10/21/2020, 12.05
VATICAN
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Pope: it is practical atheism to deny the divine image that is in every human being

The missionary month of October "represents an urgent invitation for Christians to all feel responsible in furthering the Kingdom of God". The Psalms a "school of encounter with God and of responsibility alongside the poor and the weak".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Prayer is "the fundamental reality of life", it is "the centre of life. If there is prayer, even the brother, the sister, becomes important". "God cannot bear the 'atheism' of those who deny the divine image that is imprinted in every human being. This is practical atheism. Not recognizing it is a sacrilege, it is an abomination”.

The figure of the "wicked", the one who lives as if God did not exist was at the centre of Pope Francis’ last general audience dedicated to the Psalms, which he described as a "school of encounter with God and of responsibility alongside the poor and weak".

Again today, at the beginning of the audience, Francis "apologized" to the thousands of people present in the Paul VI hall, "because of the coronavirus I am a bit distant and I cannot get close to you as I always do". He explained, “if I do as I always do, you hug me. It is dangerous for you ". Then, taking a cue from what was happening in the hall, he praised a mother who was breastfeeding a baby to keep the infant from crying, saying it was good and "never make a baby cry in church".

Speaking of the Psalms, Francis stressed that "a negative figure often appears, that of the wicked ", he or she who lives as if God did not exist. It is the person without any reference to the transcendent, without any restraint on their arrogance, who is not afraid of judgments on what they think and what they do". Prayer, on the other hand, "is the salvation of the human being. Of course, there is also a bogus prayer, a prayer made only to be admired by others. Like those who go to mass to show that they are Catholics, or the latest purchase they made ".

"When we pray, everything gains 'weight'. The worst service that can be rendered, to God and also to man, is to pray wearily, in a habitual way. Like parrots. No. Prayer is the center of life. If there is prayer, even the brother, the sister, becomes important. An ancient saying of the first Christian monks says: "Blessed is the monk who, after God, considers all men as God" (Evagrio Pontico, Treatise on prayer, n. 123). Whoever worships God loves his children. Whoever respects God respects human beings. For this reason, prayer is not a sedative to alleviate the anxieties of life; or, in any case, such a prayer is certainly not Christian. Rather, prayer makes each of us responsible "because" the reference to the absolute and the transcendent is what makes us fully human, it is the limit that saves us from ourselves, preventing us from pouncing on this life in a predatory and voracious way ".

"In short, where there is God, there must also be man. Sacred Scripture is categorical: “We love because He first loved us. He always goes before us. He is always waiting for us”. "If someone says: 'I love God' and hates his brother, he is a liar. Indeed, whoever does not love his brother whom he sees cannot love God whom he does not see. If you pray many Rosaries a day, but then gossip, you have a grudge, that is not praying. And this is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother" (1 Jn 4: 19-21)".

In his greetings, the Pope repeatedly recalled that October is the missionary month. Speaking to German faithful he said the month “reminds us that the world must always be present in prayer. The first mission is prayer, our relationship with the Lord, which makes the commitment to the Gospel and the salvation of human persons, especially the poor, fruitful".

The missionary month, he told the Italian-speaking faithful, "represents an urgent invitation for Christians to all feel responsible for spreading the Kingdom of God. Be courageous in proclaiming the Gospel message with words and example, in every environment".

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