abraham's life faith becomes history. Faith becomes history. Indeed, Abraham, with his life, by his example, teaches us this path, this road on which faith becomes history. God is no longer seen only in cosmic phenomena, like a distant God who can strike terror. The God of Abraham becomes "my God", the God of my personal story, who guides my steps, who does not abandon me; the God of my days, the companion of my adventures; the God of providence. I ask myself and I ask you: do we have this experience of God? The "my God", the God who accompanies me, the God of my personal history, the God who guides my steps, who does not abandon me, the God of my days? Do we have this experience? Let's think about it.

This experience of Abraham is also witnessed by one of the most original texts in the history of spirituality: the Memorial of Blaise Pascal. It begins thus: "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of philosophers and scholars. Certainty, certainty. Feeling. Joy. Peace. God of Jesus Christ." This memorial, written on a small parchment, and found after his death sewn into a philosopher's garment, expresses not an intellectual reflection that a wise man like him can conceive of God, but the living sense, experienced, of his presence. Pascal even notes the precise moment when he felt that reality, having finally encountered it: on the evening of November 23, 1654. It's not an abstract God or a cosmic God, no. He is the God of a person, of a call, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, the God who is certainty, of feeling, of joy.

"Abraham's prayer is expressed first of all by his deeds: a man of silence, at each stage he builds an altar to the Lord"(Catechism of the Catholic Church,2570). Abraham does not build a temple, but spreads the path with stones to commemorate God's passage. A surprising God, as when he visits him in the figure of three guests, whom he and Sara welcome with care and who announce to them the birth of their son Isaac (cf. Gen 18: 1-15). Abraham was a hundred years old, and his wife ninety, more or less. And they believed, they trusted God. And Sara, his wife, conceived. At that age! This is the God of Abraham, our God, who accompanies us.

Thus Abraham becomes familiar with God, able also to discuss with him, but always faithful. To talk to God and discuss. Until the supreme trial, when God asks him to sacrifice his son Isaac, the son of old age, the sole heir. Here Abraham lives the faith as a drama, like a stumbling walk in the night, under a sky this time devoid of stars. And so often it also happens to us, to walk in the dark, but with faith. God himself will stop Abraham's hand ready to strike, because he has seen his truly total obedience (cf. Gen 22,1-19).
Brothers and sisters, let us learn from Abraham, let us learn to pray with faith: to listen to the Lord, to walk, to dialogue, even to argue. Let us not be afraid to argue with God! I will also say something that sounds like heresy. Many times I have heard people say to me: "You know, this happened to me and I got angry with God" – "You had the courage to be angry with God?" – "Yes, I got angry" – "But this is a form of prayer". Because only a son is able to get angry with dad and then make up with him. 

Let us learn from Abraham to pray with faith, to dialogue, to discuss, but always be willing to accept the word of God and to put it into practice. With God, let us learn to speak like a son with his father: listen to him, answer him, discuss. But be transparent, like a son with his dad. This is how Abraham teaches us to pray. Thank you.


Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr George Floyd.
My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that “the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost”.
Today I join the Church in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and in the entire United States, in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism. Let us pray for the consolation of their grieving families and friends and let us implore the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn. May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and throughout the world.
May God bless all of you and your families.