Pope Francis: Christian prayer takes courage


During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday, Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel according to Mark, in which the leper and paralytic were healed by Jesus. Pray to receive and do so with genuine faith, the Pope said, pointing out that the leper also challenged Jesus with courage. "If you want you can purify me!" he said. The Lord's answered immediately: "I want to."

This Gospel shows that everything is, "possible for those who believe," Pope Francis said.

"Always, when we approach the Lord to ask for something, we must start from faith and do it in faith: 'I have faith that you can heal me, I believe you can do this; and have the courage to challenge you, like this leper, this paralytic.' "

The Gospel, leads us to question ourselves on the way of praying the Pope said. We must not pray like "parrots." We must have interest in what we ask for, saying "if anything, we beg the Lord to "help our little faith even in the face of difficulties."

Many incidents in the Gospels show that it was difficult for those in need to approach the Lord. "The paralytic was lowered from the roof from his stretcher to reach the Lord" - that shows how one finds solutions in the midst of difficulties.

We must have courage to have faith, believing that if Jesus wishes to do something, He certainly will. "That courage … Many times, it takes patience and knowing how to wait for the moment, but do not give up, always go forward. But if I go with faith to the Lord and say: "But if you want, you can give me this grace."…

When prayer is not courageous, the Pope said, it is not Christian.

Pope Francis said the mother of St Augustine, St Monica, Pope Francis prayed and "cried a lot" for her son's conversion, and eventually she succeeded. She, among other saints, had great courage in their faith, even willingness to 'challenge' the Lord and really 'get involved,' he said.

"Christian prayer is born of faith in Jesus and always goes with faith beyond difficulties. A phrase to carry in our hearts today will help us, from our father Abraham, to whom the inheritance was promised, that is, to have a child at the age of 100. The Apostle Paul said: 'Believe' and with this he was justified..

"The Lord told us: 'Ask and it will be given to you.' We also take this Word and we trust, but always with faith and putting ourselves at stake. This is the courage that Christian prayer has. If a prayer is not courageous it is not Christian."

We must trust fully in courageous prayer, the Pope concluded.

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