When you are asking yourself ‘why,’ courageously knock on God’s heart with prayer.
Pope Francis gave this advice during the Mass he celebrated in Rome’s Marian Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, to commemorate the centenary of the Congregation for Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Oriental Institute.
This morning, before the Mass, the Pontiff visited the Pontifical Oriental Institute. Upon his arrival, the Pope greeted the Superiors of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Patriarchs and the Major Archbishops. Then, in the garden of the institute, he blessed a cypress in the presence of the students, and in another hall, he met and greeted benefactors and the Jesuit community.
During the Mass, Francis recalled that today we remember the congregation and insitute’s foundation by Pope Benedict XV, 100 years ago in 1917.
Noting that at that time, the First World War had broken out, Francis added: “Today – as I have already said – we live another World War.”
“We see many of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Eastern Churches experiencing dramatic persecution and an increasingly disturbing diaspora,” he said, noting, “This causes so many questions, many ‘why’s?'”
The Holy Father lamented those nowadays who are wicked and unscrupulous, and who seek their own interests “crushing others.” To them, Francis observed, everything seems fine and they go about enjoying their lives.
“Hence the question,” Francis posed: “Why Lord?”
God, Francis stressed, does not forget His children. He always remembers those who do good, and the suffering and oppressed, who ask “why?”, but never stop trusting in God.
“How many times did the Virgin Mary, in her journey, ask “why?”; but in her heart, meditating on everything, God’s grace brought her faith and hope.
As a passage in the Gospel of Luke reminds, prayer is our tool to break into God’s memory, Francis said.
“When praying, it takes the courage of faith: to have confidence that the Lord will listen to us, the courage to knock on the door.”
The Lord says: “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (v. 10).
“But is our prayer really so?” Francis asked, noting do we let it involve our hearts and lives.
Pondering whether we can we really knock on God’s heart, Francis reminded that in the same Gospel passage Jesus says: “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?”
The Holy Father reminded Jesus’ message that Fathers do the will of their children, and our Father in Heaven, for this reason, gave His children something much greater: the Holy Spirit.
“Man knocks with prayer at God’s door to ask for grace. And He, who is Father, gives me that, and more: the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Pope Francis reminded that being brave in prayer, inspires and nourishes service to the Church, which will help in producing fruit and will make us like trees whose “leaves do not dry.”
“Let us learn to knock on the heart of God, and do so courageously,” Pope Francis said.