Pope reflects on wonder as invitation to know God

Awe and wonder at an encounter with Christ are the first steps in deepening a spiritual life that leads to ultimate peace in the Lord, said Pope Francis at a Vatican Mass.

"First wonder, then spiritual consolation and finally, the last step, peace," said Pope Francis, adding that "even in the most painful tests, a Christian never loses the peace and presence of Jesus."

"Wonder is a great grace, the grace that God gives us in our encounter with Jesus Christ," said the Pope on April 4 at Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he celebrated a Mass that included the staff of the Vatican Typography.

"It is something that draws us outside of ourselves with joy," he noted. "It is not a mere enthusiasm like that of sports fans when their favorite team wins, but something deeper."

"It is having an inner experience of meeting the living Christ and thinking that it is not possible, but the Lord helps us understand that is the reality (and) it is wonderful," he exclaimed.

The Pontiff explained that all of the day's readings relate to amazement and wonder, giving the examples of the crowds' amazement at Peter's healing of the crippled man and the wonder of the disciples at the Risen Christ's appearance to them.

"This is the Lord's and this wonder is the beginning of the habitual state of Christians," he said.

He added, however, that people cannot permanently live "in a state of wonder."

"But it is the beginning and then this astonishment leaves an impression in the soul and spiritual consolation, the consolation of those who have encountered Jesus Christ," said Pope Francis.

In this way, he explained, wonder is the first step in attaining peace.

The Pontiff encouraged the congregation to pray, "Lord, grant me this grace which is the hallmark of our encounter with you: spiritual consolation and peace."

He added that this peace "is a gift of God" which "we cannot lose because it is ours and the Lord's true peace cannot be bought or sold."

"This is why we ask for the grace of spiritual consolation and peace of mind, that starts with this joyful wonder of our encounter with Jesus Christ," said the Pope.

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