Jesus wasn’t guided through his life on earth by popularity polls, the pursuit of wealth, a passion for fame, or the influence of the rich and powerful. His path was paved by prayer.
That was the gist of Pope Francis’ commentary during his November 4, 2020, general audience. Due to increased pandemic restrictions, the Pope broadcast the event live from the Apostolic Library of the Vatican, absent an audience.
“Prayer was the rudder that guides Jesus’ course,” the Pope proclaimed. “It was not success, it was not consensus, it was not the seductive phrase ‘everyone is searching for you’, that dictated the stages of His mission. The path Jesus charted was the least comfortable one, but it was the one by which He obeyed the Father’s inspiration, which Jesus heard and welcomed in His solitary prayer.”
Pope Francis went on to recount some characteristics of Christian prayer in the Catechism (no. 2607):
- First and foremost, it possesses primacy: it is the first desire of the day, something that is practiced at dawn before the world awakens. It restores a soul to that which otherwise would be without breath. A day lived without prayer risks being transformed into a bothersome or tedious experience:
- Secondly, prayer is an art to be practiced insistently. Jesus Himself says to us: knock, knock, knock. Jesus Himself says to us: knock, knock, knock.
- Another characteristic of Jesus’ prayer is solitude. Those who pray do not escape from the world, but prefer deserted places.
- Finally, Jesus’ prayer is the place where we perceive that everything comes from God and returns to Him.
The Holy Father concluded by urging everyone to pray and reap the benefits of its practice:
“Dear brothers and sisters, let us rediscover Jesus Christ as a teacher of prayer in the Gospel and place ourselves in His school. I assure you that we will find joy and peace.”