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PLEASE PRAY FREQUENTLY FOR THE SAFTEY OF OUR HOLY FATHER by Nic Haros, FBA, Administrator

Pope Frances ISISPLEASE PRAY FREQUENTLY FOR THE SAFTEY OF OUR HOLY FATHER

Just days before his scheduled visit to the Muslim-majority nation of Albania, Pope Francis is told he may be in the crosshairs of assassins from the Islamic State. Iraq’s ambassador to the Vatican warns of “credible threats” against the life of the 77-year-old pontiff.

Sadly, His Holiness is as obvious a target of ISIS Ideology as much as the World Trade Center and Pentagon have been.

nic haros,
Admin, FacebookApostles.org

MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCISFOR THE 48TH WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY

MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE 48TH WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY

article-pope-0518

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Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter

[Sunday, 1 June 2014]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we are living in a world which is growing ever “smaller” and where, as a result, it would seem to be easier for all of us to be neighbours. Developments in travel and communications technology are bringing us closer together and making us more connected, even as globalization makes us increasingly interdependent. Nonetheless, divisions, which are sometimes quite deep, continue to exist within our human family. On the global level we see a scandalous gap between the opulence of the wealthy and the utter destitution of the poor. Often we need only walk the streets of a city to see the contrast between people living on the street and the brilliant lights of the store windows. We have become so accustomed to these things that they no longer unsettle us. Our world suffers from many forms of exclusion, marginalization and poverty, to say nothing of conflicts born of a combination of economic, political, ideological, and, sadly, even religious motives.
In a world like this, media can help us to feel closer to one another, creating a sense of the unity of the human family which can in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all. Good communication helps us to grow closer, to know one another better, and ultimately, to grow in unity. The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another. We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect. A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive. Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances. The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.
This is not to say that certain problems do not exist. The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression. The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests. The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings. The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbours, from those closest to us. We should not overlook the fact that those who for whatever reason lack access to social media run the risk of being left behind.
While these drawbacks are real, they do not justify rejecting social media; rather, they remind us that communication is ultimately a human rather than technological achievement. What is it, then, that helps us, in the digital environment, to grow in humanity and mutual understanding? We need, for example, to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen. We need also to be patient if we want to understand those who are different from us. People only express themselves fully when they are not merely tolerated, but know that they are truly accepted. If we are genuinely attentive in listening to others, we will learn to look at the world with different eyes and come to appreciate the richness of human experience as manifested in different cultures and traditions. We will also learn to appreciate more fully the important values inspired by Christianity, such as the vision of the human person, the nature of marriage and the family, the proper distinction between the religious and political spheres, the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, and many others.
How, then, can communication be at the service of an authentic culture of encounter? What does it mean for us, as disciples of the Lord, to encounter others in the light of the Gospel? In spite of our own limitations and sinfulness, how do we draw truly close to one another? These questions are summed up in what a scribe – a communicator – once asked Jesus: “And who is my neighbour?” (Lk 10:29). This question can help us to see communication in terms of “neighbourliness”. We might paraphrase the question in this way: How can we be “neighbourly” in our use of the communications media and in the new environment created by digital technology? I find an answer in the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is also a parable about communication. Those who communicate, in effect, become neighbours. The Good Samaritan not only draws nearer to the man he finds half dead on the side of the road; he takes responsibility for him. Jesus shifts our understanding: it is not just about seeing the other as someone like myself, but of the ability to make myself like the other. Communication is really about realizing that we are all human beings, children of God. I like seeing this power of communication as “neighbourliness”.
Whenever communication is primarily aimed at promoting consumption or manipulating others, we are dealing with a form of violent aggression like that suffered by the man in the parable, who was beaten by robbers and left abandoned on the road. The Levite and the priest do not regard him as a neighbour, but as a stranger to be kept at a distance. In those days, it was rules of ritual purity which conditioned their response. Nowadays there is a danger that certain media so condition our responses that we fail to see our real neighbour.
It is not enough to be passersby on the digital highways, simply “connected”; connections need to grow into true encounters. We cannot live apart, closed in on ourselves. We need to love and to be loved. We need tenderness. Media strategies do not ensure beauty, goodness and truth in communication. The world of media also has to be concerned with humanity, it too is called to show tenderness. The digital world can be an environment rich in humanity; a network not of wires but of people. The impartiality of media is merely an appearance; only those who go out of themselves in their communication can become a true point of reference for others. Personal engagement is the basis of the trustworthiness of a communicator. Christian witness, thanks to the internet, can thereby reach the peripheries of human existence.
As I have frequently observed, if a choice has to be made between a bruised Church which goes out to the streets and a Church suffering from self-absorption, I certainly prefer the first. Those “streets” are the world where people live and where they can be reached, both effectively and affectively. The digital highway is one of them, a street teeming with people who are often hurting, men and women looking for salvation or hope. By means of the internet, the Christian message can reach “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Keeping the doors of our churches open also means keeping them open in the digital environment so that people, whatever their situation in life, can enter, and so that the Gospel can go out to reach everyone. We are called to show that the Church is the home of all. Are we capable of communicating the image of such a Church? Communication is a means of expressing the missionary vocation of the entire Church; today the social networks are one way to experience this call to discover the beauty of faith, the beauty of encountering Christ. In the area of communications too, we need a Church capable of bringing warmth and of stirring hearts.
Effective Christian witness is not about bombarding people with religious messages, but about our willingness to be available to others “by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence” (BENEDICT XVI, Message for the 47th World Communications Day, 2013). We need but recall the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus. We have to be able to dialogue with the men and women of today, to understand their expectations, doubts and hopes, and to bring them the Gospel, Jesus Christ himself, God incarnate, who died and rose to free us from sin and death. We are challenged to be people of depth, attentive to what is happening around us and spiritually alert. To dialogue means to believe that the “other” has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective. Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.
May the image of the Good Samaritan who tended to the wounds of the injured man by pouring oil and wine over them be our inspiration. Let our communication be a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts. May the light we bring to others not be the result of cosmetics or special effects, but rather of our being loving and merciful “neighbours” to those wounded and left on the side of the road. Let us boldly become citizens of the digital world. The Church needs to be concerned for, and present in, the world of communication, in order to dialogue with people today and to help them encounter Christ. She needs to be a Church at the side of others, capable of accompanying everyone along the way. The revolution taking place in communications media and in information technologies represents a great and thrilling challenge; may we respond to that challenge with fresh energy and imagination as we seek to share with others the beauty of God.
From the Vatican, 24 January 2014, the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales.
FRANCIS

