Vatican City, Mar 20, 2019 / 09:59 am (CNA).- Praying the ‘Our Father’ can help Christians to have the same love for the will of God that Jesus had – a love which has the power to change the world, Pope Francis said Wednesday.
“The ‘Our Father’ is a prayer that ignites in us the same love of Jesus for the will of the Father, a flame that drives us to transform the world with love,” he said at the general audience March 20.
In trusting their lives to the Father’s will, Christians do not believe in an “unavoidable ‘fate’,” he clarified. “There is nothing haphazard in the faith of Christians: there is instead a salvation that waits to manifest itself in the life of every man and woman and to be fulfilled in eternity.”
Continuing his catechesis on the ‘Our Father,’ the pope reflected on the line, “Thy will be done,” noting that prayer is an act of belief that “God can and wants to transform reality by overcoming evil with good.”
This is why it makes sense to “obey and abandon one’s self” to the will of God, even in moments of difficulty and trial, Francis said.
He used the example of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus prayed for the Father to take away his suffering, but also said, “still, not my will but yours be done.”
In that moment, “Jesus is crushed by the evil of the world, but trustingly abandons himself to the ocean of the love of the Father’s will,” Pope Francis said.
And the will of God, he emphasized, is what brings real freedom. Therefore, praying, “thy will be done,” is not a “slavish” act; obeying the Lord is not like obeying a slave master, or bending the will to an unchangeable destiny. “On the contrary, it is a prayer full of ardent trust in God who wants good for us, life, salvation,” he said.
God wants his children to be free and it is his love that gives that freedom, he noted, adding that: “In fact, the ‘Our Father’ is the prayer of children, not slaves; but of children who know the heart of their father and are certain of his design of love.”
He pointed to the story of Zacchaeus, stating that the love of God is like that experienced by the tax collector, who was known as a sinner. Zacchaeus climbed a tree to see Jesus but did not know that the Lord was, in fact, searching for him long before he knew.
“God with his love knocks on the door of our hearts. Why? To attract us; to attract us to Him and carry us forward on the path to salvation. God is close to each of us with his love, to take us by hand to salvation. How much love is behind this!” Pope Francis said.
In the world, there are many things not in conformance with the will of God, he said, and encouraged people, in the face of evils like war, abuse of power, and exploitation, to pray with the awareness of the Lord’s will of good for his people and world, and to beg of him: “your will be done!”
“Thus is the Lord, thus he loves us…” the pope concluded.
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