He said that Jesus’ example revealed four essential characteristics of Christian prayer.
First, Jesus shows that prayer must come before all else.
He said: “First and foremost, it possesses primacy: it is the first desire of the day, something that is practiced at dawn, before the world awakens. It restores a soul to that which otherwise would be without breath. A day lived without prayer risks being transformed into a bothersome or tedious experience: all that happens to us could turn into a badly endured and blind fate. ”
When we put prayer first, daily trials turn into opportunities to grow in faith and charity, he explained.
“Prayer has the power to transform into good what in life could otherwise be condemnation; prayer has the power to open the mind and broaden the heart to a great horizon,” he said.
Second, Jesus shows the importance of persistence in prayer.
Third, Christ prayed in solitude, indicating that we should also retreat daily to “deserted places” to pray.
“There, in silence, many voices can emerge that we hide in our innermost selves: the most repressed desires, the truths that we insist on suffocating, and so on. And, above all, in silence God speaks,” he said.
“Every person needs a space for him- or herself, to be able to cultivate the inner life, where actions find meaning. Without the inner life we become superficial, agitated, and anxious -- how anxiety harms us! This is why we must go to pray; without an inner life we flee from reality, and we also flee from ourselves, we are men and women always on the run.”
Fourth and finally, Jesus shows that prayer enables us to see our dependence on God.
“Sometimes we human beings believe that we are the masters of everything, or on the contrary, we lose all self-esteem, we go from one side to another,” he noted. “Prayer helps us to find the right dimension in our relationship with God, our Father, and with all creation.”
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Concluding his reflection, the pope said: “Dear brothers and sisters, let us rediscover Jesus Christ as a teacher of prayer in the Gospel and place ourselves in His school. I assure you that we will find joy and peace.”
Following the catechesis, Francis addressed the recent spate of terror attacks in Europe.
He said: “In these days of prayer for the dead, we have remembered and continue to remember the helpless victims of terrorism, which is escalating in its cruelty throughout Europe.”
“I am thinking, in particular, of the serious attack in Nice in recent days, in a place of worship, and of the other one the day before yesterday in the streets of Vienna, which caused dismay and reprobation among the population and those who cherish peace and dialogue.”
“I entrust to God’s mercy the people who have tragically departed and I express my spiritual closeness to their families and to all those who suffer as a result of these deplorable events, which seek to compromise fraternal cooperation between religions through violence and hatred.”
In his greetings to Polish pilgrims, the pope highlighted a global rosary initiative launched in Poland on All Saints’ Day. The “Rosary to the Gates of Heaven” hopes to unite people around the world in prayer for unborn children Nov. 1-8.