“When we pray, we never do it alone: even if we don't think about it, we are immersed in a majestic river of invocations that precedes us and continues after us”. Francis recalled "in prayer the victims of the floods that hit Indonesia and East Timor in recent days". Vatican Athletics continue in their commitment to "spreading the culture of fraternity in the sports field".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "In the Church there is no mourning that alone, there is no tear that is shed into oblivion, because everything breathes and shares a communal grace".
Pope Francis dedicated today's general audience to the theme "Praying in communion with the saints", for which "when we pray, we never do it alone: even if we do not think about it, we are immersed in a majestic river of invocations that precedes us and continues after us”.
At the end of the audience streamed from the private library, Francis wished to remember "in prayer the victims of the floods that hit Indonesia and East Timor in recent days". “May the Lord - he continued - welcome the dead, comfort their families and support those who have lost their homes”.
Prayers, the Pope underlined, "are 'boundless', they propagate continuously, with or without messages on 'social networks': from hospital wards, from moments of festive gathering to those in which one suffers in silence ... of each is the pain of all, and the happiness of someone is poured into the soul of others. Pain and happiness, stories that become the history of one's life.”
“Prayers - he continued - are always reborn: every time we join our hands and open our hearts to God, we find ourselves in a company of anonymous saints and recognized saints who pray with us, and who intercede for us, like older brothers and sisters who passed through our own human adventure ".
And the fact that once the burials were next to the churches almost meant “that in every Eucharist the ranks of those who preceded us participate in some way. There are our parents and our grandparents, there are godparents and godmothers, there are catechists and other educators…”.
“The saints are still here, not far from us; and their representations in churches evoke that 'cloud of witnesses' that always surrounds us (cf. Heb 12: 1). They are witnesses that we do not adore - of course - but that we venerate with our memory and who in a thousand different ways refer us to Jesus Christ, the only Lord and Mediator between God and man. A saint who does not refer to Jesus Christ is not a saint”.
The saints, he continued, “remind us that even in our life, even if weak and marked by sin, holiness can blossom. Indeed, at the last moment. It is no coincidence that in the Gospels we read that the first canonized saint was a thief, canonized not by a pope, but by Jesus. It is never too late to convert to the Lord, who is good and great in love (cf. Ps 102: 8 ). The Catechism explains that the saints "contemplate God, praise him and do not cease to take care of those they have left on earth. […] Their intercession is the highest service they render to God's plan. We can and must ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world "(CCC, 2683). In Christ there is a mysterious solidarity between those who have passed into the other life and we pilgrims in this one: our deceased loved ones continue to take care of us from Heaven. They pray for us and we pray with them. We already experience this bond of prayer here, in earthly life: we pray for each other, we ask and offer prayers ... The first way to pray for someone is to speak to God about him or her. If we do this frequently, every day, our heart does not close, it remains open to the brothers. Praying for others is the first way to love them and pushes us to concrete closeness. Even in times of conflict”.
“The first way to face a time of distress is to ask the brothers, especially the saints, to pray for us. The name we were given in Baptism is not a label or a decoration! It is usually the name of the Virgin, of a Saint who are waiting for nothing more than to 'give us a hand' to obtain the graces we need most from God. If in our life the trials have not exceeded their limits, if we are still capable of perseverance, if in spite of everything we go forward with confidence, perhaps all this, more than to our merits, is due to the intercession of so many saints, some in Heaven, other pilgrims like us on earth, who have protected and accompanied us. Because we all know that here on earth there are saints, everyday saints, saints next door, who live with us, work with us. Therefore blessed be Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of the world, together with this immense flowering of saints and saints, who populate the earth and who have made their lives a praise to God ”.
At the end of the audience, recalling that the International Day for Sport, Development and Peace was celebrated yesterday, Francis invited us to "spread the culture of fraternity in the sports field". "I hope - he added - that it will relaunch the experience of sport as a team event, to foster solidarity dialogue between different peoples’ cultures". "I am pleased to encourage Vatican Athletics - he concluded - to continue in the commitment to spread the culture of fraternity in the sports field, paying close attention to the most fragile people and thus becoming a witness of peace".