The Pope at the Angel of the Lord: Prayer is the medicine of faith
So many times we send “messages to the people we love, let’s do it with the Lord.” In order to be “in harmony” with Him and not allow our faith to “go cold” – even when we are focused on very urgent but secondary things – Pope Francis proposed this Sunday “a wise spiritual practice”: ejaculation prayers.
If the Lord came to earth today: would he find someone to devote time and love to him, who would put him first? This is the question that Pope Francis raised at lunch this Sunday, October 16, XXIX in ordinary time, when he reflected, before the Marian prayer of the Angelus, on the Gospel of the day. Here’s how his speech began:
The Gospel of today’s liturgy ends with a question that concerns Jesus: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). It would be like saying: when I reach the end of the story – but, we can think, and now, at this moment of life – will I find a little faith in you, in your world?
“This is a serious matter,” affirmed the Holy Father, who, continuing with his reflections, referred to what the Lord will see today, namely “many wars, poverty and inequalities”, “great advances in technology, modern means and people , who always go fast, never stopping”. He therefore added a more specific question to the above question:
What would I find in myself, in my life, in my heart? What priorities would you see?
Often, the Pope notes, “we concentrate on very urgent but not necessary things, we deal and deal with many secondary realities; and perhaps, without realizing it, we neglect the most important and let our love for God grow cold, grow cold little by little. But Jesus offers us “the remedy to warm a lukewarm faith”: prayer.
Yes, prayer is the medicine of faith, the restoration of the soul. But it must be a constant prayer. If we have to follow a treatment to get better, it is important to follow it well, to take the medicine in the right way and at the right time, with consistency and regularity.
Constancy and regularity: The Holy Father emphasized that this “applies to everything in life”:
Let’s think about a plant we have at home: we have to feed it constantly, every day, we can’t soak it and then leave it without water for weeks! All the more reason to pray: one cannot live only through strong moments or intense encounters every now and then and then “fall into lethargy.” Our faith will dry up. It needs the daily water of prayer, it needs time dedicated to God so that He can enter our time, our history; of constant moments where we open our hearts so that He can pour love, peace, glory, strength, hope into us every day; that is, they nourish our faith.
That is why, Francis continued, Jesus is speaking today to “all his disciples”, “not just some!” – he emphasized -. And remember what the Lord says in today’s Gospel: “It is necessary to pray always without giving up” (v. 1). Then raising the situation of someone who might object that he has no time to pray because he does not live “in a monastery,” he explained that “a wise spiritual practice” can be applied, somewhat forgotten today, that our elders , especially the grandmothers, “know well”: “ejaculatory prayers”. They are “very short prayers, easy to remember, that we can repeat often during the day, during different activities, to be ‘in harmony’ with the Lord,” said the Holy Father, who offered some examples:
As soon as we get up, we can say: “Lord, I thank you and I offer you this day”. It’s a little prayer. Later, before an activity, we can repeat: “Come, Holy Spirit”; and between one thing and another pray thus: “Jesus, I believe in Thee, Jesus I love you” Small prayers that keep us in touch with God.
After these proposals, the Pope explained how many times we send “messages” to the people we love, exhorting us to do it with the Lord “so that the heart remains connected to Him” and inviting us not to forget to “read their answers” because He ” always answers’.
Where do we find them? In the Gospel, that we must always have it at hand and open it daily to receive the Word of life addressed to us.
Let’s go back to this advice that I’ve given so many times: carry a little pocket Bible, in your pocket, in your purse, and so when you have a minute, open it and read something, and the Lord will answer you.
So on that day he raised his prayer to the Virgin Mary “faithful in listening” so that she “teach us the art of praying always without tiring.”