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Pope Francis: Audience, “prayer is not a magic wand”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

“Prayer is not a magic wand”. Pope Francis repeated this twice during today’s audience to explain that prayer “helps us to keep our faith in God and to entrust ourselves to Him even when we do not understand His will”. “Jesus Himself, who prayed a lot, is an example to us”, Pope Francis said, referring to the Letter to the Hebrews: “In the days when He was in the flesh, He offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save him from death, and He was heard because of his reverence”. “This seems quite an implausible statement at first, as Jesus died on the Cross”, Pope Francis remarked. “Yet, the Letter to the Hebrews is right: God has truly saved Jesus from death, giving Him full victory over it, but the path He had to walk to obtain” this victory “had to pass through death itself!”. “The supplication answered by God refers to Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane”, where “Jesus, in his anguish, prays to the Father that He might take away from Him the bitter chalice of the Passion; but his prayer is permeated with trust in the Father, so He entrusts Himself completely to His will: ‘yet, – Jesus says – not as I will, but as you will’”. The object of prayer becomes secondary, what matters first and foremost is the relation with the Father”, this is the teaching of Jesus. “This is what prayer does”, the Pope summed up: “It transforms the desire and shapes it according to God’s will, whatever it might be, because those who pray long first and foremost for union with Him who is merciful love”.

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