Vatican City, May 20, 2013 / 10:35 am
Pope Francis encouraged bold prayer and faithful trust in God during his homily at Mass today at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.
"A courageous prayer, that struggles to achieve a miracle," the Bishop of Rome said May 20. "Not prayers of courtesy: 'Ah, I will pray for you,' I say an Our Father, a Hail Mary and then I forget."
Rather, he said, "strong prayer is needed. Humble and strong prayer that enables Jesus to carry out the miracle."
Highlighting the importance of faith in Christ, he told of how an Argentine girl who fell ill and was expected to live but a few hours was miraculously healed after her father prayed intensely for her.
"Her father, an electrician, a man of faith … took a bus to the Marian shrine of Lujan, 70 kilometers (43 miles) away."
"He finally arrived after 9:00 p.m., when everything was closed. And he began to pray to Our Lady, with his hands gripping the iron fence and he prayed, and prayed, and wept, and prayed … and that's the way he remained all night long," Pope Francis added.
The man returned to the hospital the following morning and found his wife weeping. She told him that the doctors came and said the fever was gone and that she would live.
"This still happens," the Pope reminded his listeners. "Miracles do happen."
Pope Francis was reflecting on the day's Gospel, which recounts the disciples' failure to heal a child, and Jesus intervenes saying everything is possible for those who have faith.
According to him, a prayer for a miracle must be "an involved prayer, a prayer that unites us all."
He took as models the prayer of Abraham, "who struggled with the Lord" to save Sodom and Gomorrah, and Moses' prayer, when he "held his hands high and tired himself out."
"When people ask us to pray for the many people who suffer in wars, all refugees … pray. But with your heart to the Lord," he exhorted.
"Do it, but tell him, 'Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.'"
The pontiff stated there is disbelief when "the heart will not open, when the heart is closed, when the heart wants to have everything under control."
"It is a heart, then, that does not open and does not give control of things to Jesus," he concluded. "Prayer does wonders, but we have to believe."