05/15/2019, 14.41
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Pope: the devil "is not a myth", but tempts man and "penetrates the folds of history"

With the invocation "deliver us from evil" which is in the Our Father, "Jesus teaches his friends to put the invocation of the Father before everything, even and especially at times when the evil one makes his threatening presence felt".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The devil "is not a myth" but exists, tempts men and his presence, is "the mysterious evil, which surely is not the work of God, but which quietly penetrates the folds of history". Hence the "deliver us from evil" which is at the end of the Our Father and of which Pope Francis spoke in his catechesis at the general audience.

Continuing the cycle of reflections dedicated to the Our Father, Francis told the 20 thousand people present in St. Peter's Square on a drizzly day that with the seventh question of the 'Our Father': "But deliver us from evil" (Mt 6,13b), "one who prays not only asks not to be abandoned in the time of temptation, but also implores to be freed from evil. The original Greek verb is very strong: it evokes the presence of the Evil One, which tends to grab us and bite us (Cf. 1 Peter 5:8) and from which one asks God to be liberated.  The Apostle Peter says also that the Evil One, the devil, is around us like a roaring lion, to devour us, and we ask God to liberate us."

While touring among pilgrims on his pope mobile ahead of the audience, the Pope invited 8 children of different nationalities - including Syria, Nigeria and Congo – who arrived from Libya with the humanitarian corridor of 29 April and a boat a few months ago he said that "with this twofold supplication: “not to abandon us” and “to liberate us” an essential characteristic emerges of Christian prayer. Jesus teaches His friends to put the invocation to the Father before all, also and especially in moments in which the Evil One makes his menacing presence felt. In fact, Christian prayer doesn’t close the eyes on life. It’s a filial prayer and not an infantile prayer. It’s not so infatuated with God’s paternity as to forget that man’s path is fraught with difficulties. If the last verses of the “Our Father’ didn’t exist, how could sinners, the persecuted, the desperate, the dying pray?”

“There is an evil in our life, which is an incontestable presence. The history books are the desolating catalogue of how our existence in this world has often been a bankrupt adventure. There is a mysterious evil, which is certainly not God’s work, but which penetrates silently between history’s folds. Silent as the serpent that carries poison silently. In some moments, it seems to take over: on certain days its presence seems even clearer than that of God’s mercy.”

“A man of prayer isn’t blind, and he sees limpidly before his eyes this very cumbersome evil and so in contradiction with the mystery itself of God. He sees it in nature, in history, even in his own heart. Because there isn’t anyone in our midst who can say he is exempt from evil, or from not being at least tempted. All of us know what evil is; all of us know what temptation is; all of us have experienced temptation in our flesh, of whatever sin. However, it’s the tempter who moves us and pushes us to evil, saying to us: “do this, think this, go on that path.”

“The last cry of the “Our Father” is lashed out against this evil <that torments one>, which has under its umbrella the most diverse experiences: man’s mourning, innocent pain, slavery, instrumentalization of the other, the cry of innocent children. All these events protests in man’s heart and become a voice in the last word of Jesus’ prayer.”

“It’s precisely in the accounts of the Passion that some expressions of the “Our Father” find their most striking echo. Jesus says: “Abba! Father, all things are possible to Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt” (Mark 14:36). Jesus experiences wholly the piercing of evil, not only death but death on a cross; not only solitude but contempt <and> humiliation; not only malevolence but also cruelty, fury against Him. See what man is: a being devoted to life, who dreams of love and goodness, but who then exposes himself continually to evil and his fellow men, to the point that we can be tempted to despair of man.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, thus the “Our Father” is like a symphony that asks to be accomplished in each one of us. The Christian knows how subjugating the power of evil is and, at the same time, has the experience that Jesus, who never yielded to its blandishments, is in our side and comes to our aid.”

“From Jesus’ forgiveness on the cross flows peace, true peace comes from the cross: it’s a gift of the Risen one, a gift that Jesus gives us. Think that the Risen Jesus’ first greeting is “peace to you,” peace to your souls, to your hearts, to your lives. The Lord gives us peace, He gives us forgiveness but we must ask: “deliver us from evil,” so as not to fall into evil. This is our hope, the strength that the Risen Jesus gives us, who is here, in our midst: He is here. He is here with that strength that He gives us to go on, and He promises to free us from evil.”

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