Francis urges faithful to respect the measures adopted against coronavirus contagion. “I would like to, as I usually do, walk among you and greet you, but with the new measures, it is better to keep our distance. You are at a prudent distance, as should be done”. And reiterating the importance of using all the precautions, which allow us to move forward with the audiences “, he concluded by reiterating that “if we all, as good citizens, comply with the measures enacted by the authorities, we will help to end this pandemic”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – For the first time, Pope Francis arrived in the Paul VI Hall – where the general audience was held – walking along the central corridor, but without greeting the faithful, due to the measures in place for the health emergency in progress.
And at the end of the audience he himself explained: ” I would like to, as I usually do, walk among you and greet you, but with the new measures, it is better to keep our distance. Also, I greet the sick from my heart from here. You are at a prudent distance, as should be done.” And reiterating the importance of using all the precautions, which allow us to move forward with the hearings “, he concluded by reiterating that “if we all, as good citizens, comply with the measures enacted by the authorities, we will help to end this pandemic “.
Previously, in the catechesis, Francis had spoken of prayer, in particular of that expressed in the Psalms. “Everyone – he said among other things – suffers in this world: whether you believe in God or reject him”. But in the Psalms “pain becomes a relationship: a cry for help waiting to intercept an ear that listens. It cannot remain meaningless, without purpose. Even the pains we suffer cannot be just specific cases of a universal law: they are always ‘my’ tears, which no one has ever shed before me. All the pains of men are sacred to God”.
The Book of Psalms, he continued, ” communicates “knowing how to pray” through the experience of dialogue with God. In the Psalms we find all human sentiments: the joys, the sorrows, the doubts, the hopes, the bitterness that colour our lives. The Catechism affirms that every Psalm “possesses such direct simplicity that it can be prayed in truth by men of all times and conditions” (CCC, 2588). As we read and reread the Psalms, we learn the language of prayer. God the Father, indeed, with His Spirit, inspired them in the heart of King David and others who prayed, in order to teach every man and woman how to praise Him, to thank Him, to supplicate; how to invoke Him in joy and in suffering, and how to recount the wonders of His works and of His Law.”
“In short, the Psalms are the word of God that we human beings use to speak with Him. In this book we do not encounter ethereal, abstract people, those who confuse prayer with an aesthetic or alienating experience.”. “To pray well we must pray as we are, not make up our souls to pray”. “To go before the Lord as we are, with the beautiful things and also with the ugly things that no one knows, but we know inside”. In the Psalms “In them we hear the voices of men and women of prayer in flesh and blood, whose life, like that of us all, is fraught with problems, hardships and uncertainties. The Psalmist does not radically contest this suffering: he knows that it is part of living.” In the Psalms, however, suffering is transformed into a question. Among the many questions, there is one that remains suspended, like an incessant cry that runs throughout the entire book from beginning to end: “Until when?” Every suffering calls for liberation, every tear calls for consolation, every wound awaits healing, every slander a sentence of absolution.”
“By constantly asking such questions, the Psalms teach us not to get used to pain, and remind us that life is not saved unless it is healed. The existence of each human being is but a breath, his or her story is fleeting, but the prayerful know that they are precious in the eyes of God, and so it makes sense to cry out. The prayer of the Psalms asks God to intervene where all human efforts are in vain. That is why prayer, in and of itself, is the way of salvation and the beginning of salvation. Everyone suffers in this world: whether they believe in God or reject Him. But in the Psalter, pain becomes a relationship: a cry for help waiting to intercept a listening ear. It cannot remain meaningless, without purpose. Even the pains we suffer cannot be merely specific cases of a universal law: they are always “my” tears, which no one has ever shed before me. All human pains for God are sacred.”
“Before God we are not strangers, or numbers. We are faces and hearts, known one by one, by name. In the Psalms, the believer finds an answer. He knows that even if all human doors were barred, God’s door is open. Even if the whole world had issued a verdict of condemnation, there is salvation in God. “The Lord listens”: sometimes in prayer it is enough to know this. Problems are not always solved. Those who pray are not deluded: they know that many questions of life down here remain unresolved, with no way out; suffering will accompany us and, after one battle, others will await us. But if we are listened to, everything becomes more bearable. The worst thing that can happen is to suffer in abandonment, without being remembered. From this prayer saves us. Because it can happen, and even often, that we do not understand God’s plans. But our cries do not stagnate down here: they rise up to Him, He who has the heart of a Father, and who cries Himself for every son and daughter who suffers and dies. If we maintain our relationship with Him, life does not spare us suffering, but we open up to a great horizon of goodness and set out towards its fulfilment”.