Apostolic Palace Library
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Catechesis: 5. Abraham's prayer
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
There is a voice that suddenly resounds in Abraham's life. A voice that invites him to embark on a path that tastes of absurdity: a voice that spurs him to uproot himself from his homeland, from the roots of his family, to go towards a new future, a different future. And all based on a promise, which you just have to trust. And trusting a promise is not easy, it takes courage. And Abraham trusted.
The Bible is silent on the past of the first patriarch. The logic of things suggests that he worshiped other deities; perhaps he was a wise man, accustomed to scrutinizing the sky and the stars. Indeed, the Lord promises him that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars that dot the sky.
And Abraham leaves. Listen to the voice of God and trust his word. This is important: he trusts the word of God. And with his departure, a new way of conceiving the relationship with God is born; it is for this reason that the patriarch Abraham is present in the great Jewish, Christian and Islamic spiritual traditions as the perfect man of God, capable of submitting to him, even when his will proves difficult, if not incomprehensible.
Abraham is therefore the man of the Word . When God speaks, man becomes the receptor of that Word and his life the place where he asks to incarnate. This is a great novelty in the religious journey of man: the life of the believer begins to be conceived as a vocation, that is, as a call, as a place where a promise is fulfilled; and he moves in the world not so much under the weight of an enigma, but with the strength of that promise, which one day will come true. And Abraham believed the promise of God. He believed and went, without knowing where he was going - so says the Letter to the Hebrews (cf. 11: 8). But he trusted.
Reading the book of Genesis, we discover how Abraham lived the prayer in continuous fidelity to that Word, which periodically appeared along its way. In summary, we can say that in Abraham's life faith becomes history. Faith becomes history. Indeed, Abraham, with his life, with his example, teaches us this path, this path on which faith becomes history. God is no longer seen only in cosmic phenomena, like a distant God, who can instill terror. The God of Abraham becomes "my God", the God of my personal history, who guides my steps, who does not abandon me; the God of my days, the companion of my adventures; the God Providence. I wonder and I ask you: do we have this experience of God? "My God", the God who accompanies me, the God of my personal history, the God who guides my steps, who does not abandon me, the God of my days? Do we have this experience? Let's think about it.
This experience of Abraham is also testified by one of the most original texts in the history of spirituality: the Memorialby Blaise Pascal. It begins thus: "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of philosophers and scholars. Certainty, certainty. Feeling. Joy. Peace. God of Jesus Christ ». This memorial, written on a small parchment, and found after his death sewn inside a philosopher's suit, expresses not an intellectual reflection that a wise man like him can conceive of God, but the living, experienced sense of his presence. Pascal even notes the precise moment in which he felt that reality, having finally met it: the evening of November 23, 1654. It is not the abstract God or the cosmic God, no. He is the God of a person, of a call, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, the God who is certainty, who is feeling, who is joy.
"Abraham's prayer is expressed first of all by actions: man of silence, at every stage he builds an altar to the Lord" ( Catechism of the Catholic Church , 2570). Abraham does not build a temple, but scatters the path of stones that remember the transit of God. A surprising God, as when he visits him in the figure of three guests, whom he and Sarah welcome and who announce the birth of their son Isaac (cf. Gen 18.1-15). Abraham was a hundred years old, and his wife ninety, more or less. And they believed, they trusted God. And Sarah, his wife, conceived. At that age! This is the God of Abraham, our God, who accompanies us.
Thus Abraham becomes familiar with God, also capable of arguing with him, but always faithful. Talk to God and discuss. Until the ultimate test, when God asks him to sacrifice his own son Isaac, the son of old age, the only heir. Here Abraham lives faith like a drama, like a groping walk in the night, under a sky this time without stars. And many times it happens to us too, to walk in the dark, but with faith. God himself will stop the hand of Abraham already ready to strike, because he saw his truly total availability (cf. Gen 22,1-19).
Brothers and sisters, we learn from Abraham, we learn to pray with faith: listen to the Lord, walk, dialogue until discussion. We are not afraid to argue with God! I will also say something that seems heresy. Many times I have heard people saying to me: "You know, this happened to me and I got angry with God" - "Did you have the courage to get angry with God?" - "Yes, I got angry" - "But this is a form of prayer". Because only a child is able to get angry with his dad and then re-meet him. We learn from Abraham to pray with faith, to dialogue, to discuss, but always willing to accept the word of God and put it into practice. With God, we learn to speak like a son with his dad: listen to him, answer, discuss. But transparent, like a son with dad. So Abraham teaches us to pray. Thanks.
I am graciously welcome to the personages of the French. Alors que nous sommes entrés dans le temps liturgique ordinire, nous sommes appelés, à l'exemple d'Abraham, à marcher quotidiennement en présence de Dieu, à demeurer à l'écoute de sa parole, toujours prêts à l'accueillir et à la mettre en pratique. Que Dieu vous bénisse.[ I cordially greet the French-speaking faithful. Entering ordinary liturgical time we are called, like Abraham, to walk every day in the presence of God, to listen to his Word, always ready to welcome it and put it into practice. God bless you .]
I greet the English-speaking faithful joining us through the media. Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr George Floyd. My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that "the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost ". Today I join the Church in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and in the entire United States, in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism. Let us pray for the consolation of their grieving families and friends and let us implore the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn. May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercedes for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and throughout the world. May God bless all of you and your families.
