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General Audience © Zenit/María Langarica

General Audience Full Text: Jesus’ Words to the Father

‘Easter: Prayer to the Father in Trial’

This morning’s General Audience was held at 9:20 in St. Peter’s Square, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world.

On the eve of the Easter Triduum, in his address in Italian the Pope focused his meditation on the theme: “Easter: Prayer to the Father in Trial” (From the Gospel according to Mark 14:32-36a).

After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to groups of faithful present. At the end of his greeting to the French-speaking pilgrims, the Holy Father expressed his closeness to the city of Paris and to all the French people for the fire that devastated a great part of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.

* * *

The Holy Father’s Catechesis

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

In these weeks we are reflecting on the prayer of the “Our Father.” Now, on the eve of the Easter Triduum, we pause on some words with which Jesus, during his Passion, prayed to the Father.

The first invocation happened after the Last Supper, when the Lord “lifted up His eyes to Heaven and said: ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son’ — and then — ‘glorify Thou Me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was made’” (John 17:1.5). Jesus asks for glory, a request that seems paradoxical while the Passion is imminent. What kind of glory is it? In the Bible, glory indicates God’s revealing Himself; it’s the distinct sign of His saving presence among men. Now Jesus is He who manifests definitively the presence and salvation of God. And He does so at Easter: raised on the cross, He is glorified (Cf. John 12:23-33). There, God finally reveals His glory: He takes away the last veil and astonishes us as never before.  We discover, in fact, that God’s glory is all love: pure love, mad and unthinkable, beyond every limit and measure.

Brothers and sisters, let’s make Jesus’ prayer our own: let us ask the Father to take away the veils from our eyes so that in these days, looking at the Crucified, we can understand that God is love. How often we imagine Him Master and not Father; how often we think of Him as a severe Judge rather than as a merciful Saviour! However, at Easter God reduces the distances, showing Himself in the humility of a love that asks for our love. Therefore, we give Him glory when we live all that we do with love, when we do each thing from our heart, as for Him (Cf. Colossians 3:17). True glory is the glory of love because it’s the only one that gives life to the world. This glory is certainly the opposite of worldly glory, which comes when one is admired, praised, acclaimed: when I am at the center of attention. Instead, God’s glory is paradoxical: no applause, no audience. The ‘I’ isn’t at the center but the other: at Easter we see in fact that the Father glorifies the Son while the Son glorifies the Father. Neither glorifies Himself. We can ask ourselves today:  “What is the glory for which I live, mine or God’s? Do I only want to receive from others or also give to others?”

After the Last Supper, Jesus enters the Garden of Gethsemane and here too, He prays to the Father. While the disciples are unable to stay awake and Judas is arriving with the soldiers, Jesus begins to feel “fear and anguish.” He experiences all the anguish of what awaits Him: betrayal, contempt, suffering <and> failure. He is “sad” and there, in the abyss of that desolation, He addressed the most tender and sweet word to the Father: “Abba,” namely, Daddy (Cf. Mark 14:33-36) In trial Jesus teaches us to embrace the Father, because in prayer to Him there is the strength to go forward in sorrow. In toil, prayer is relief, entrustment <and> comfort. In the abandonment of all, in His interior desolation, Jesus isn’t alone; He is with the Father. We, instead, in our Gethsemane’s often choose to stay alone rather than say “Father” and entrust ourselves, like Jesus, to His Will, which is our true good. However, when we remain closed in on ourselves in trial we dig a tunnel inside, a painful, introverted course, which has only one direction: always deeper into ourselves. The greatest problem isn’t pain but how it’s faced. Solitude doesn’t offer ways out; prayer does, because it is relationship, it is entrustment. Jesus entrusts everything and everything is entrusted to the Father, taking to Him what he feels, leaning on Him in the struggle. When we enter our Gethsemane’s — each one of us has his/her own Gethsemane or has had them or will have them — let us remember this: when we enter in our Gethsemane, let us remind ourselves to pray thus: “Father.” We must remember to pray thus: “Father.”

Finally, Jesus addresses a third prayer to the Father for us: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Jesus prays for those that were wicked to Him, for His killers. The Gospel specifies that this prayer happened at the moment of the crucifixion. It was probably the moment of the most acute pain when the nails were hammered into His wrists and His feet. Here, at the summit of pain, He reaches the apex of love: forgiveness comes, namely, the gift of the umpteenth power, which breaks the circle of evil.

Praying the “Our Father” in these days, we can ask for one of these graces: to live our days for the glory of God, namely, to live with love; to be able to entrust ourselves to the Father in trials and say “Daddy” to the Father and find in the encounter with the Father the forgiveness and courage to forgive. Both things go together. The Father forgives us, but He gives us the courage to be able to forgive.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

  

In Italian

 A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking faithful. I’m happy to receive the participants in the UNIV 2019 Meeting. Dear young people who live these days of formation, on the example of Saint Josemaria, base your life ever more on the values of the faith so that, changing yourselves on the model of Christ, you will be able to transform the world around you.

I greet the Parishes; the school Institutes, in particular, those of Aversa and Teramo; the group of the Legion of the Piedmont Police and Valle d’Aosta and the Christian Family Association.

A particular thought goes to young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. The Easter Triduum begins tomorrow, fulcrum of the whole Liturgical Year. May Christ Jesus’ Easter make you reflect on the love that God has shown for all. May the Lord grant you to take part fully in the mystery of His Death and Resurrection, and help you to make His sentiments your own and to share them with your neighbor.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

About Virginia Forrester

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