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Pope Francis: audience, “God is a father, not a master or a godfather”. “He always responds”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

“God is a father, not a master or a godfather”. Pope Francis made this off-the-cuff remark during his general audience catechesis today. He reminded the 7,000 faithful gathered in the Paul VI Hall that “it is in the Gospel of Luke that we find that request, made by one of the disciples, to be taught by Jesus Himself how to pray: ‘Lord, teach us to pray”’. “They saw him praying – Pope Francis continued off the cuff – and asked: ‘teach us’, because even we can say to the Lord: ‘You are praying for me, I know this, but teach me to pray, so that I too can pray’”. The first part of Jesus’ “teaching” on prayer “is the Our Father”, Pope Francis noted: “Pray like this, Our Father who art in heaven”. “Father – it is such a beautiful word to say!”, Pope Francis continued off the cuff. “We can spend so much time in prayer only saying that word and feeling that we have a father: not a master, not a godfather, but a Father. A Christian turns to God calling him ‘Father’”. Reflecting on “some instructions related to the text of the Lord’s Prayer”, the Pope mentioned “the parable of the friend who importunes a whole sleeping family, because all of a sudden someone arrives from a journey and he has no bread to offer him. What does Jesus say? ‘I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence’”. “By this, He wants to teach us to pray, to persevere in prayer”, Pope Francis remarked: “And immediately after, he offers the example of a father who has a hungry child”. I ask “all of you, fathers and grandfathers, who are here, what if a child or a grandchild asks something, he is hungry and asks, asks, and then cries and shouts’, the off-the-cuff example chosen by the Pope: “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?”. “With these words – the Pope explained – Jesus makes us understand that God always responds, that no prayer goes unheard, because He is a Father, and He never forgets His children who suffer”.

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