Pope Francis: We need to ‘welcome God into our daily lives’ and pray for ‘real peace’

Pope Francis general audience Pope Francis delivers a message during his general audience on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. | Credit: Vatican Media

On Wednesday, May 1, Pope Francis addressed an international audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican and reiterated the importance of faith in the Christian life as well as the need to continually pray for “real peace” for the whole world.

The Holy Father also deplored war profiteering, decrying the actions of those “making money off death” through huge investments in the production of weapons.

Speaking to thousands of people gathered inside Vatican City on an overcast morning on the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, the Holy Father spoke about the three theological virtues, beginning with faith, as part of his ongoing catechesis series on vices and virtues.

Pope Francis greets pilgrims attending his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall on May 1, 2024. Credit: Elizabeth Alva/CNA
Pope Francis greets pilgrims attending his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall on May 1, 2024. Credit: Elizabeth Alva/CNA

“What is faith?” Pope Francis asked his listeners. “Faith is the act by which the human being freely commits himself to God.”

Speaking of men and women who are role models of faith, such as Abraham, Moses, and the Virgin Mary, the pope urged his listeners to also welcome God into their daily lives — freely and completely — in spite of life’s difficulties, uncertainties, and tribulations. 

Pope Francis smiles at pilgrims attending his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall on May 1, 2024. Credit: Elizabeth Alva/CNA
Pope Francis smiles at pilgrims attending his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall on May 1, 2024. Credit: Elizabeth Alva/CNA

“Faith is the first gift to welcome in Christian life: a gift that must be welcomed and asked for daily so that it may be renewed in us. It is seemingly a small gift, yet it is the essential one,” he said.  

The Holy Father also added that “the great enemy of faith” is fear and not intelligence or reason as many people believe. 

Following his catechesis, Pope Francis greeted parish and religious groups from around the world packed into the crowded hall, many of whom brought flags and banners, and asked them to join him in prayer for peace in the world, particularly for those suffering due to natural disasters and conflict.

Pope Francis greets pilgrims at his general audience on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. Credit: Vatican Media
Pope Francis greets pilgrims at his general audience on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. Credit: Vatican Media

“Severe flooding has tragically taken the lives of many of our brothers and sisters, injured others, and caused widespread destruction,” he said about the severe flooding affecting the people of Kenya. “Even amid adversity we remember the joy of the risen Christ, and I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father.”

The Holy Father also reminded his audience to pray for those who are “victims of wars” in Ukraine, Palestine, and Israel, and to not forget the sufferings of the Rohingya refugees and to pray for peace in Myanmar.

“We cannot forget to pray for peace. War is always a defeat. Always,” he said. “We ask for real peace for these peoples and for the whole world. Unfortunately, today, the investments that earn the most income are weapons factories. Terrible. Making money off death. We ask for peace.”

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