At the Angelus, Pope Francis prays in silence and with a Hail Mary for the victims of the attacks in Ouagadougou, Barcelona, Turku. The "inner strength" of the Canaanite woman, "which allows every obstacle to be overcome ". The woman is "an example of unshakable faith". "Do not despair" if at times "the Lord ... seems insensitive to the requests for help". "The Spirit infuses boldness in the hearts of believers."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "We carry in our hearts the pain over for the terroristic attacks in recent days that have claimed numerous victims in Burkina Faso, in Spain and in Finland": this is how Pope Francis expressed himself today shortly after praying the Angelus with the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square. Several attacks have occurred in recent days: on 14 August in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), a group of terrorists entered a Turkish restaurant killing 18 people (of whom 8 were foreigners); On August 17, a group of jihadis drove a truck onto Barcelona’s Rambla leaving 13 dead and over 100 wounded of different nationalities; August 18, in Turku (Finland), a man killed two people and injured eight others (including one Italian and two Swedes). According to some witnesses, the man shouted "Allah Akhbar".
"Let us pray - said the pope - for those who died, for the wounded and for their families and let us entreat the Lord, the God of Mercy and of peace, to free the world from this inhuman violence". And after a few moments of silence, he began a Hail Mary with those present.
Earlier, the pontiff focused on the episode narrated in today's gospel (Matthew 15: 21-28) of the encounter between Jesus and the Canaanite woman who insisted on her daughter's healing.
"At first the Lord," said Francis, "does not seem to hear this cry of pain, so great that it aroused the intervention of the disciples who intercede for her. The apparent detachment of Jesus does not discourage this mother, who insists on her invocation. The inner strength of this woman, which allows every obstacle to be overcome, must be sought in her maternal love and in the confidence that Jesus can fulfil her request. We can say that it is love that moves faith and faith, for its part, becomes the prize of love. The love toward her afflicted daughter induces her to shout: 'Mercy on me, Lord, son of David!' "(V. 22). And persevering faith in Jesus allows her not to be discouraged even in the face of her initial rejection; So the woman "prostrated before him, saying," Lord, help me! "(V. 25). In the end, before such perseverance, Jesus marvels, almost astonished, by the faith of a pagan woman. So, he consents, saying: '' Woman, great is your faith! May itbe as you wish'. And from that moment her daughter was healed "(v. 28)".
"This humble woman is indicated by Jesus as an example of unshakable faith. Her insistence on invoking the intervention of Christ is for us a stimulus not to be discouraged, not to despair when we are oppressed by the hard tests of life. The Lord does not turn to the other side of our needs, and if he sometimes seems insensitive to the demands of help, it is to test and strengthen our faith. This evangelical episode helps us understand that we all need to grow in faith and strengthen our trust in Jesus. He can help us find the way when we have lost the compass of our journey; When the road does not look flat, but hard and difficult; When it is difficult to be faithful to our commitments. It is important to feed our faith daily, listening attentively to the Word of God, with the celebration of the Sacraments, with personal prayer as if "crying" toward Him, and with concrete attitudes of charity toward the neighbor. "
"Let us trust in the Holy Spirit," he concluded, "so that He will help us to persevere in the faith. The Spirit infuses audacity into the hearts of believers; Gives our life and our Christian witness the power of conviction and persuasion; Encourages us to overcome disbelief toward God and the indifference towards our brothers. May the Virgin Mary make us increasingly aware of our need for the Lord and His Spirit; May we be strengthened in the faith, full of love, and a love that can make us plead courageously with God. "