ROME – Continuing his catechesis on liturgy, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of prayer, which calls faithful to be humble and never forget to be amazed before God.
“To enter the Kingdom of Heaven, one must allow himself to be amazed,” Pope Francis said during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. “In our relationship with God, in prayer, do we allow ourselves to be amazed or do we think that prayer is talking to God like a parrot? Do we let ourselves be surprised? Because the encounter with the Lord is always a living encounter, not an encounter at a museum.”
The pope started off his speech by stressing that Mass is the highest and most concrete form of prayer, which represents the dialogue and personal relationship with God. “This is the greatest grace,” he said, “to be able to experience that Mass, the Eucharist is the privileged moment to be with Jesus, and through Him, with God and our brothers.”
In an off-the-cuff remark, Francis underlined that praying also means being in silence with God. He scolded faithful who believe that Mass is a time for chitchat. “It is not a moment to converse, it’s a moment of silence to prepare for dialogue. The moment to collect one’s heart to prepare for the encounter with the Lord,” the pope said Nov. 15.
In the Gospel, Jesus looked for secluded areas to pray. His disciples yearned to have the same intimate relationship with God and asked him to teach them how to pray. The first thing Jesus told them is that in order to pray the first thing to say is ‘Father.’
“If I am not able to call God Father, I am not able to pray,” Francis said. “This is the first point: to be humble, recognize oneself as son, rest in the Father, trust in Him. To enter the Kingdom of Heaven it’s necessary to make oneself small like children.”
Children, the pope continued, know that their parents will take care of them and “trust and have confidence” in them implicitly, and the faithful must have the same trust and confidence in their relationship with God.
The second point, Francis continued, is also to be like children by allowing oneself to be amazed. Children “always ask a thousand questions because they wish to understand the world and are surprised even by small things because everything is new to them,” he said.
Quoting the Gospel according to John, the pope asked if we are ready to be “reborn from above” and if it’s possible before the everyday tragedies to find once more “the taste, the joy, the astonishment of life.” The desire to be reborn is at the heart of every believer but Francis warned that our spiritual life can be easily lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life.
“In truth, the Lord amazes us by showing us that He loves us even in our weaknesses,” Francis said. “The Lord always forgives us.”
He concluded by saying that the gift of forgiveness is given to faithful though the Eucharist in order to bring them back to their original calling of being in God’s image.
The audience finished by reciting the Our Father in Latin and the pope extended his usual blessing to young people, newlyweds and the infirm.