CNA Staff, Apr 21, 2021 / 03:20 am
Pope Francis encouraged Catholics on Wednesday to read a 19th-century Russian spiritual classic.
Speaking at his general audience on April 21, the pope said that everyone could benefit from reading “The Way of a Pilgrim,” the story of an unnamed pilgrim who travels across Russia seeking to discover the secret of constant prayer.
He said: “We all have something to learn from the perseverance of the Russian pilgrim, mentioned in a famous work on spirituality, who learned the art of prayer by repeating the same invocation over and over again: ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord, have mercy on us, sinners!’ He repeated only this…”
“If graces arrive in our life, if prayer becomes so warm one day that the presence of the Kingdom were perceived here among us, if that vision could be transformed until it became like that of a child, it would be because we have insisted on reciting a simple Christian exclamation. In the end, it becomes part of our breathing.”
He added: “It is beautiful, the story of the Russian pilgrim: it is a book that is accessible to all. I recommend you read it; it will help you to understand what vocal prayer is.”
The pope gave his address, dedicated to vocal prayer, in the library of the Apostolic Palace due to coronavirus restrictions.
The speech was the 30th reflection in his cycle of catechesis on prayer, which he launched in May and resumed in October following nine addresses on healing the world after the pandemic.
Pope Francis meditated on the role of words in prayer.