[I greet the English-speaking faithful connected through the social media. Dear brothers and sisters of the United States, I am following with great concern the painful social unrest that has been taking place in your country these days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd. Dear friends, we cannot tolerate or close our eyes on any type of racism or exclusion and pretend to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we must recognize that “the violence of the last few nights is self-destructive and self-injurious. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost ”. Today I join the Church of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and of all the United States, in praying for the rest of the soul of George Floyd and all the others who have lost their lives because of the sin of racism. Let us pray for the comfort of families and heartfelt friends, and pray for national reconciliation and the peace we yearn for. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and in the world. God bless you all and your families.]
Von Herzen grüße ich die Gläubigen deutscher Sprache. Das Gebet lässt uns erfahren, dass Gott uns nahe ist und uns führt. Nehmen wir sein Wort gläubig und freudig auf und setzen es in die Tat um. Diesen Freitag begehen wir den Festtag des heiligen Bonifatius. Der Apostel Deutschlands helfe uns, den Herrn, unser Heil und unsere Hoffnung, durch unser Leben zu verkünden.
[ I extend a cordial greeting to the German-speaking faithful. Prayer makes us feel that God is close to us and guides us. We welcome his word with faith and joy and put it into practice. This Friday we celebrate the feast of San Bonifacio, the Apostle of Germany; may he help us to proclaim the Lord with our lives, our salvation and hope .]
I cordially greet you to the language of the language that you sign to the través de los medios de comunicación social. Pidamos al Señor que nos concende aprender a orar con la misma fe de Abrahán, que seamos dóciles y disponibles a acoger su voluntad ya ponerla en práctica, como hijos e hijas que confían en su providencia paterna. Que Dios los bendiga.
Dirijo uma cordial saudação aos fiéis de língua portuguesa, encorajando-vos a procurar e encontrar Deus na oração: assim experimentareis a guia do Espírito Santo que fará de cada um de vós verdadeiras testemunhas da fé cristã na sociedade. De bom grade abençoo a vós e aos vossos entes queridos.
[ I address a cordial greeting to you, Portuguese-speaking faithful, encouraging you to seek and find God in prayer: in this way you will experience the guidance of the Holy Spirit who will make each of you true witnesses of the Christian faith in society. Gladly I bless you and your loved ones! ]
أحيي جميع المؤمنين الناطقين باللغة العربية ، المتابعين لهذه المقابلة عَبر وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي. كان إبراهيم رجل صلاة وصديق الله ، فكان يقيم مذبحًا للربّ أينما ذهب. في صلاته كان قادرًا أن يجادل الله ولكنه بقي دائمًا أمينًا له ، حتى في الاختبار الأسمى والأصعبب ال عنده س ض. ليبارككم الربّ جميعًا ويحرسكم دائمًا من كل شر!
[ I greet the Arabic-speaking faithful who follow this meeting through the social media. Abraham was a man of prayer and a friend of God, who built an altar to the Lord wherever he went. In his prayer he was able to argue with God, while always remaining faithful to him, even in the supreme trial, when God asked him to sacrifice his own son Isaac. The Lord bless you all and always protect you from all evil! ]
Serdecznie pozdrawiam wszystkich Polaków. Szczególne wyrazy mojej bliskości kieruję do Młodych, którzy jednoczą się na modlitewnym czuwaniu the uwielbieniu w ramach XXIV Spotkania Młodych Lednica 2000. Tym razem tylko niewielu będzie mogło fizycznie zgromadzić się w pobliżu źródeł chrzcielnych Polski, ale liczni Bede wives w nim uczestniczyć za pośrednictwem środków przekazu . Wszyscy razem dziękujcie Bogu za dar Ducha Świętego, który ożywia w was entuzjazm wiary i czyni was świadkami radości tych, którzy starają się żyć w świetle Chrystusa zmartwychwstaego.
Niech towarzyszy wam Patron tych spotkań, św. Jan Paweł II, którego stulecie urodzin świętujemy w tym roku. Przyjmijcie za swoje jego motto: Totus tuus i, jak on, przeżywajcie waszą młodość, całkowicie zawierzając siebie Chrystusowi i Jego Matce, abyście z odwagą postępowali ku horyzonto przysz.
Podczas waszego spotkania dokonacie dość śmiałego gestu: pobłogosławicie swoich rodziców. Zróbcie to w pokornym geście miłości i wdzięczności za dar waszego życia i wiary. Jednoczę się z wami w modlitwie i proszę was: módlcie się także za mnie. Niech Bóg wam błogosławi!
[ I cordially greet the Poles. In particular, I express my closeness to the young people who join in the vigil of prayer and praise in the context of the XXIV Youth Meeting LEDNICA 2000. This time few will be able to physically gather next to the baptismal font of Poland, but many will be able to participate through the means of communication. All of you thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit who animates the enthusiasm of faith and bears witness to the joy of those who try to live in the light of the risen Christ. May the patron of these meetings accompany you, St. John Paul II, of which we are celebrating the centenary of this year. Make his motto yours: "Totus tuus" and, like him, live your youth by entrusting yourself to Christ and his Mother to continue boldly towards the horizons of the future. During your meeting you will make a courageous gesture: you will give the blessing to your parents. Do it as a humble gesture of love and filial gratitude for the gift of life and faith. I join in prayer and ask you: pray for me too. God bless you! ]
I greet the Italian-speaking faithful. The nearby feast of the Holy Trinity brings us back to the mystery of the intimate life of the One and Triune God, the center of the Christian faith and stimulates us to find our comfort and inner peace in the love of God.
I address my thoughts to the elderly, young people, the sick and newlyweds. Trust in the Holy Spirit, "who is Lord and gives life" and be open to his love so you can transform your life, your families and your communities.
My blessing to all of you!