Prayer has the power to awaken hope in men and women, even in the face of death and destruction, Pope Francis said during his weekly general audience, according to the Catholic News Service.
- The Catholic Herald
People often feel unworthy to turn to God when they are in need “as if it were a self-interested prayer and, thus, imperfect,” the Pope said on January 18.
“But God knows our weakness; he knows that we remember him to ask for help and, with the indulgent smile of a father, he responds graciously,” he said.
Greeting thousands of people in the Paul VI audience hall, the Pope seemed to lose his balance several times as pilgrims clasped his hand and tried pulling him toward them, hoping for a hug or a blessing.
Still, the Pope took time to greet people, stopping to bless a pregnant woman and embracing a young boy in tears, who was overcome with emotion at meeting him.
The audience took place at the beginning of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which for 2017 had the theme: “Reconciliation: The love of Christ compels us”.
Addressing the different language groups, the Pope prayed that all Christian communities would “be open more to reconciliation” and communion.
“In this same spirit of hope and with gratitude for the progress already made in the ecumenical movement, I ask your prayers for this important intention,” the Pope told the English-speaking pilgrims.
During the audience, he reflected on the prophet Jonah, a man who first tried to run away from God’s call and initially refused “to place himself at the service of the divine plan of salvation”.
Photo: Pope Francis during his general audience (CNS)