Francis opens his heart and asks for prayer to fulfill his mission

In The Pope Video of November, Francis reveals that “being Pope is also a process” and he asks to pray for the Pope “whoever he might be, today it is my turn, may receive the help of the Holy Spirit.” The Pope Video turns into a moving confession in which Francis emphasizes that “the fact that someone is Pope doesn’t mean they lose their humanity,” and acknowledges that the faithful people’s prayer “give me strength.”

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 10.31.2023).- In The Pope Video November edition, Francis opens wide his heart to admit that he needs the faithful people’s prayer to be able to carry out his mission. “Pray to the Lord that he will bless me,” the Bishop of Rome states before admitting that “your prayer gives me strength and helps me to discern and to accompany the Church, listening to the Holy Spirit.”

The video, that has just been released by the iniciative of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, has this time an intimate tone, since it is dedicated to this month’s intention: “For the Pope.” The images accompanying the Holy Father’s words also have an intimate tone: he tells the story of his pontificate through his emotions. Apart from the best-known moments, such as the first moments after his election, there are others that are almost unknown, made up of hugs and prayers in different parts of the world. They are joined together by Francis’ great and catching humanity, which is confirmed once again by the choice of the prayer intention for this month and the accompanying message.

A Pope “doesn’t lose his humanity”

Francis keeps on building up a confident environment when he assures that “the fact that someone is Pope doesn’t mean they lose their humanity. On the contrary, my humanity grows each day with God’s holy and faithful people.” In fact, he acknowledges: “Being Pope is also a process. The person becomes aware of what it means to be a pastor. And in this process, he learns how to be more charitable, more merciful, and, above all, more patient, like God our Father, who is so patient.”

The current successor of the apostle Peter “can imagine that at the beginning of their pontificate, all the Popes had this feeling of trepidation, apprehension, knowing that he will be judged harshly. For the Lord will ask us Bishops to give a serious account.”

The Pope asks to be judged “with benevolence.”

The Pope addresses all those who will watch and listen to his message, asking them to “judge him with benevolence. And to pray that the Pope, whoever he might be (…) may receive the help of the Holy Spirit, that he may be docile to that help.”

 

 

According to the tradition of the Apostleship of Prayer (the former name of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network), all Popes have entrusted to the Church a prayer intention each month since 1879, through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. This month, the prayer intention is the following: “We pray for the Pope, so that in the exercise of his mission, he may continue to accompany in the faith the flock entrusted to him by Jesus, always with the help of the Holy Spirit.” The Pope finishes the video with a pintch of humor: “Pray for me. Favorably!”.

Since the first day of his pontificate

Fr Frédéric Fornos S.J., International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, acknowledges that Francis’ video is significant because from day one, in these ten years, his pontificate has been characterised by an uninterrupted request for the prayer of all.

He recalls that unforgettable 13 of March 2013, when the Pope was elected and appeared on the balcony of the Vatican Basilica. Francis, before giving his blessing to the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square, asked for people’s prayer. “I ask you to pray to the Lord to bless me,” Francis said. After highlighting the importance of “People’s prayer asking for the blessing of their bishop”, the new Pope asked for a moment of silence so that those listening could pray for him.

From the beginning, Francis has given great importance to prayer, when he asks to pray not only for him, but also for the challenges facing humanity and the mission of the Church. Francis is the one who has promoted the recreation of the Apostleship of Prayer as the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, making it a Pontifical Work, a Vatican Foundation. It is also the Holy Father who has participated every month since 2016 in the Pope’s Video to talk to everybody’s heart and to invite to pray. He is also the one who has made Click To Pray his prayer platform, creating his personal profile in 2019.

A month to feel with the Church

Fr. Fornos highlights that November, this year dedicated to pray for the Pope, becomes “a month to feel with the Church”, as the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius states. “This feeling invites us to an a priori of benevolence, to embrace the discernment of the Bishop of Rome, who leads the communion of all the Churches, and in his universal gaze helps us to recognise the action of the Spirit of the Lord”, he concludes.

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