Prayer isn’t about getting what we want, says Pope Francis, but rather about turning things over to the merciful hands of the Father.
The Pope said this Saturday morning when he addressed the Padre Pio Prayer Groups, workers of the Home for the Relief of Suffering private hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, and the faithful of the Diocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo.
The relics of Padre Pio have been moved to St. Peter’s Basilica through Feb. 11, as part of the celebrations of the Jubilee of Mercy.
“Saint Pio never tired of receiving persons and of listening to them, spending time and effort to spread the perfume of the Lord,” the Pope said. “He could do so because he was always attached to the source, slaking his thirst continually from the Crucified Christ, and he thus became a channel of mercy.”
The Pope referred to the saint in saying that the Padre Pio Prayer Groups are “hotbeds of divine love.”
Prayer, in fact, is a true and proper mission, the Holy Father affirmed.
More than aspirin
The Pope then explained that prayer is not “a good practice to get some peace of heart” nor a “means to obtain from God what is useful to us.”
If prayer were this, he warned, it would be egotistical: “I pray to be well, as if I took an aspirin.” Or prayer would be like a business, doing it to obtain something.
Related: During Jan. 31st Angelus Address, Pope warned against seeing religion as a human investment and consequently, to begin to “negotiate” with God, seeking our own interests
“Prayer, instead,” Francis explained, “is a work of spiritual mercy, which wishes to lead everything to God’s heart. ‘You take charge, who are a Father.’ It should be this way, to say it simply. Prayer is to say: ‘You take charge, who are Father. Look at us, who are Father.’ This is relation with the Father. Prayer is this. It is a gift of faith and of love, an intercession of which there is need as of bread. In a word, it means to entrust: to entrust the Church, to entrust people, to entrust situations to the Father – ‘I entrust this to you’ – so that He takes care of it. Prayer, therefore, as Padre Pio loved to say, is ‘the best weapon we have, a key that opens God’s heart.’ A key that opens God’s heart: it is an easy key. God’s heart is not armoured with many means of security. With prayer, you can open it with an ordinary key, because He has a heart of love, the heart of a Father.”
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Full text of the address, including a reflection on how those who suffer are in need of humanity, and the story of the death of one of the Pope’s priest-friends: