Apostolic Palace Library
Wednesday, 10 June 2020
Wednesday, 10 June 2020
Catechesis - 6. Jacob's prayer
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Let us continue our catechesis on the theme of prayer. The book of Genesis, through the stories of men and women of distant eras, tells us stories in which we can mirror our life. In the cycle of patriarchs, we also find that of a man who made shrewdness his best gift: Jacob. The biblical story tells us about the difficult relationship that Jacob had with his brother Esau. From an early age, there is rivalry between them, and it will never be overcome later. Jacob is the second-born - they were twins - but by deception he manages to steal from Father Isaac the blessing and the gift of the birthright (cf. Gen25.19 to 34). It is only the first of a long series of tricks that this unscrupulous man is capable of. Even the name "Jacob" means someone who has shrewdness in moving.
Forced to flee away from his brother, in his life he seems to succeed in every endeavor. He is skilled in business: he gets very rich, becoming the owner of a huge flock. With tenacity and patience he manages to marry the most beautiful of Laban's daughters, with whom he was truly in love. Jacob - we would say with modern language - is a man who "made himself", with ingenuity, shrewdness, manages to conquer anything he wants. But something is missing. He lacks the living relationship with his roots.
And one day he hears the call of home, of his ancient homeland, where Esau still lived, the brother with whom he had always been in bad relations. Jacob sets off and makes a long journey with a large caravan of people and animals, until he reaches the last stop, at the Jabbok stream. Here the book of Genesis offers us a memorable page (cf. 32,23-33). He says that the patriarch, after having made all his people and all the cattle - which was a lot - cross the stream, remains alone on the foreign shore. And think: what awaits him for the next day? What attitude will his brother Esau take, to whom he had stolen the birthright? Jacob's mind is a whirlwind of thoughts ... And, as it gets dark, suddenly a stranger grabs him and starts fighting with him. TheCatechism explains: "The spiritual tradition of the Church has seen in this story the symbol of prayer as a fight against faith and the victory of perseverance" ( CCC , 2573).
Jacob fought all night, never letting go of his opponent. In the end he is won, hit by his rival in the sciatic nerve, and from then on he will be lame for a lifetime. That mysterious wrestler asks the patriarch for his name and says to him: «You will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel. because you fought with God and with men and you won! " (v. 29). As if to say: you will never be the man who walks like this, but straight. His name changes, his life changes, his attitude changes; you will be called Israel. Then Jacob also asks the other, "Tell me your name." That does not reveal it to him, but instead he blesses it. And Jacob realizes that he has met God "face to face" (cf. vv. 30-31).
Fight with God: a metaphor for prayer. At other times Jacob had shown himself capable of dialoguing with God, of feeling him as a friendly and close presence. But on that night, through a struggle that lasts for a long time and that sees him almost succumbing, the patriarch comes out changed. Change of name, change of way of life and change of personality: he comes out changed. For once he is no longer master of the situation - his shrewdness is of no use -, he is no longer the strategist and calculating man; God brings him back to his mortal truth that trembles and is afraid, because Jacob was afraid in the struggle. For once, Jacob has nothing else to present to God than his frailty and powerlessness, even his sins. And this is itJacob to receive the blessing from God, with which he limps into the promised land: vulnerable, and vulnerable, but with a new heart. Once I heard an old man say - a good man, a good Christian, but a sinner who had so much faith in God - he said: “God will help me; will not leave me alone. I will go into heaven, limping, but I will enter. " Jacob was previously self-confident and trusted in his shrewdness. He was a man impervious to grace, refractory to mercy; he did not know what mercy was. "Here I am, I'm in charge!", He did not think he needed mercy. But God saved what was lost. He made him understand that he was limited, that he was a sinner who needed mercy and saved him.
We all have an appointment in the night with God, in the night of our life, in the many nights of our life: dark moments, moments of sins, moments of disorientation. There is an appointment with God, always. He will surprise us when we do not expect it, when we will find ourselves truly alone. On that same night, fighting against the unknown, we will become aware that we are only poor men - I allow myself to say "poor" - but, just then, when we feel "poor", we will not have to fear: because at that moment God will give us a new name, which contains the meaning of our whole life; it will change our hearts and give us the blessing reserved for those who let themselves be changed by Him. This is a nice invitation to let ourselves be changed by God. He knows how to do it, because he knows each of us. "Lord, you know me", each of us can say. “Lord, you know me. Change me ".
Je suis heureux de saluer les personnes de langue française. That the Seigneur vous comble de son esprit de force pour que vous sachiez fighting the bon combat de votre foi et qu'il vous accorde sa bénédiction qui vous transforme en des créatures nouvelles. A tous, je donne ma bénédiction!
[ I am happy to greet the French-speaking faithful. The Lord fill you with his Spirit of fortitude, so that you can fight the good fight of faith and be transformed into new creatures. My blessing to all! ]
I greet the English-speaking faithful joining us through the media. Upon you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of the Lord. May God bless you!
