Pope Francis explains "I would say that prayer opens the door to hope." Full Text + Video from Vatican

Apostolic Palace Library
Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Catechesis: The mystery of Creation
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Let us continue the catechesis on prayer, meditating on the mystery of Creation . Life, the simple fact that we exist, opens man's heart to prayer.
The first page of the Bible resembles a great thanksgiving hymn. The story of Creation is punctuated by refrains, where the goodness and beauty of everything that exists is continually reaffirmed. God, with his word, calls to life, and everything accesses existence. With the word, it separates light from darkness, alternates day and night, alternates the seasons, opens a palette of colors with the variety of plants and animals. In this overflowing forest that rapidly defeats chaos, man appears last. And this apparition provokes an excess of exultation which amplifies satisfaction and joy: "God saw what he had done, and behold, it was a very good thing" ( Gen 1:31). Good thing, but also beautiful: you can see the beauty of all Creation!
The beauty and mystery of Creation generate in the heart of man the first movement that arouses prayer (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church , 2566). Thus reads the eighth Psalm, which we heard at the beginning: "When I see your skies, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have fixed, what is man ever because you remember him, the son Why do you care about man? " (vv. 4-5). The person praying contemplates the mystery of existence around him, sees the starry sky above it - and that astrophysics shows us today in all its immensity - and wonders which drawing of love must be behind a work so powerful! ... And, in this boundless vastness, what is man? "Almost nothing," says another Psalm (cf. 89,48): a being who is born, a being who dies, a very fragile creature. Yet throughout the universe, the human being is the only creature aware of such a profusion of beauty. A small being who is born, dies, today is there and tomorrow is not there, he is the only one aware of this beauty. We are aware of this beauty!
Man's prayer is closely linked with the feeling of amazement . The greatness of man is infinitesimal when compared to the size of the universe. His greatest achievements seem very little ... But man is nothing. In prayer, a feeling of mercy is asserted. Nothing exists by chance: the secret of the universe lies in a benevolent gaze that someone meets in our eyes. The Psalm states that we are made little less than a God, we are crowned with glory and honor (cf. 8,6). The relationship with God is the greatness of man: his enthronement. By nature we are almost nothing, small but by vocation, by call we are the children of the great King!
It is an experience that many of us have had. If the story of life, with all its bitterness, sometimes risks suffocating in us the gift of prayer, the contemplation of a starry sky, a sunset, a flower ... is enough to rekindle the spark of thanksgiving. This experience is perhaps the basis of the first page of the Bible.
When the great biblical account of Creation is drawn up, the people of Israel are not going through happy days. An enemy power had occupied the earth; many had been deported, and now slaves were found in Mesopotamia. There was no more homeland, no temple, no social and religious life, nothing.
Yet, starting from the great story of Creation, someone begins to find reasons for thanksgiving, to praise God for existence. Prayer is the first force of hope. You pray and hope grows, goes on. I would say that prayer opens the door to hope. Hope is there, but with my prayer I open the door. Because men of prayer guard the basic truths; they are the ones who repeat, first of all to themselves and then to all the others, that this life, despite all its efforts and its trials, despite its difficult days, is full of a grace to marvel at. And as such it must always be defended and protected.
Men and women who pray know that hope is stronger than discouragement. They believe that love is more powerful than death, and that it will certainly triumph someday, even if in times and ways that we don't know. The men and women of prayer wear reflections of light on their faces: because, even on the darkest days, the sun does not stop illuminating them. Prayer illuminates you: illuminates your soul, illuminates your heart and illuminates your face. Even in the darkest times, even in the times of greatest pain.
We are all bearers of joy. Have you thought about this? That you are a bearer of joy? Or do you prefer to bring bad news, things that make you sad? We are all capable of bringing joy. This life is the gift that God has given us: and it is too short to consume it in sadness, in bitterness. We praise God, simply happy to exist. We look at the universe, we look at the beauties and we also look at our crosses and we say: "But, you exist, you made us like this, for you". It is necessary to feel that restlessness of the heart that leads us to thank and praise God. We are the children of the great King, of the Creator, capable of reading his signature in all creation; that creation that we do not keep today, but in that creation there is the signature of God who made it out of love. May the Lord make us understand this more and more deeply and lead us to say "thank you":

