Vatican City, Oct 16, 2014 / 03:07 am
In his mass on Thursday Pope Francis encouraged attendees to pray to God by praising him, saying that remembering the good he has done, particularly how he created us in love, helps us to know how.
"Prayers of praise bring us this joy, (the joy of) being happy before the Lord. Let's make a real effort to rediscover this!" the Pope said in his Oct. 16 homily.
A starting point for this can be to remember how "God chose me before the creation of the world," he said, adding that our names are in "God's heart (and) in God's bowels, just as the baby is inside its mother."
Pope Francis began his reflections by returning to the day's first reading from St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians in which the apostle praises God for the gifts he has given, and recalls how "he chose us in him from before the foundation of the world."
When it comes to prayer, most of us know how to ask for things that we want and even thank the Lord for what he has done, but "a prayer of praise" is a bit harder, the Roman Pontiff observed, because we are not used to praying like that.
One thing that can help learn how to do this is to remember "all of the things that the Lord has done for us in our lives," he said.
"In Him – In Christ – He chose us before the creation of the world," the Bishop of Rome continued, saying that when we pray, we can say something like: "'Blessed are you, Lord, because You chose me!' (This) is the joy of a paternal and tender closeness."
Although at first it might be difficult to conceive that God knew us before the creation of the world and that our names were written on his heart, "This is the truth! This is the revelation!" the Pope explained. "If we do not believe this then we are not Christian!"
"We may be steeped in a theist religiosity, but not Christian! The Christian is a chosen one, the Christian is someone who has been chosen in God's heart before the creation of the world," he went on, noting that knowledge of this should give us both confidence and joy.
Because this creation is a mystery, we can only understand it by entering into the Mystery of Jesus Christ himself, who "poured out his blood for us in abundance, with all wisdom and intelligence," the pontiff said.
It is in the celebration of the Eucharist that we fully enter into this mystery "that one cannot fully understand: the Lord is alive, He is with us, here, in His glory, in all His fullness and gives His life for us once again."
The attitude of entering into this mystery is something that should be done every day, the Bishop of Rome explained, saying that a true Christian man or woman is one who seeks to do this.
Pope Francis concluded his reflections by pointing out that a prayer of praise is above all "a prayer of joy (and) a prayer of remembrance." He also prayed to the Holy Spirit that all might receive the grace "to enter into the Mystery, especially when we celebrate the Eucharist."