 

On World Communication Day: Is the Internet a Gift from God? by Dr. Eugene Gan

On World Communications Day: Is the Internet a Gift from God?

Posted on 05/30/2014 by Dr. Eugene Gan

Pope_Francis_Sunday June 1, 2014 is the 48th World Communications Day in the Universal Church. Pope Francis’ message on this year’s theme, “Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter,” can be found in full here.

Pope_Francis_Holy Internet Batman! Gift from God? I thought they said Al Gore invented the Internet!
Pope Francis released a 2014 World Communications Day message saying that the Internet is “something truly good, a gift from God.” Are we looking at a media-savvy Pope? Or is this a variation of a “can’t beat ‘em so join ‘em” kind of resignation? Maybe even a new marketing angle for the Catholic Church to attract the young and tech-savvy?

I dug deeper. World Communications Day was the only official day of celebration proclaimed during a world-wide gathering of bishops and cardinals in Rome in 1963. The first World Communications Day message was released on January 24, 1967. January 24 was picked because it is the day the Catholic Church celebrates another festival: that of Saint Francis de Sales, who is acknowledged by Catholics as the patron of writers and journalists, and so a patron of the communications media. (And here we thought January 24 was significant because it was the day Apple Computers launched their first Macintosh personal computer. But that was January 24, 1984, many centuries later.)

