Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The prayer of the faithful changes the Church: it is not we, the popes, bishops, priests" who "carry the Church", rather “it is the Saints”, said Pope Francis today during mass in Casa Santa Marta. He was commenting on the passage from Book of Samuel that recounts Hannah's prayer – her pleading in tears for God to give her a child - while the priest Eli watches distractedly from afar, sitting on a temple seat.
The scene first describes Hannah’s heartfelt plea and then the thoughts of the priest, who not being able to hear anything grumbles with malevolent superficiality about the woman’s mute whispering: he dismisses her as "a drunk." But, as would come to pass, her bitter weeping results in the miracle she sought from God. "Hannah was praying in her heart, and only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. This is the courage of a woman of faith with her grief, with her tears, she asks the Lord's grace. There are so many good women like this in the Church, so many ! Who go to pray as if placing a bet... Just think of the great Saint Monica, who with her tears succeeded in obtaining the grace of conversion for her son, Saint Augustin. There are so many. "
As for Eli, the priest, he is "a poor man" said Francis, towards whom we can feel "a certain sympathy" because "I find similar faults in me that draw me to him and help me to understand him well". "How easily we judge people, how easily we lack the respect to say: 'What is in his heart? I do not know, but I will say nothing ... '". When we "lack a compassionate heart, we always think the worst (of others)" and do not understand those who pray "with pain and anguish" and "entrust that pain and anguish to the Lord." "Jesus knew this prayer in the Garden of Olives, when he was in so much anguish and pain that he sweat blood. He did not blame his Father: 'Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will. And Jesus responded the same way as this woman: with meekness. Sometimes, we pray, we ask God for things, but often we do not know how to wrestle with the Lord, to the point of tears, to ask, ask for grace".
The Pope recalled again the story of the man of Buenos Aires, with 9 year old daughter hospitalized dying, who went out at night to the shrine of the Virgin of Luján and spent the night clinging to the gate of the shrine to seek the grace of healing . And the next morning, when he returned to the hospital, his daughter was healed. "Prayer works wonders. It works wonders for Christians, be they lay faithful, priests, bishops who lost their devotion pity. The prayer of the faithful changes the Church: it is not we, the popes, bishops, priests, nuns to carry the Church, no it is the saints! And the saints are like this woman. The saints are those who dare to believe that God is Lord and He can do everything".