Pope Francis at the General Audience (Vatican Media).

By Asia News

Dec 17 2020

“To pray with tenderness for others. We are all leaves on the same tree: each one that falls reminds us of the great piety that must be nourished in prayer, for one another. Let us pray for one another: it will do us good and it will do everyone good”. May the difficulties help us to live a less consumeristic and more religious Christmas.

VATICAN CITY – “When we pray we are attuned to the heart of God, God’s merciful heart,” and so those who pray cannot “forget” others. “Those who pray cannot leave the world behind. If prayer does not collect the joys and pains, hopes and anxieties of humanity, it becomes a ‘decorative’, theatre-like, intimate activity”, but” it is not prayer “.

Intercessory prayer was the topic of Pope Francis’ catechesis in today’s general audience, also held today in the private library. Continuing the cycle of catechesis on prayer, Francis therefore said that “We all need interiority: to retreat within a space and a time dedicated to our relationship with God. But this does not mean that we evade reality. In prayer, God “takes us, blesses us, then breaks us and gives us”, to satisfy everyone’s hunger. Every Christian is called to become bread, broken and shared, in God’s hands.”  We pray ” for those who do not pray at all but who carry within themselves a suffocating cry, a hidden invocation; for those who have erred and have lost the way….  “. “Anyone can knock on the door of a person praying and find in him or her a compassionate heart, which prays without excluding anyone. Prayer is our heart and our prayer is also for those who do not know or do not want to pray”.

“In solitude – he said again – In solitude, they separate themselves from everything and from everyone to find everything and everyone in God. These people pray for the entire world, bearing its sorrows and sins on their shoulders. They pray for each and every person: they are like God’s “antennas” in this world. The one who prays sees the face of Christ in every poor person who knocks at the door, in every person who has lost the meaning of things. The Catechism writes: “intercession – asking on behalf of another (…) has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s mercy.”

” The human heart tends toward prayer. It is simply human. Those who do not love their brother or sister do not pray seriously. In the Church, those who are familiar with the sadness and joy of others dig deeper than those who investigate the worlds “chief systems”. Because of this, human experience is present in every prayer, because no matter what errors people may have committed, they should never be rejected or discarded. When believers, moved by the Holy Spirit, pray for sinners, no selection is made, no judgement or condemnation is uttered: they pray for everyone. And they pray for themselves. At that moment they know they are not that different from those for whom they pray.”. Because, he added, The lesson of the parable of the Pharisee and the publican is always alive and current (see Lk 18:9-14): we are not better than anyone, we are all brothers and sisters who bear fragility, suffering and being sinners in common; there is no one who is flawless in your eyes. Lord have mercy on us! ‘ And with this spirit, prayer is fruitful”.

“The world keeps going thanks to this chain of people who pray, who intercede, and who are unknown for the most part…but not to God! There are many anonymous Christians who, in times of persecution, have repeated the words of our Lord: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34). The Good Shepherd remains faithful even before the awareness of the sin of His own people: He continues to be a Father even when His children distance themselves and abandon Him. He perseveres in His service as shepherd even with those who have bloodied His hands; He does not close His heart to those who have even made Him suffer. The Church, in all of her members, has the mission of practicing the prayer of intercession. This is especially so for those who exercise roles of responsibility: parents, teachers, ordained ministers, superiors of communities…. Like Abraham and Moses, they must at times “defend” the persons entrusted to them before God. In reality, we are talking about protecting them with God’s eyes and heart, with His same invincible compassion and tenderness. We are all leaves on the same tree: each one that falls reminds us of the great piety that must be nourished in prayer, for one another”.

Finally, in the greeting in Italian, the Pope urged “everyone to ‘hasten the pace’ towards Christmas, the real one, that is, the birth of Jesus Christ. This year, restrictions and inconveniences await us; but let’s think about the Christmas of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph: It was not all roses and flowers! How many difficulties! How many worries! Yet faith, hope and love guided and supported them. May it be the same for us! ” And may these difficulties, he concluded, help us to live a less consumeristic and more religious Christmas. – Asia News