It was a gloomy, raining day in Rome, but that didn’t appear to dampen the enthusiasm of the thousands of pilgrims from around the world who gather in St. Peter’s Square to pray the noonday Angelus with Pope Francis.
Their perseverance was rewarded by being able to listen to his commentary on the 11th chapter of Luke, in which Jesus teaches the “Our Father” to his disciples. He explained that even though his followers know how to pray, they seek the “quality” of prayer that the Son has with the Father.
“They can see that prayer is an essential dimension in the life of the Teacher; in fact, every important action of His is characterized by prolonged pauses of prayer,” the Holy Father explained. “Moreover, they are fascinated because they see that He doesn’t pray as the other teachers of prayer of the time, but His prayer is an intimate bond with the Father, so much so that they want to be participants in these moments of union with God to savor its sweetness completely.”
When the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray, his response is specific. He shows them how to connect directly with the Father.
“Here is the novelty of Christian prayer! It’s a dialogue between persons that love each other; a dialogue that is based on trust, supported by listening and open to solidary commitment,” Francis continued. “It’s a dialogue of the Son with the Father, a dialogue between children and the Father. This is Christian prayer.”
The Pope continued by explaining that this prayer is a “precious gift” through which the Christian can enjoy a direct dialogue with God:
“It’s a dialogue between a Daddy and his child and of the child with his Daddy. What we ask for in the “Our Father” is already realized and given to us in the Only-Begotten Son: the sanctification of the Name, the coming of the Kingdom, the gift of bread, of forgiveness and of freedom from evil. While we ask, we open our hand to receive.”