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General Audience, 09/20/2017, Screenshot CTV

General Audience, Screenshot Vatican Media

GENERAL AUDIENCE: On the Creed and Universal Prayer

‘All is possible for one who believes’

This morning’s General Audience was held at 9:45 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.

Before going to the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope met with the sick present, gathered in Paul VI Hall given the bad weather.

Continuing with the catechesis on the Holy Mass, in his address in Italian the Pope focused his meditation on the Liturgy of the Word: the Creed and Universal Prayer (from the Gospel according to John 15:7-8).

After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to groups of faithful present.

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! Good morning even if the day is a bit nasty. However, if the spirit is joyful it’s always a good day. So, good morning! Today the Audience will take place in two areas: a small group of the sick is in the Hall, given the weather, and we are here. But we see them and they see us in the giant screen. We greet them with an applause.

We continue with the catechesis on the Mass. To what does the listening of the biblical Readings, prolonged in the homily, respond? It responds to a right: the spiritual right of the People of God to receive abundantly the treasure of the Word of God (Cf. Introduction to the Lectionary, 45). When we go to Mass, each one of us has the right to receive abundantly the Word of God well read, well said and then, explained well in the homily. It’s a right! And when the Word of God isn’t read well, isn’t preached with fervour by the Deacon, by the Priest of by the Bishop, one fails a right of the faithful. We have the right to hear the Word of God. The Lord speaks to all, Pastors and faithful. He knocks at the heart of all those taking part in the Mass, each one in his condition of life, age <and> situation. The Lord consoles, calls, brings forth shoots of new and reconciled life. And <He does> this through His Word; His Word knocks at the heart and changes hearts!

Therefore, after the homily, a time of silence enables one to settle the seed received in the spirit, so that resolutions of adherence are born to what the Spirit has suggested to each one. Silence after the homily — there must be a beautiful silence there — and each one must think about what he has heard.

After this silence, how does the Mass continue? The personal response of faith is inserted in the Church’s profession of faith, expressed in the Creed.” We all recite the “Creed” in the Mass. Recited by the whole assembly, the Symbol manifests the common response to what has been heard together of the Word of God (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 185-197). There is a vital nexus between listening and faith. They are united. The latter — faith –, in fact, is not born from the imagination of human minds but, as Saint Paul reminds, “from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Faith is nourished, therefore, with listening and leads to the Sacrament. So the recitation of the “Creed” is such that it makes the liturgical assembly “turn to meditate and profess the great mysteries of the faith, before their celebration in the Eucharist” [Ordinamento Generale del Messale Romano, (OGMR) 67].

The Symbol of faith links the Eucharist to Baptism, received “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” and reminds us that the Sacraments are comprehensible in the light of the faith of the Church.

The response to the Word of God received with faith is then expressed in the common supplication, called the Universal Prayer, because it encompasses the needs of the Church and of the world (Cf. OGMR, 69-71; Introduction to the Lectionary, 30-31). It is also called Prayer of the Faithful.

The Fathers of Vatican II wished to restore this prayer after the Gospel and the homily, especially on Sunday and feasts, so that “with the participation of the people, prayers are said for the Holy Church, for those that govern us, for those that find themselves in various needs, for all men and for the salvation of the whole world” (Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 53; Cf. I Timothy 2:1-2). Therefore, under the guidance of the Priest who introduces and concludes, ”the people, exercising their own baptismal priesthood, offer prayers to God for the salvation of all” (OGMR, 69). And after the individual intentions, proposed by the Deacon or a reader, the assembly unites its voice invoking: “Hear us, O Lord.”

We remember, in fact, all that the Lord Jesus has said to us: “If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever you will, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). However, we don’t believe this, because we have little faith.” But, Jesus says, if we had faith as a grain of mustard, we would receive everything. “Ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” And in this moment of the Universal Prayer after the Creed, is the moment to ask the Lord for the most intense things in the Mass, the things of which we are in need, what we want.  “It shall be done for you,” in one way or another, but “It shall be done for you.” “All is possible for one who believes,” said the Lord. What did that man answer, whom the Lord addressed to say this word — all is possible for one who believes? He said: “I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.” And we must pray with this spirit of faith: “I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.” Mundane logical pretensions, instead, don’t take off to Heaven, just as self-referential requests remain unheard (Cf. James 4:2-3). The intentions for which the faithful people are invited to pray must give voice to concrete needs of the ecclesial community and of the world, avoiding taking recourse to conventional or myopic formulas. The “Universal” Prayer, which concludes the Liturgy of the Word, exhorts us to make our own God’s look, who takes care of all His children.

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

In Italian

A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking faithful.

I greet, in particular, the participants in the Course, organized by the Congregation for the Clergy, for those responsible for the permanent formation of the Clergy in Latin America; the Claretian Missionaries; the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres and the Religious Daughters of Jesus.

I greet the youngsters from Tezze sul Brenta; the parishes; the group of the Confirmed of Valbona and Lozzo Atestino and the Confirmation candidates of Monselice and Arqua Petrarca. Moreover, I greet the Associations and school Institutes, in particular L’Arca of Legnano and the De Filippo of Rome. I exhort you to revive your faith, to be witnesses of the love of the Lord with concrete works of charity.

A special thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Today, Ash Wednesday, the Lenten journey begins. Dear young people, I hope you will live this time of grace as a return to the Love of the Father, who waits for all with open arms. Dear sick, I encourage you to offer your sufferings for the conversion of those that live far from the faith; and I invite you, dear newlyweds, to build your new family on the rock of the love of God.

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

Greeting to the Sick in Paul VI Hall

Thank you for the visit. I give you all the blessing. I’m going to the Square and you can follow from here the Audience in the Square. They will see you from the Square, ok! You will see the Square and the Square will see you. And this is good. Let us pray a Hail Mary to Our Lady.

[Recitation of the Hail Mary and Blessing]

And pray for me! Don’t forget, o.k.! Good audience. See you later. Thank you! 

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

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