Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Square for his weekly general audience


Pope to Parents: Teach Your Little Ones to Pray, Make Sign of Cross

During General Audience, Francis Speaks on Importance of Making Time for Prayer

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If we really love God and cherish our relationship with Him, we need to spend time with Him in prayer. During his weekly General Audience in a sunny St. Peter’s Square this morning, the Pope made this point, calling on parents to teach their little ones how to pray and how important it is.

Continuing his catecheses on the family, the Pontiff reflected on the importance of devoting time to prayer. In previous audiences in this series, he has considered the importance of celebrations and rest, and the dignity of work. 

Turning today to prayer, the Pope suggested that while many have the best of intentions, they still have difficulties finding time in their busy schedules to pray. Even if it’s challenging, he stressed, we must do this, otherwise it seems as though we do not love God. “Perhaps we need to ask if we truly love God, as He asks us to, ‘with all our heart, and all our mind and all our strength,'” Francis highlighted.

Speaking off the cuff, Pope Francis stressed how sometimes he goes in the cities and makes a sad observation. “There are children who have not learned how to make the Sign of the Cross! But you mommies, daddies, teach the little ones to pray, to make the Sign of the Cross: this is a beautiful task of moms and dads!”

We need to spend time with the Lord, Francis stressed, saying parents need to set good examples and reminding faithful how they can turn to Christ. In our daily lives, the Pontiff said, we must make a concerted effort to do this.

“Do not forget, every day read a passage from the Gospel. Prayer springs from intimacy with the Word of God. Do we have this intimacy in our family? Do we have the Gospel in our home? Do we take some time to open it and read it together? Do we meditate on it and pray the rosary? Reading and pondering the Gospel in the family is like a good bread that nourishes the heart of everyone.” 

“In the morning and evening, when we get to the table, we learn to say a prayer together, very simply, it is Jesus Who is among us,” Francis added, saying Jesus is present in families as He was with Martha and Mary. 

At the heart of prayer, Francis said, is the love of God, “the source of our life, who constantly ‘caresses’ us with his own love. A heart filled with the love of God can make even a silent thought or a small gesture of devotion a moment of prayer.”

The Holy Spirit, the Pope highlighted, teaches us to pray, to call God our Father, and to grow daily in His love.  “Our families need to ask for the gift of the Spirit! Through prayer, even in the busiest times, we give time back to God, we find the peace that comes from appreciating the important things, and we encounter the joy of God’s unexpected gifts,” Pope Francis reminded the faithful.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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