Then there’s the question of origin regarding the “gift from God” phrase. Digging deeper still, you can find this phrase repeated multiple times throughout the Catholic Church’s more than 78 years’ worth of media documents and communiques, all conveniently Google-able online and searchable at http://www.vatican.va. You’ll find this phrase about media as “gifts from God” implicitly and explicitly expressed in all the Catholic Church’s official documents about the media, from the first document released in 1936 to today. We have to pause for a moment to consider the scene in 1936, since I bet many of you reading this aren’t old enough to remember what it was like back then. In 1936, most folks didn’t know what a television set was, let alone own one. 1936 was before Orson Welles’ broadcast of his landmark, media-shaking War of the Worlds drama that scared folks silly. And it was during a time in our history when the media was viewed suspiciously as a tool for propaganda. Despite all this, the Catholic Church held out that media is a “gift from God”.

There’s an elegant simplicity to the Pope’s 2014 message too: as much as the media connects so many of us, the media can’t magically unite us in solidarity. That’s a human task, not a technological one. Pope Francis writes: “Often we need only walk the streets of a city to see the contrast between people living on the street and the brilliant lights of the store windows. We have become so accustomed to these things that they no longer unsettle us.” Maybe it’s the visual contrast he uses or maybe it’s simply his own personal, lived experience expressed in so many words, but something about this statement is disturbingly familiar..

If we can choose to ignore the people around us, how much easier it becomes to ignore the human person behind the login name or behind the online avatar. Or the irony of how all this connectivity with people far off can cut us off from people close by.

“The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgment, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression.” Even this sentiment hits too close to home. It’s too easy to let the time slip by when we’re online. Whether at work or at play, we know we ought “to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen.” Listen to others, and listen to ourselves, sometimes to just be, for our own sanity if nothing else.

Again, the same positive message about media from the Catholic Church: “The digital world can be an environment rich in humanity; a network not of wires but of people…. As I have frequently observed, if a choice has to be made between a bruised Church which goes out to the streets and a Church suffering from self-absorption, I certainly prefer the first.” It’s not about “bombarding people with religious messages” he says, but about “patiently and respectfully” being a true friend to both that person we meet online and to Jesus Christ.

Dr. Eugene Gan is faculty associate of the Veritas Center, Professor of Interactive Media, Communications, and Fine Art at Franciscan University of Steubenville in the United States, and author of Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media (available in paperback and e-book).

– See more at: http://www.cufblog.org/on-world-communications-day-a-gift-from-god/#sthash.kO4a8yUL.dpuf

Pope Francis Named ‘Time’ Person of the Year by Sandy Fitzgerald

Image: Pope Francis Named 'Time' Person of the Year

Pope Francis Named ‘Time’ Person of the Year

Wednesday, 11 Dec 2013 08:07 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Time magazine has picked Pope Francis as its 2013 Person of the Year, with the popular pontiff beating President Barack Obama, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and several others for the top honor.

“Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly,” said Time Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs Wednesday. “In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time: about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power.”

Gibbs pointed out that the 76-year-old Pope has “no army or weapons, no kingdom beyond a tight fist of land in the middle of Rome, but with the immense wealth and weight of history behind, to throw down a challenge.”

Pope Francis: His Real Agenda May Surprise You 

The Pope’s message is also spreading to people beyond the church, said Gibbs.

“When he kisses the face of a disfigured man or washes the feet of a Muslim woman, the image resonates far beyond the boundaries of the Catholic Church,” Gibbs wrote in a piece explaining the magazine’s selection.

Story continues below video.

The former Jorge Bergoglio was selected from a short list of candidates including Syrian President Bashar Assad, Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, Obama, Cruz, gay rights activist Edith Windsor, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and entertainer Miley Cyrus, all of whom, for better or worse, made top headlines in 2013.

Snowden, Windsor, Assad, and Cruz were named as runners-up by “Time.”

