05/05/2021, 11.02
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Pope: Fruits of prayer the greatest miracle a Christian can achieve

“Those who live in big cities, where everything is artificial and functional, risk losing the ability to contemplate”, which “is not primarily a way of doing, but a way of being”. "Contemplation is a look of faith fixed on Jesus. 'I look at him and he looks at me'".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "What comes from prayer and not from the self-presumption, what is purified by humility, even if it is an act of secluded and silent love, is the greatest miracle a Christian can achieve," reflected Pope Francis this Wednesday dedicating the catechesis for the general audience to contemplative prayer.

Held once again in his private library, during the audience the Pope also recalled the Rosary of the "prayer marathon" to ask for the end of the pandemic that will be led by the shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary (Namyang), in South Korea.

“In this month of May - he said - Marian shrines all over the world are united in the recitation of the Rosary to invoke the end of the pandemic and the resumption of social and work activities. Today the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary, in South Korea, leads the prayer. We join in the prayer for the Blessed Virgin Mary, praying especially for children and adolescents”.

Previously, in his reflection, Francis stressed that "the contemplative dimension of the human being - which is not yet contemplative prayer - is a bit like the 'salt' of life: it gives flavour, gives taste to our days. You can contemplate looking at the sun that rises in the morning, or the trees that become green in spring; you can contemplate listening to music or birdsong, reading a book, in front of a work of art or that masterpiece that is the human face ... ".

But “those who live in big cities, where everything is artificial and functional, risk losing the ability to contemplate”, which “is not primarily a way of doing, but a way of being. Being contemplative does not depend on the eyes, but on the heart. And here prayer comes into play, as an act of faith and love, as the 'breath' of our relationship with God. Prayer purifies the heart and, with it, also illuminates the gaze, allowing us to grasp reality from another point of view".

In this regard, the Pope recalled, the Catechism quotes a famous testimony of the Holy Curé of Ars: "Contemplation is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus. 'I look at him and he looks at me'".

“Everything comes from there: from a heart that feels looked upon with love. Then reality is contemplated with different eyes. 'I look at him, and he looks at me!'. It is like this: in loving contemplation, typical of the most intimate prayer, many words are not needed: a glance is enough, it is enough to be convinced that our life is surrounded by a great and faithful love from which nothing can ever separate us. Jesus was the master of this gaze. In his life there has never been a lack of times, spaces, silences, the loving communion that allows existence not to be devastated by the inevitable trials, but to keep beauty intact. His secret was his relationship with Heavenly Father. Let's think about the event of the Transfiguration. The Gospels place this episode at the critical moment of Jesus' mission, when contestation and rejection grow around him. Even among his disciples many do not understand this and go away; one of the Twelve harboured thoughts of treason. Jesus begins to speak openly of the sufferings and death that await him in Jerusalem. It is in this context that Jesus climbs a high mountain with Peter, James and John. He says the Gospel of Mark: "he was transfigured before them and His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them." (9,2-3). Just at the moment when Jesus is misunderstood, just when everything seems to blur in a whirlwind of misunderstandings, that is where a divine light shines. It is the light of the Father's love, which fills the heart of the Son and transfigures the whole person of him.”

"Some masters of spirituality of the past have understood contemplation as the opposite of action, and have exalted those vocations that flee the world and its problems to devote themselves entirely to prayer. In reality, in Jesus Christ and in the Gospel there is no contrast between contemplation and action. It may have come from the influence of some Neoplatonic philosopher, but it is certainly a dualism that does not belong to the Christian message. There is one great call in the Gospel, and that is to follow Jesus on the path of love. This is the apex and the center of everything. In this sense, charity and contemplation are synonymous, they say the same thing. St. John of the Cross argued that a small act of pure love is more useful to the Church than all other works ut together ".

"Prayer - he added, in greeting to the German-speaking faithful - is not an activity to be carried out only in moments of rest, but also during our daily life as a breath of our living relationship with God".

 

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