"The hope of the world lies completely in the blessing of God" who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. The 4 sisters killed in El Salvador 40 years ago "lived their faith with great generosity: they are an example for all to become faithful missionary disciples".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The hope of the world lies entirely in God’s blessing " who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. “God did not wait for us to convert ourselves before beginning to love us, but He loved us a long time before, when we were still in sin. We cannot but only bless this God who blesses us.”
Blessing as an "essential dimension of prayer" was the topic of Pope Francis’ general audience, again held today in the library of the Apostolic Palace.
At the end of the audience, the Pope mentioned last Saturday’s massacre in Nigeria - with over 140 victims including many children. He prayed: "God convert the hearts of those who commit such horrors, which seriously offends Your name".
He also recalled the four missionaries murdered in Salvador exactly 40 years ago. “They served in El Salvador in the context of the civil war. They brought food and medicines to the displaced and helped the poorest families. These women lived their faith with great generosity: they are an example for all to become faithful missionary disciples”.
Previously, continuing the cycle of catechesis on prayer, Francis recalled that “On the first pages of the Bible, there is a continual repetition of blessings. God blesses, but men give blessings as well, and soon they discover that the blessing possesses a special power that accompanies the person who receives it throughout his or her entire life, and disposes the person’s heart to allow God to change it (see Second Vatican Council Const. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 61).
"Shortly thereafter, the beauty that God had imprinted within His work will be altered, and the human being will become a degenerate creature, capable of spreading evil and death in the world; but nothing will ever take away the original imprint of goodness that God placed within. God did not make a mistake with creation nor with the creation of man".
And " There is no sin that can completely erase the image of Christ present in each one of us. Sin can disfigure it, but not remove it from God’s mercy. A sinner can remain in error for a long time, but God is patient till the end, hoping that the sinner’s heart will eventually open and change. God is like a good father and a good mother: they never stop loving their child, no matter what he or she may have done wrong.” “What an impressive experience it is to read these biblical texts of blessing in a prison, or in a rehabilitation group. To allow these people to hear that they are still blessed, notwithstanding their grave errors, that the heavenly Father continues to desire their good and to hope that they will open themselves in the end to the good. Even if their closest relatives have abandoned them, since they by now judge them to be irredeemable, they are always children to God.”
“Sometimes miracles are seen happening: men and women being reborn. Because God's grace changes life: it takes us as we are, but never leaves us as we are. Let us think of what Jesus did with Zacchaeus (cf. Lk 19: 1-10). Everyone saw evil in him; Instead, Jesus sees a glimmer of good in it, and from there, from his curiosity to see Jesus, he lets the mercy that saves pass. Thus, first Zacchaeus' heart and then life changed. In rejected and rejected people, Jesus saw the Father's indelible blessing. Hence his compassion, that phrase that is found so many times. 'Took pity on him' ". “Moreover, he came to identify himself with every person in need (cf. Mt 25: 31-46). To God who blesses, we too respond by blessing: it is the prayer of praise, adoration, thanksgiving”.
“To the God who blesses, we, too, respond by blessing: through the prayer of praise, of adoration, of thanksgiving. The Catechism writes: “The prayer of blessing is man's response to God's gifts: because God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing” (n. 2626). Prayer is joy and awareness. God did not wait for us to convert ourselves before beginning to love us, but He loved us a long time before, when we were still in sin. We cannot but only bless this God who blesses us. The Father loves us. The only thing that remains for us is the joy of blessing Him, and of thanking Him, and of learning from Him not to curse, but to bless.”