Former Vice President Dick Cheney earlier this week described the shortlist as “crappy,” especially taking offense at Snowden, who he calls a traitor who should be “tried for treason.”

But Francis was chosen over all the others, for many reasons, noted Gibbs, including his powerful message of “don’t just preach; listen. Don’t scold; heal.”

The church has been weakened worldwide by scandals and corruption, said Gibbs, and in less than a year, “he has not changed the words, but he’s changed the music. Tone and temperament matter in a church built on the substance of symbols — bread and wine, body and blood — so it is a mistake to dismiss any Pope’s symbolic choices­ as gestures empty of the force of law.”

Further, Gibbs said Francis is a humble man with a sense of timing who lives in a hostel instead of the papal palace.

“He prays all the time, even while waiting for the dentist,” said Gibbs. “He has retired the papal Mercedes in favor of a scuffed-up Ford Focus. No red shoes, no gilded cross, just an iron one around his neck.”

Further, she said, Pope Francis is doing more than “modeling mercy and transparency” when he rejects privilege, calls strangers, and releases Vatican financial information for the first time.

“He is ­embracing complexity and acknowledging the risk that a church obsessed with its own rights and righteousness could inflict more wounds than it heals,” said Gibbs.

Gibbs said Francis has become “something of a rock star.”

More than 3 million people showed up to see him on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro last summer, said Gibbs, and “churches report a “Francis effect” of lapsed Catholics returning to Mass and confession.”

Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/pope-Time-man-of-year-Francis/2013/12/11/id/541181#ixzz2nBYBNARA
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Pope says early Christians a model for ‘digital age’ Church By Kerri Lenartowick

Pope says early Christians a model for ‘digital age’ Church

By Kerri Lenartowick

 
Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square Dec. 4. Credit: Kyle Burkhart / CNA.

Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 4. Credit: Kyle Burkhart / CNA.

Vatican City, Dec 7, 2013 / 11:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Today Pope Francis met with members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity who had gathered to discuss the theme, “Announcing Christ in the digital age.”

“The internet is a widespread reality, complex and in continual evolution, and its development re-proposes the ever-present question of the relationship between faith and culture,” the Pope said Dec. 7 to the participants of the council’s 26th plenary assembly.

“Already during the first centuries of Christianity, the Church wanted to face the extraordinary heritage of the Greek culture. Facing a very profound philosophy and an educational method of exceptional value, but soaked in pagan elements, the (early Christian) Fathers were not closed to debate, but on the other hand neither did they surrender to compromise with certain ideas contrary to faith,” the Pope explained.

“They knew, rather, to identify and assimilate the more elevated concepts, transforming them from the inside by the light of the Word of God.”

The pontiff linked this approach to that of St. Paul, who wrote, “examine everything and keep what is good.”

“Between the opportunities and the dangers of the network, it is necessary to ‘examine everything,’ conscious that we will find counterfeits, dangerous illusions, and snares to be avoided,” he cautioned.

“But, guided by the Holy Spirit, we will also discover precious opportunities to lead mankind to the luminous face of the Lord.”

Pope Francis then explained the challenges in digital communications faced by the Church.

“Amongst the possibilities,” he noted, “the most important regards the announcement of the gospel.” Moreover, “it’s not sufficient to acquire technological competence, although that is important.”

Rather, at the crux “it is a matter, first of all, of meeting real women and men, often injured or lost, in order to offer them real reasons for hope.”

This announcement of the gospel cannot happen apart from “authentic and direct human relationships” which then lead to “a personal meeting with the Lord.” Therefore,  concluded the Pope, “the internet is not enough, technology is not sufficient.”

“This is not to say that the presence of the Church on the internet is useless; on the contrary, it is indispensable to be present, always with evangelical style,” he noted.
It is necessary because the internet “has become for everyone, especially for youth, a kind of environment of life.” The Church’s presence there can serve “to awaken the irrepressible questions of the heart, about the meaning of life, and to indicate the way that leads to Him who is rest, the divine mercy made flesh, the Lord Jesus.”

