Before the Angelus
After the Angelus
At midday today, the Holy Father Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square.
The following is the Pope’s introduction to the Marian prayer:
Before the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In today’s Gospel reading (see Lk 11: 1-13), Saint Luke narrates the circumstances in which Jesus teaches the Lord’s prayer. The disciples already know how to pray, reciting the formulas of the Jewish tradition, but they too wish to be able to live the same “quality” of prayer as Jesus, since they are able to confirm that prayer is an essential dimension of the life of their Master; indeed, every important action of His is characterized by prolonged pauses in prayer. In addition, they are fascinated as they see that He does not pray like other teachers of the time, but rather His prayer is an intimate bond with the Father, so much so that they wish to participate in these moments of union with God, to fully savour their sweetness.
So, one day, they wait for Jesus to conclude His prayer in a secluded place, and then they ask, “Lord, teach us to pray” (v. 1). In response to the explicit question of the disciples, Jesus does not give an abstract definition of prayer, nor does He teach an effective technique for praying and “obtaining” something. Instead He invites His disciples to experience prayer, placing them directly in communication with the Father, inspiring in them a nostalgia for a personal relationship with God, with the Father. Here lies the novelty of Christian prayer! It is a dialogue between people who love each other, a dialogue based on trust, supported by listening and open to solidarity. It is a dialogue of the Son with the Father, a dialogue between children and their Father. This is Christian prayer.
Therefore He gives them the Lord’s prayer, perhaps the most precious gift left to us by the divine Master in His earthly mission. After revealing to us His mystery as Son and brother, with this prayer Jesus lets us enter into God’s paternity; I wish to emphasize this: when Jesus teaches us, the Lord’s prayer makes us enter into God’s paternity and shows us the way to enter into a prayerful and direct dialogue with Him, via the path of filial confidence. And it is a dialogue between the father and his son, of the son with his father. What we ask in the Lord’s prayer is already all realized for us in the Only-begotten Son: the sanctification of the Name, the advent of the Kingdom, the gift of bread, forgiveness and liberation from evil. As we ask, we open our hand to receive. To receive the gifts that the Father showed us in the Son. The prayer that the Lord has taught us is the synthesis of every prayer, and we always address it to the Father in communion with our brothers. Sometimes it happens that in prayer there are distractions but many times we feel the desire to stop at the first word – “Father” – and feel that paternity in the heart.
Then Jesus recounts the parable of the importunate friend, and Jesus says, “you must persevere in prayer”. I am reminded of what children do at about three, three and a half years old: they start to ask about things they do not understand. In my homeland it is called “the age of why”, and I think it is the same here. Children start to look at their father and ask: “Daddy, why? Daddy, why?”. They ask for explanations. We have to be careful: when the father starts to explain why, they come along with another question, without listening to all the explanation. What happens? It happens that the children feel insecure about the many things they start to half-understand. They only want their father’s attention, and this is why they say, “Why, why, why?”. We, in the Lord’s prayer, if we stop at the first word, will do the same thing we did when we were children, attracting the Father’s attention. Saying “Father, Father”, and also saying, “Why?”, and He will look at us.
Let us ask Mary, prayerful woman, to help us pray the Lord’s prayer united with Jesus to live the Gospel, guided by the Holy Spirit.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
I have learned with sorrow of the dramatic shipwreck that took place in recent days in the waters of the Mediterranean, in which dozens of migrants, including women and children, lost their lives. I renew my heartfelt appeal to the international community to act promptly and decisively, to avoid the repetition of similar tragedies and to ensure the safety and dignity of all. I invite you to pray with me for the victims and for their families. And also to ask with our heart, “Father, why?” [followed by a minute of silence].
I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims from Italy and from various parts of the world: families, parish groups, associations.
In particular, I greet the sisters of Saint Elizabeth from various countries, the group from the AVART Organización Internacional de Arte y Cultura Mexicana from Puebla, Mexico, and the young people of the Santa Rita di Cascia parish of Turin. I see a Uruguayan flag but I don’t see any mate! Welcome! I also greet the many Polish people I see here with their flags, and also the Spanish group.
I wish you all a good Sunday and please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and goodbye.