Source: Vatican News
During the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis focused on the story of King David, and the importance of prayer in all our lives.
The Pope said David was favoured by God even from his youth, and chosen for a unique mission "that would play a central role in the history of the people of God and in our own faith. "
"Jesus is called 'son of David' and fulfilled the ancient promises of "a King completely after God's heart, in perfect obedience to the Father."
David's own story, said Pope Francis, began in Bethlehem, where he shepherded his father's flock, Pope Francis said: "He worked in the open air: we can think of him as a friend of the wind, of the sounds of nature, of the sun's rays."
"He defends others from danger and provides for their sustenance. Echoing this, Jesus called Himself 'the good shepherd', who "offers His life on behalf of the sheep. He guides them; He knows each one by name."
Later in life, when David went astray by having a man killed in order to take his wife, he immediately understood his sin when the prophet Nathan reproves him.
"David understood right away that he had been a bad shepherd," said the Pope, "that he was no longer a humble servant, but a man who was crazy for power, a poacher who looted and preyed on others."
Pope Francis went on to reflect on what he called David's "poet's soul", saying: "He had only one companion to comfort his soul: his harp; and during those long days spent in solitude, he loved to play and to sing to his God."
David, said the Pope, was not a vulgar man. He often raised hymns to God, whether to express his joy, lamentation, or repentance.
"The world that presented itself before his eyes was not a silent scene: as things unraveled before his gaze he observed a greater mystery."
Prayer, said Pope Francis, arises from "the conviction that life is not something that takes us by surprise, but a mystery that inspires poetry, music, gratitude, praise, even lament and supplication in us."
Biblical tradition, he noted, holds that David was the great artist behind the composition of the Psalms.
David, said the Pope, dreamed of being a good shepherd. He was many things: "holy and sinful, persecuted and persecutor, victim and murderer."
Like him, events in our own lives reveal us in a similar light. "In the drama of life, all people often sin because of inconsistency."
Pope Francis said that, like David, there is one golden thread that runs through all our lives: prayer.
"David teaches us to let everything enter into dialogue with God: joy as well as guilt, love as well as suffering, friendship as much as sickness," he said. "Everything can become a word spoken to the 'You' who always listens to us."
David, concluded Pope Francis, knew solitude but "was in reality never alone! .. This is the power of prayer in all those who make space for it in their lives," he said. "Prayer makes us noble: it is capable of securing their relationship with God who is the true Companion on the journey of every man and woman, in the midst of life's thousand adversities."
At the end of the audience Pope Francis said he was praying for those affected by the 7.4-magnitude earthquake which struck Mexico's southern Oaxaca state on Tuesday morning. At least five people were killed and many buildings were damaged by the tremors. the quake was felt more than 400 miles away in Mexico City. The earthquake's epicentre was just east of Huatulco, one of Mexico's top tourist destinations.
The Pope said: "Yesterday a violent earthquake struck southern Mexico, causing several victims, injuries, and enormous damage. Let us pray for all of them. May they find strength and support in the help of God and their brothers and sisters."
"Brothers and sisters," he said, "I am very close to you."
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