“Thus, the problems we face no longer seem to be obstacles to our happiness, but appeals from God, opportunities to meet Him. And when a person is accompanied by the Lord, he or she feels more courageous, freer, and even happier,” he said.
“Let us pray always, then, for everyone, even for our enemies. Jesus counseled us to do this ... Let us pray for our dear ones, even those we do not know.”
He continued: “Prayer inclines us toward a superabundant love. Let us pray above all for people who are sad, for those who weep in solitude and despair, that there still might be someone who loves them.”
He stressed that Christian prayer “makes Christ’s compassion present.”
“Prayer helps us love others, despite their mistakes and sins,” he said. “The person is always more important than their actions, and Jesus did not judge the world, but He saved it.”
“What a horrible life is that of the person who always judges others, who is always condemning, judging… This is a horrible, unhappy life, when Jesus came to save us.”
He added: “Open your heart, pardon, give others the benefit of the doubt, understand, be close to others, be compassionate, be tender, like Jesus. We need to love each and every person, remembering in prayer that we are all sinners and at the same time loved individually by God.”
“Loving the world in this way, loving it with tenderness, we will discover that each day and everything bears within it a fragment of God’s mystery.”
He then reflected on the brevity of human life, citing the 17th-century French Catholic philosopher Blaise Pascal, who said: “There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: a vapor, a drop of water is enough to kill him.”
The pope concluded: “We are fragile beings, but we know how to pray: this is our greatest dignity and it is also our strength. Have courage. Pray in every moment, in every situation so the Lord might be near to us. And when a prayer is said according to the heart of Jesus, it obtains miracles.”
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As summaries of the pope’s catechesis were read out in French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, and Polish, he offered short messages to Catholics belonging to the different language groups.
In his greeting to Spanish-speakers, the pope observed that Feb. 11 is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, patroness of the sick.
He said: “Let us ask through her intercession that the Lord may grant health of soul and body to all those who suffer from illness and the current pandemic, and may he strengthen those who assist and accompany them in this time of trial that they are going through in their lives.”
Before offering a final greeting to Italian-speaking Catholics, the pope prayed for victims of a disaster in northern India. Part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off on Sunday, Feb. 7, in the state of Uttarakhand, killing at least 32 people and leaving more than 170 people missing.
“I express my closeness to the victims of the calamity that happened three days ago in the north of India, where part of a glacier separated itself, provoking violent flooding that devastated the construction sites of two power plants,” the pope said.
“I pray for the workers who died and for their families and for all those who were harmed and wounded.”