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Pope at Audience: Prayer cultivates flowers of rebirth

by Vatican News
Pope Francis

Pope Francis continues his catechesis on prayer, turning his thoughts to the prayer of the just.

Pope Francis began his General Audience on Wednesday telling the faithful that “God’s plan regarding humanity is for the good”, even though “we experience the presence of evil” in our everyday lives.

The Pope recounted two stories from the book of Genesis that describe the emergence and expansion of evil and sin across successive generations.

The first, in the first chapters of Genesis, is the story of Adam and Eve. In doubting God’s intentions “their hearts yield to the temptation of the evil one”, said the Pope. However, “the experience goes in the opposite direction”: “their eyes are opened and they discover that they are naked”.

The second, from Genesis chapter 4, is the story of Cain and Abel. “Cain is envious of his brother” and sees him as a rival, said the Pope. “Evil enters within his heart and Cain does not succeed in controlling it”, leading to his murder.

Pope Francis went on to explain that though Cain’s descendants develop “arts and crafts”, “violence develops as well”.

We too still experience the presence of wickedness in the world, said the Pope.

Pope Francis then went on to recount a third account in the Bible. He described it as one that is “less apparent, humbler and devout, that represents the redemption of hope”. It is a story involving Abel, Seth, Enoch and Noah, who acted humbly and prayed to God with sincerity.

From the Library of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father’s General Audience.

The peacemaking power of prayer

Pope Francis described these men, “who pray in the first pages of the Bible” as “peacemakers”.  He explained that when prayer is authentic, it “liberates from the instinct toward violence”. Authentic prayer is “a gaze directed toward God, so that He might return to take care of the human heart”, said the Pope, adding that “prayer cultivates flowerbeds of rebirth in places where human hatred was only capable of sowing a desert”.

Pope - Rosary - Virgin Mary
“Devoted and with one accord to prayer, together with Mary (cf. Acts 1:14)”. On this theme Pope Francis will lead the recitation of the Rosary on Saturday 30 May, joining the Marian Shrines of the world which, due to the health emergency, have had to interrupt their normal activities and pilgrimages. The Pope will once again be close to humanity in prayer, to ask the Virgin Mary for help amid the pandemic. The prayer will be broadcast live to the world from the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens at 5.30.pm Rome time.  

Prayer is a seed of life and of dialogue with God

Pope Francis then told of a story he had heard regarding a man, “a head of government” of the past who proclaimed himself an atheist.

He said “He had no religious sense in his heart,” but he remembered listening to his grandmother praying when he was a child. “At a difficult time in his life,” the Pope continued, “that memory came back to his heart and he began to pray with the words used by his grandmother.”

There, the Pope said, “he found Jesus; prayer is a chain of life”.

Taking his cue from this story he said prayer is a seed of life and that is why it is so important to teach children to pray.

Saying it gives him pain to see children who do not know how to make the sign of the cross,” the Pope urged parents to teach their children to pray: “Then, perhaps, they can forget, take another path; but that one remains in their hearts, because it is a seed of life, the seed of dialogue with God.”

Peter´s Square - Pentecostés - Pope
The Holy See Press Office said on Tuesday that the Pope will celebrate the solemnity of Pentecost on Sunday at 10am local time from St Peter’s Basilica. Immediately afterwards, at 12.00 noon, Pope Francis will resume the recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer with the faithful from the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter’s Square. Police will be on hand to guarantee safe access, taking care the faithful respect the necessary social distancing measures.

Prayer transforms a heart of stone into a heart of flesh

Pope Francis explained that for this reason throughout history, righteous men and women of prayer – often misunderstood or marginalised – have ceaselessly offered up intercession for the world, invoking God’s power to bring about healing and growth. “The world lives and grows thanks to God’s power that these servants of His attract through their prayer”, said the Pope.

He concluded his Catechesis by saying that it is through these servants of God that His path and story are “passed down to the ‘remnant’ of humanity”, who have asked that He “transform their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh”.

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