The Pope closed his audience by thanking the members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity for their work.

“Dear friends, the Church is always in a journey, to search again for new ways to announce the gospel. The contribution and witness of the lay faithful reveals itself more every day to be indispensable.”

EVANGELII GAUDIUM by Pope Francis

Joy of the GospelAPOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
EVANGELII GAUDIUM
OF THE HOLY FATHER
FRANCIS
TO THE BISHOPS, CLERGY,
CONSECRATED PERSONS
AND THE LAY FAITHFUL
ON THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL
IN TODAY’S WORLD

INDEX

I. A JOY EVER NEW, A JOY WHICH IS SHARED [2-8]
II. THE DELIGHTFUL AND COMFORTING JOY OF EVANGELIZING [9-13]

Eternal newness [11-13]

III. THE NEW EVANGELIZATION FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF THE FAITH [14-18]

The scope and limits of this Exhortation [16-18]

CHAPTER ONE
THE CHURCH’S MISSIONARY TRANSFORMATION [19]

I. A CHURCH WHICH GOES FORTH [20-24]

Taking the first step, being involved and supportive, bearing fruit and rejoicing [24]

II. PASTORAL ACTIVITY AND CONVERSION [25-33]

An ecclesial renewal which cannot be deferred [27-33]

III. FROM THE HEART OF THE GOSPEL [34-39]

IV. A MISSION EMBODIED WITHIN HUMAN LIMITS [40-45]

V. A MOTHER WITH AN OPEN HEART [46-49]

CHAPTER TWO
AMID THE CRISIS OF COMMUNAL COMMITMENT [50-51]

I. SOME CHALLENGES OF TODAY’S WORLD [52-75]

No to an economy of exclusion [53-54]
No to the new idolatry of money
 [55-56]
No to a financial system which rules rather than serves
 [57-58]
No to the inequality which spawns violence
 [59-60]
Some cultural challenges
 [61-67]
Challenges to inculturating the faith
 [68-70]
Challenges from urban cultures
 [71-75]

II. TEMPTATIONS FACED BY PASTORAL WORKERS [76-109]

Yes to the challenge of a missionary spirituality [78-80]
No to selfishness and spiritual sloth
 [81-83]
No to a sterile pessimism
 [84-86]
Yes to the new relationships brought by Christ
 [87-92]
No to spiritual worldliness
 [93-97]
No to warring among ourselves
 [98-101]
Other ecclesial challenges
 [102-109]

CHAPTER THREE
THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL [110]

I. THE ENTIRE PEOPLE OF GOD PROCLAIMS THE GOSPEL [111-134]

A people for everyone [112-114]
A people of many faces
 [115-118]
We are all missionary disciples
 [119-121]
The evangelizing power of popular piety
 [122-126]
Person to person
 [127-129]
Charisms at the service of a communion which evangelizes
 [130-131]
Culture, thought and education
 [132-134]

II. THE HOMILY [135-144]

The liturgical context [137-138]
A mother’s conversation
 [139-141]
Words which set hearts on fire
 [142-144]

III. PREPARING TO PREACH [145-159]

Reverence for truth [146-148]
Personalizing the word
 [149-151]
Spiritual reading
 [152-153]
An ear to the people
 [154-155]
Homiletic resources
 [156-159]

IV. EVANGELIZATION AND THE DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF THE KERYGMA [160- 175]

Kerygmatic and mystagogical catechesis [163-168]
Personal accompaniment in processes of growth
 [169-173]
Centred on the word of God
 [174-175]

CHAPTER FOUR
THE SOCIAL DIMENSION OF EVANGELIZATION [176]

I. COMMUNAL AND SOCIETAL REPERCUSSIONS OF THE KERYGMA [177-185]

Confession of faith and commitment to society [178-179]
The kingdom and its challenge
 [180-181]
The Church’s teaching on social questions
 [182-185]