Je suis heureux de saluer les personnes de langue française. A la veille de la fête de l'Ascension du Seigneur, demandons-he de nous aider à redécouvrir dans la beauté de la création un reflet de la gloire et de la splendeur de Dieu!
Que Dieu vous bénisse!
I am happy to greet the French-speaking faithful. Near the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, we ask him to help us rediscover in the beauty of creation a reflection of the glory and splendor of God! My blessing to all! ]
I greet the English-speaking faithful joining us through the media. As we prepare to celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, I invoke upon you and your families the peace and joy that come from the Risen Christ. May God bless you!
I greet the English-speaking faithful connected through social media. As we prepare to celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, I invoke upon you and your families the peace and joy that come from the risen Christ. God bless you! ]
Herzlich grüße ich die Gläubigen deutscher Sprache. Wenn wir das Wunder der Schöpfung betrachten, erkennen wir die Größe des Schöpfers und seine unendliche Liebe, mit der er auf alles Geschaffene blickt. Die Freude an der Natur und das Lob Gottes helfen uns, Erfüllung und inneren Frieden zu finden.
I cordially greet the German-speaking faithful. By contemplating the wonder of creation, we recognize the greatness of the Creator and his infinite love with which He looks at all created things. The joy of nature and the praise of God help us to find fullness and inner peace. ]
I cordially greet the los fieles de lengua española que siguen esta catequesis a través de los medios de comunicación social. Que Jesús resucitado, con la fuerza de su Espíritu Santo, nos haga portadores de alegría, afiance en nosotros la esperanza y también la certiza de que el amor es más fuerte que la muerte y que triunfa siempre. Que Dios los bendiga.
Queridos fiéis de língua portuguesa, de coração saúdo a todos, com votos de que brilhe always nos vossos corações a luz de Jesus ressuscitado. Neste «Mês de Maria», procuremos rezar or terço todos os dias, opening de Nossa Senhora a ter um olhar contemplative diante de todos os acontecimentos da nossa vida. Que Deus vos abençoe!
Dear Portuguese-speaking faithful, I cordially greet you all, hoping that the light of the risen Jesus will always shine in your hearts. In this "Month of Mary", we try to pray the rosary every day, learning from the Madonna to have a contemplative look towards all the events of our life. God bless you! ]
أحيي جميع المؤمنين الناطقين باللغة العربية ، المتابعين لهذه المقابلة عَبر وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي. الصلاة هي حوار الإنسان مع الله. فيها نحمده ونشكره على حبه لنا ، وفيها نوكل إليه همومنا ومشاكلنا. نقرأ في سفر يشوع بن سيراخ: "اُنْظُرُوا إِلَى الأَجْيَالِ الْقَدِيمَةِ وَتَأَمَّلُوا. هَلْ تَوَكَّلَ أَحَدٌع ََّخََخَأَ (يشوع بن سيراخ 2 ، 10). ليبارككم الرب جميعًا ويحرسكم دائمًا من كل شر!
I greet the Arabic-speaking faithful who follow this meeting through the social media. Prayer is man's dialogue with God. Through prayer we praise and thank the Lord for his love for us and entrust our concerns and problems to him. Keep in mind what we read in the Book of Sirach: "Consider past generations and reflect: who trusted in the Lord and was disappointed?" (Sir 2:10). The Lord bless you all and always protect you from all evil! ]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie wszystkich Polaków. W tych dniach obchodzimy setną rocznicę urodzin Świętego Jana Pawła II. On, Pasterz wielkiej wiary, lubił w modlitwie powierzać Panu Bogu Kościół i całą ludzkość. Wybierając zawołanie biskupie "Totus Tuus", pokazał również, że w trudnych chwilach powinniśmy zwracać się do Matki Bożej, która może nam pomóc i wstawić się za nami. Niech Jego życie, zbudowane na głębokiej, intensywnej i ufnej modlitwie, będzie przykładem dla dzisiejszych chrześcijan. Z serca Wam błogosławię.
I cordially greet all the Poles. In these days we celebrate the centenary of the birth of Saint John Paul II . Shepherd of great faith, He loved to entrust the Church and all humanity to God in prayer. Choosing the episcopal motto " Totus Tuus ", he also showed that in difficult times we must turn to the Mother of God, who can help us and intercede for us. His life, built on deep, intense and confident prayer, is an example for today's Christians. I bless you from my heart. ]

I greet the Italian-speaking faithful. The near feast of the Ascension of the Lord offers me the opportunity to urge everyone to be generous witnesses of the Risen Christ, knowing full well that he is always with us and supports us along the way.

I address a special thought to the elderly, young people, the sick and newlyweds. Jesus Christ, ascending to heaven, leaves a message and a program for the whole Church: "Go and teach all the nations ... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" ( Mt 28, 19-20). Make known the word of salvation of Christ, and witness it in daily life, both your ideal and your commitment. My blessing to all of you!

FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va -  a Translation from the Original Italian