[ I greet the English-speaking faithful connected through social media. I invoke upon you and your families the joy and peace of the Lord .]
Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an die Brüder und Schwestern deutscher Sprache. Warten wir nicht darauf, dass die anderen sich ändern. Machen wir selbst den ersten Schritt, um ihnen zu begegnen, und der Herr wird gegenwärtig und macht uns zu Zeugen seiner Güte. Gott ist unser Licht und unser Heil!
[ I extend a cordial greeting to the German-speaking brothers and sisters. We do not wait for the others to change: we take the first step to meet them, and the Lord will make himself present and make us witnesses of his goodness. God is our light and our salvation! ]
I cordially greet a los fieles de lengua española, que siguen esta catequesis a través de los medios de comunicación social. Pidamos al Señor que nos dé la fortaleza para dejarnos sorprender por su mercericia, para aceptar nuestra fragilidad sin temor, sabiendo que, aunque sea de noche y estemos solos, fighting against the desconocido, Dios puede dar sentido a toda nuestra vida y regalarnos la bendición que reserva a quien se deja transformar por Él. Que Dios los bendiga.
Saúdo os ouvintes de língua portuguesa e convido-vos - na vigília da solenidade do Santíssimo Corpo e Sangue de Cristo - a olhar com confiança o vosso future em Deus, levando o fogo do seu amor ao mundo. Logo que vos seja possível, volta à adoração e à comunhão do Corpo do Senhor na Missa de preceito. It is a graça da Páscoa that frutifica na Eucaristia and que desejo abundante na vossa vida. Que Deus vos abençoe!
[ I greet the Portuguese-speaking listeners. On the eve of the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, I invite you to look confidently at your future in God, bringing the fire of his love into the world. As soon as possible, return to adoration and communion of the Body of the Lord in the precept Mass. It is the grace of Easter which bears fruit in the Eucharist and which makes our life fruitful. God bless you! ]
أحيي جميع المؤمنين الناطقين باللغة العربية ، المتابعين لهذه المقابلة عَبر وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي. إنّ صراع يعقوب مع ملاك الله هو صورة معبرة عن كيفية التمسك بالرّب بإيمان في أوقات التجارب. إن الرب يمنح بركته فقط لمن يؤمن ، ويتمسك بإيمانه. ليبارككم الربّ جميعًا ويحرسكم دائمًا من كل شر!
[ I greet the Arabic-speaking faithful who follow this audience through the social media. Jacob's struggle with the angel of God is an expressive image of how to cling to the Lord with faith in times of trial. The Lord gives His blessing to those who believe and cling to their faith. The Lord bless you all and always protect you from all evil! ]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie wszystkich Polaków. Wiem, że miesiąc czerwiec jest Wam szczególnie drogi, gdyż jest poświęcony Najświętszemu Sercu Jezusowemu. Boskiemu Sercu, napełnionemu pokojem i miłością możemy powierzyć wszystkie niepokoje naszych serc, oraz naszą miłość niedoskonałą. Z przebitego serca Zbawiciela wypływa dla całej Ludzkości, źródło wszelkiej pociechy i ocean Bożego Miłosierdzia. Niech Jezus, cichy i pokornego serca, uczyni nasze serca według serca Swego! Z serca Wam błogosławię.
[ I cordially greet all the Poles. The month of June, dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, is particularly felt among you. To the Divine Heart, full of peace and love, we can entrust all the anxieties of our hearts and our imperfect love. From the pierced heart of the Savior flows, for all humanity, the source of all consolation and the ocean of Divine Mercy. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts similar to His! I bless you from my heart .]
Next Friday, June 12, the World Day against the exploitation of child labor is celebrated, a phenomenon that deprives boys and girls of their childhood and that jeopardizes their integral development. In the current health emergency situation, in many countries many children and young people are forced to work inadequate for their age, to help their families in conditions of extreme poverty. In many cases, these are forms of slavery and imprisonment, with consequent physical and psychological suffering. We are all responsible for this.
I appeal to the institutions to put in place every effort to protect minors, filling the economic and social gaps that underlie the distorted dynamic in which they are unfortunately involved. Children are the future of the human family: we all have the task of promoting their growth, health and serenity!
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I greet the Italian-speaking faithful. Tomorrow is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi , Body and Blood of Christ. This year it is not possible to celebrate the Eucharist with public demonstrations, however we can achieve a "Eucharistic life". The consecrated host contains the person of Christ: we are called to look for him in front of the tabernacle in church, but also in that tabernacle which are the last, the suffering, the lonely and poor people. Jesus himself said so.
I address my thoughts to the elderly, young people, the sick and newlyweds. I urge everyone to find in the Eucharist the energies necessary to live difficult times with Christian fortitude.
I cordially bless you!