Pope Francis during his General Audience (Vatican Media)
By Vatican News
June 17 2020
Pope Francis continues his cycle of catechesis on prayer at the Wednesday General Audience, focusing on the biblical figure of Moses.
Pope Francis began his General Audience on Wednesday by noting that “God never liked to have anything to do with those who prayed the ‘easy’ way”. He used Moses as an example, explaining that from the very first day of his vocation he was not a “weak” dialogue partner.
The Pope noted that when God called him, “Moses was in human terms a ‘failure’”. He explained that the Book of Exodus depicts Moses as a fugitive in the desert of Midian. Once a man who fought for the weak and oppressed, “it was not justice” but “violence that came from his hands”, said the Pope.
God to Moses
Then, the Pope recounted that in the same desert of Midian, God invites Moses to take care of the people of Israel once more, but Moses puts up a fuss. He does not believe he is worthy, said the Pope, adding that “the word that appears most frequently on Moses’s lips, in every prayer he addresses to God, is the question: ‘Why?’”
“With these fears, with this heart that often falters, Moses appears human like us”, said the Pope. It is both his weakness and strength that impress us. Entrusted by God to transmit the Law to his people, “he will not, for this reason, cease to maintain close bonds of solidarity with his people, especially in the hour of temptation and sin”. He is remains on friendly terms with many people, said the Pope. “Despite his privileged status, Moses never ceased to belong to the numbers of the poor in spirit who live by trusting in God as the viaticum of their journey”.
The best way to describe how Moses prayed is the word “intercession”, said the Pope. He explained that Moses’s faith in God is “completely at one with his sense of fatherhood towards his people. Scripture habitually depicts him with his hands outstretched towards God, as if to form a bridge between heaven and earth with his own person”.
True believers, said the Pope, cultivate this sort of prayer: “even if they experience the shortcomings of people and their distance from God, in prayer they do not condemn them, they do not reject them”. The intercessory attitude is proper to the saints who, in imitation of Jesus, are “bridges” between God and His people, he added.
Finally, Pope Francis explained that Moses urges us to pray with the same ardour as Jesus, to intercede for the world, to remember that “despite all its frailties, it still belongs to God”. It is “thanks to the blessing of the righteous, to the prayer for mercy that the saint, the righteous person, the priest, the Bishop, the Pope, the layperson, anyone who is baptised incessantly raises up for mankind, in every place and time in history, that the world lives and thrives”. Pope Francis said when we get angry, instead of condemning the person that we are angry with, “let’s intercede for him or her: that will help us a lot”.