L'Osservatore Romano

At General Audience, Pope Shares a Special Prayer He Says at Night

Reflecting on Jesus Healing the Leper, Reminds Faithful We Too Must Ask Lord to Make Us Clean

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Curious how Pope Francis ends his day? Well, he shared this personal detail during today’s General Audience.
This morning in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father continued his catechesis for the Holy Year of Mercy, turning to Jesus’ healing of the leper (Lk 5:12-14).
Francis recalled that at Jesus’ time, lepers were considered unclean and bound by law to avoid contact with others. Saint Luke tells of one leper, moved by faith, who did not fear to pass among the crowds and beg Jesus to cleanse him.
«All that this man does and says, [this man] who was considered impure, is an expression of his faith!» Francis said, noting he recognizes the power of Jesus, certain of His power to cure him.
«The leper’s supplication,» the Pope explained, «shows that when we present ourselves to Jesus, long speeches are not necessary. A few words suffice, though accompanied by full confidence in His omnipotence and in His goodness. In fact, to entrust ourselves to the will of God means to submit to His infinite mercy.»
The Pope then departed from his text, saying he wanted to share something personal with those present.
«In the evening, before going to bed, I pray this brief prayer: ‘Lord, if you will, you can cleanse me!’ And I pray five ‘Our Fathers,’ one for each wound of Jesus, because Jesus has purified us with His wounds.»
«But if I do this, you can also do it at home,» Francis encouraged, telling them to say: ‘Lord, if you will, you can cleanse me!’ As one does this, Francis said, «Think of Jesus’ wounds and say an Our Father for each one of them, for Jesus always listens to us.»
The Pope, who has never shied away from gestures toward «the excluded,» recalled how Jesus stretched His hand and even touched this leper, rejected by society.
«How many times we meet a poor man who comes to us?!» Francis asked, «We can even be generous, we can have compassion, but usually we do not touch him. We offer him money, we throw it there, but we avoid touching his hand.»
When we keep this distance, the Holy Father underscored, we forget that that person is part of the Body of Christ, for Jesus taught us to not be afraid to touch the poor and excluded.
«To touch a poor man can purify us of hypocrisy and render us concerned for his condition. Touch the excluded,» Francis said, reminding those gathered of the refugees with him on the stage.
Before concluding, the Holy Father urged those present to every night kneel before God and pray: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean!”
«And do it, do it every evening before going to bed. And now we say together this beautiful prayer: ‘Lord, if you will, you can make me clean!’” Pope Francis said.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Text: https://zenit.org/articles/general-audience-on-being-made-clean-again/

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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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