Pope: prayer is never an evasion from the hardships of life, from reality
A Christian's mission, Francis said at the Angelus, is "ignite little lights in people's hearts; be little lamps of the Gospel that bring a little love and hope ". In Lent a "fast" from gossip. A prayer for children suffering from rare diseases.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - “Prayer is never an evasion of life's trials; the light of faith is not needed for a beautiful spiritual emotion ”, nor to flee from reality, because the Christian's mission is“ to be little lamps of the Gospel," said Pope Francis before today's Angelus prayer.
The Pope was commenting on the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus in today's Gospel speaks, which urges us to go beyond our fixed patterns and "look at the beauty of the Risen One" even in times of difficulty, but at the same time warns us to "guard against spiritual laziness".
To a thousand people present in St. Peter's Square for the recitation of the Marian prayer, Francis also addressed the invitation to "fast" from gossiping, from chattering. “I advise you - his words - a fast, a fast that will not make you hungry: fast from gossip and slander. It is a special path. In this Lent I will not gossip about others, I will not chatter ... And we can all do this, all of us. This is a good form of fasting”.
“The second Sunday of Lent - he said - invites us to contemplate the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain, in front of three of his disciples (cf. Mk 9: 2-10). Shortly before, Jesus had announced that, in Jerusalem, he would suffer a lot, he would be rejected and put to death. We can imagine what must have happened then in the hearts of his closest friends: the image of a strong and triumphant Messiah is thrown into crisis, their dreams are shattered, and anguish assails them at the thought that the Master in which they had believed he would be killed like the worst of evildoers. It is precisely at that moment, with that anguish in his soul, that Jesus calls Peter, James and John and takes them with him to the mountain ".
“Here, He is transfigured before them. His radiant face and his shining robes, which anticipate the image of him as the Risen One, offer those frightened men the light of hope to cross the darkness: death will not be the end of everything, because it will open to the glory of the Resurrection " .
"As the apostle Peter exclaimed (cf. v. 5) at that moment, it is beautiful to stay with the Lord on the mountain, to experience this 'anticipation' of light in the heart of Lent. It is an invitation to remind us, especially when we are going through a difficult trial, that the Lord is Risen and does not allow the dark to have the last word. Sometimes it happens to go through moments of darkness in personal, family or social life, and to fear that there is no way out. We feel terrified in the face of great enigmas such as illness, innocent pain or the mystery of death. On the same journey of faith, we often stumble upon encountering the scandal of the cross and the demands of the Gospel, which asks us to spend our lives in service and to lose it in love, instead of keeping it for ourselves and defending it. We need, then, another gaze, a light that illuminates the mystery of life in depth and helps us to go beyond our schemes and the criteria of this world. We too are called to climb the mountain, to contemplate the beauty of the Risen One who lights glimpses of light in every fragment of our life and helps us to interpret history starting from his Easter victory ”.
"Let's be careful, though: that feeling that 'it's nice for us to be here' must not become spiritual laziness. We cannot stay on the mountain and enjoy the bliss of this encounter alone. Jesus himself brings us back to the valley, among our brothers and in daily life. We must guard against spiritual laziness: we are fine with our prayers and liturgies, and this is enough for us. No! Climbing the mountain is not forgetting reality; to pray is never to escape from the hardships of life; the light of faith is not needed for a beautiful spiritual emotion. This is not the message of Jesus. We are called to experience the encounter with Christ because, enlightened by his light, we can carry it and make it shine everywhere. Ignite little lights in people's hearts; to be little lamps of the Gospel that bring a little love and hope: this is the mission of the Christian ".
After the recitation of the Angelus, Francis recalled today's World Day of Rare Diseases. “In the case of rare diseases - he said - the network of solidarity between family members, fostered by these associations, is more important than ever. It helps not to feel alone and to exchange experiences and advice. I encourage initiatives that support research and care, and I express my closeness to the sick, to families, but especially to children. Being close to sick children, children who are suffering, praying for them, making them feel the caress of God's love, tenderness ... Healing children with prayer, too ... When there are these diseases that we do not know what they are, or there is a somewhat bad progonsis. We pray for all the people who have these rare diseases, especially for the children who suffer ”.