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Courageous Prayer

Thursday, 10 October 2013


(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 42, 18 October 2013)


On Thursday morning, 10 October, Pope Francis commented on the Gospel of the day taken from the evangelist Luke (11:5-13), in which the Lord teaches his disciples the importance of persistent prayer.

Pope Francis called the passage the “parable of the of the intrusive, importune friend” who goes by night to ask his friend for bread for another friend who had just arrived at his home, for he had nothing to give him.

Pope Francis said: “Jesus speaks to us about this on another occasion: in the parable of the widow who went day after day to to the corrupt judge who wouldn't listen to her, and who didn't want to listen to her ... she was so importune, she pestered him so much that finally, for the sake of getting rid of her, he gave her justice, he gave her what she was asking for”.

The Pope suggested we reflect on our own prayer: “How do we pray? Do we pray piously and calmly out of habit or do we place ourselves courageously before the Lord to ask for grace, to ask for what we are praying for?”. Our attitude is so important, he explained, for “prayer that is not courageous is not real prayer”. When we pray, we need “the courage to trust that the Lord is listening to us, we need the courage to knock at the door... The Lord himself says: ‘everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened’”. Pope Francis asked: “Do we get involved in prayer? Do we know how to knock at the door of God's heart?”.

In reply he turned to the conclusion of the day's Gospel. “Jesus tells us: ‘What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give ...’ — the Pope paused and said — “and then we expect to hear he will give good things to you. But no,” he continued, “he doesn't say that! He says that he will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! And this is tremendous”.

“When we pray courageously the Lord not only gives us grace; he gives us his very self in the grace,” for “the Lord never gives or sends a grace by post: he brings it himself, he is grace!”

Pope Francis concluded: “Today in collect of the Mass we ask the Lord to give us even that for which we do not know how to ask. And what is that that we don't know how to ask for? For him! We ask for a grace, but we do not know how to say to him: come and bring it to me. We know that he always brings a grace; he comes and gives it to us. Let us not make the mistake of accepting the grace without acknowledging that the one who brings it, the one who gives it to us, is the Lord”.


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