In his third catechesis on prayer, Pope Francis reflects on the biblical account of creation and the trials of the people of Israel.
Seeing the goodness and beauty of all creation, Pope Francis says one is led to contemplate the mystery of life and existence, and ask: “what loving plan must there be behind such ponderous work?”
The Pope notes that we often experience difficult times, like the people of Israel, yet reflecting on the wonder of creation can return us to God. “If life’s events, with all their bitterness, sometimes risk choking the gift of prayer that is within us, it is enough to contemplate a starry sky, a sunset, a flower…, in order to rekindle a spark of thanksgiving.”
“Prayer is the first strength of hope. You pray and hope grows, it moves forward. I would say that prayer opens the door to hope. There is hope but I open the door with my prayer. Because people of prayer safeguard basic truths; they are the ones who repeat, first and foremost to themselves and then to all the others, that this life, despite all its toils and trials, despite its difficult days, is full of a grace that is awe inspiring.”
Pope Francis invites us to meditate on Psalm 8. “When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him?” (vv. 3-4) Yet the Psalm goes on to state that we are made little less than God; we are crowned with glory and honor (cf. 8:6).
“This life is the gift that God gave us: and it is too short to consume it in sadness, in bitterness. Let us praise God, happy to simply exist. Let us look at the universe, let us look at beauty and let us also look at our crosses and say: ‘You exist, you made us like this, for you’. May the Lord make us understand this ever more deeply and lead us to say “thank you”; and that “thank you” is a beautiful prayer.”
(Did you miss the previous posts on the Pope’s catechesis? Click here.)