Pope at Mass: true prayer takes us out of ourselves

2013-05-11 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) True prayer brings us out of ourselves: it opens us to the Father and to the neediest of our brothers and sisters. This was a central part of Pope Francis’ message to the faithful gathered for Mass on Saturday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence at the Vatican, with agents of the Vatican Gendarmerie and a group of Argentine journalists with their families in attendance.

The Pope's homily focused on the day's Gospel reading, in which Jesus says, “[I]f you ask the Father any thing in my name, he will give it you.” Discussing Jesus’ words, Pope Francis said, “There's something new here, something that changes: it is a novelty in prayer. The Father will give us everything, but always in the name of Jesus.” The Lord ascends to the Father, enters “the heavenly Sanctuary,” opens doors and leaves them open because “He Himself is the door,” and “intercedes for us,” as priest, even, “until the end of the world”:

He prays for us before the Father. I always liked that. Jesus, in His resurrection, had a beautiful body: the cuts of the scourging and the crown of thorns are gone, all of them. His bruises from the beatings are healed and gone. But He wanted always to keep His wounds [in His hands, His feet and His side], for those wounds are precisely His prayer of intercession to the Father. [It is as if Jesus were saying,] ‘But ... look,’ ... this person is asking you this thing in My name, look.’ This is the novelty that Jesus announces to us. He tells us this new thing: to trust in His passion, to trust in His victory over death, to trust in His wounds. He is the priest and this is the sacrifice: his wounds - and this gives us confidence, gives us courage to pray.”

The Pope noted the many times that we get bored in prayer, adding that prayer is not asking for this or that, but it is “the intercession of Jesus, who before the Father bares His wounds for the Father to see:

“Prayer to the Father in the name of Jesus brings us out of ourselves. The prayer that bores us is always within ourselves, as a thought that comes and goes. But true prayer is the turning out of ourselves [and] to the Father in the name of Jesus: [true prayer] is an exodus from ourselves.”

Pope Francis goes on to ask how we can “recognize the wounds of Jesus in heaven,” and, “where the school is,” at which one learns to recognize the wounds of Jesus, these wounds of priestly intercession? Pope Francs said that there there is another exodus out of ourselves, and toward the wounds of our brothers, our brothers and our sisters in need:

“If we are not able to move out of ourselves and toward our brother in need, to the sick, the ignorant, the poor, the exploited – if we are not able to accomplish this exodus from ourselves, and towards those wounds, we shall never learn that freedom, which carries us through that other exodus from ourselves, and toward the wounds of Jesus. There are two exits from ourselves: one to the wounds of Jesus, the other to the wounds of our brothers and sisters. And this is the way that Jesus wants [there to be] in our prayer.”

“This,” concluded Pope Francis, “is the new way to pray: with the confidence, the courage that allows us to know that Jesus is before the Father, showing the Father His wounds, but also with the humility of those who go to learn to recognize, to find the wounds of Jesus in his needy brothers and sisters,” who, “carry the cross and still have not won, as Jesus has.”