03/20/2019, 19.10
VATICAN
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Pope: Christians do not believe in fate, but in the salvation that comes from God’s will

When we say "thy will is done" in Our Father, we are asking that God’s quest to save us be successful. " “God is not ambiguous, he is not hiding behind enigmas, he has not planned the future of the world in an indecipherable manner." The pontiff prayed for flood victims in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis held his cycle of catechesis in today’s General Audience, focusing his meditation on the third invocation, “thy will be done”. In his address, the pontiff said that “Christians should not believe in an ineluctable fate", that there is salvation and that God "can and wants to transform reality, overcoming evil with good.” When we say “thy will be done” in the Our Father we are asking that God’s quest to save us be successful.

The pope told the 20,000 people in St Peter's Square, that the invocation "thy will be done" should be read in unity with the first two - "hallowed be your name " and "your Kingdom come" - so that the whole forms a triptych. "Before man's care for the world, there is God’s tireless care for man and the world. The whole Gospel reflects this reversed perspective. The sinner Zacchaeus climbs a tree because he wants to see Jesus, but he does not know that, much earlier, God was looking for him. Jesus, when he arrives, tells him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.’ And at the end he says: ‘For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost’ (Lk 19:5-10). Here is God’s will, embodied by Jesus: seeking and saving what is lost. And we, in prayer, ask that God’s quest be successful, that his universal plan of salvation be fulfilled."

God seeks each of us, "God is not ambiguous, he is not hiding behind enigmas, he has not planned the future of the world in an indecipherable manner. If we do not understand this, we risk not understanding the meaning of the third expression of ‘Our Father’. In fact, the Bible is full of expressions that tell us of God's positive will for the world."

"So, by praying that ‘thy will be done’, we are not invited to bow our head as a serf. God wants us to be free. In fact, ‘Our Father’ is the prayer of children, not slaves, children who know the heart of their father and are certain of his plan of love. Woe to us if, pronouncing these words, bow our shoulders in surrender before a destiny that repels us and that we cannot change. On the contrary, it is a prayer full of keen trust in God who wants for us goodness, life, salvation.”

It is “a courageous prayer, even combative, because there are so many, too many realities that do not fit God's plan. We all know them. Paraphrasing the prophet Isaiah, we could say: "Here, Father, there is war, malfeasance, exploitation, but we know that you want what is good for us; for this reason, we beseech you: Thy will shall be done! Lord, subvert the plans of the world, beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. Let no one train for war again! (Isaiah: 2:4). God wants peace."

"Our Father is a prayer that kindles in us the same love Jesus has for the will of the Father, a flame that impels us to transform the world with love. Christians do not believe in an ineluctable ‘fate’. There is nothing haphazard in the faith of Christians; rather. there is a salvation that waits to manifest itself in the life of each man and woman and to be fully accomplished in eternity. If we pray it is because we believe that God is able and wants to transform reality by overcoming evil with good. It makes sense to obey and abandon oneself to this God even in the hour of the hardest trial.”

"So it was for Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he experienced anguish and prayed: ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; but not my will, but yours, be done!’ (Lk 22:42). Jesus is crushed by the evil of the world, but, full of trust, abandons himself to the ocean of love of the will of the Father. The martyrs too, in their trial, did not seek death, but sought after-death, i.e. resurrection.

“God, out of love, can lead us to walk along difficult paths, to experience painful wounds and thorns, but he will never abandon us. He will be next to me. For a believer, this is certainty rather than hope. We find the same in that parable of the Gospel of Luke dedicated to the need of always praying. Says Jesus: ‘Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them?Anchor I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily’ (Lk 18:7-8). Thus is the Lord; thus he loves us.”

At the end of the meeting, the Pope turned his attention to the people affected by “great floods [that] have sowed mourning and devastation in various areas of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. I express my pain and closeness to those dear people.”

“I entrust the many victims and their families to the mercy of God, and I implore comfort and support for those affected by this calamity”.

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