II. THE INCLUSION OF THE POOR IN SOCIETY [186-216]

In union with God, we hear a plea [187-192]
Fidelity to the Gospel, lest we run in vain
 [193-196]
The special place of the poor in God’s people 
[197-201]
The economy and the distribution of income
 [202-208]
Concern for the vulnerable
 [209-216]

III. THE COMMON GOOD AND PEACE IN SOCIETY [217-237]

Time is greater than space [222-225]
Unity prevails over conflict
 [226-230]
Realities are more important than ideas
 [231-233]
The whole is greater than the part
 [234-237]

IV. SOCIAL DIALOGUE AS A CONTRIBUTION TO PEACE [238-258]

Dialogue between faith, reason and science [242-243]
Ecumenical dialogue
 [244-246]
Relations with Judaism
 [247-249]
Interreligious dialogue
 [250-254]
Social dialogue in a context of religious freedom
 [255-258]

CHAPTER FIVE
SPIRIT-FILLED EVANGELIZERS [259-261]

I. REASONS FOR A RENEWED MISSIONARY IMPULSE [262-283]

Personal encounter with the saving love of Jesus [264-267]
The spiritual savour of being a people
 [268-274]
The mysterious working of the risen Christ and his Spirit
 [275-280]
The missionary power of intercessory prayer
 [281-283]

II. MARY, MOTHER OF EVANGELIZATION [284-288]

Jesus’ gift to his people [285-286]
Star of the new evangelization
 [287-288]


1. THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.

I. A JOY EVER NEW, A JOY WHICH IS SHARED

2. The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.

Continue reading

Pope Francis: We Receive God Himself When We Pray Courageously

Pope Francis: we receive God Himself when we pray courageously

2013-10-10 Vatican Radio

In prayer we must be courageous and discover the true grace that is given us: God Himself. That was the Pope’s message at Thursday’s morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta.
At the heart of the homily was Jesus’ insistence, in the day’s Gospel, that we pray with trusting insistence. The parable of the importunate friend, the friend who obtains what he desires thanks to his insistence, gave Pope Francis the opportunity to reflect on the quality of our prayer:

“This makes us think, in our prayer: how do we pray? Do we pray like this, out of habit, piously but unbothered, or do we put ourselves forward with courage before the Lord to ask for the grace, to ask for what we’re praying for? Courage in prayer: a prayer that is not courageous is not a real prayer. The courage to trust that the Lord listens to us, the courage to knock on the door . . . The Lord says: ‘For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.’ But you have to ask, seek, and knock.”

“Do we get ourselves involved in prayer,” the Pope asked. “Do we know to knock at the heart of God?” In the Gospel Jesus says, “If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” This, the Pope said, “is a great thing”:

“When we pray courageously, the Lord gives us the grace, but He also gives us Himself in the grace: the Holy Spirit, that is, Himself! The Lord never gives or sends a grace by mail: never! He brings it Himself! What we ask for is a little bit like [laughing] . . . it is the envelope that grace is wrapped in. But the true grace is Him, Who comes to bring it to me. It’s Him. Our prayer, if it is courageous, receives what it asks for, but also that which is more important: the Lord.”

In the Gospel, the Pope noted, “some people receive the grace and then go away”: of the ten lepers healed by Jesus, only once returned to thank him. Even the blind man of Jericho found the Lord in the healing, and praised God. But we must pray “with the courage of faith” Pope Francis insisted, prompting us to ask even for those things that prayer does not dare hope for — that is, God Himself:

“We ask for a grace, but we don’t dare say, ‘But come Yourself to bring it to me.’ We know that a grace is always brought by Him: It is He Himself who comes and brings it to us. Let us not embarrass ourselves by taking the grace and not recognizing Him who brings it to us, Him who gives it to us: The Lord. That the Lord may give us the grace of giving us Himself, always, in every grace. And that we might recognize Him, and that we might praise Him as did the sick people in the Gospel who were healed. So that, in that grace, we might find the Lord.”
listen to Christopher Wells’ report: 

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