Highlights from the pope’s homily for Monday:
Courageous, humble and strong prayer can accomplish miracles: this was Pope Francis’ message at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta.
The Pope was commenting on Monday’s Gospel passage which recounts the disciples failure to heal a child; Jesus himself must intervene and laments the disbelief of those present. Responding to the child’s father’s pleas for help He says “everything is possible to one who has faith “. Pope Francis noted that often those who love Jesus don’t risk much on believing in him nor entrust themselves completely to Him:
“But why this disbelief? I believe that it is [when] the heart will not open, when the heart is closed, when the heart wants to have everything under control”.
It is a heart, then, that “does not open” and does not “give control of things to Jesus” – said the Pope – and when the disciples ask him why they could not drive the spirit out of the boy, the Lord replies that the “this kind can only come out through prayer. ” “All of us – he said – carry a little bit of a disbelief, within.” Strong prayer is needed, humble and strong prayer that enables Jesus to carry out the miracle. Prayer to ask for a miracle, to ask for an extraordinary action – he continued – must be an involved prayer, a prayer that unites us all”. To further underline his point, the Holy Father told the story of a young child in Argentina who at only 7 years of age fell ill and was given only a few hours to live by doctors. Her father, an electrician, a “man of faith,” started “acting like madmen – said the Pope – and in that state of madness “took a bus to the Marian Shrine of Lujan, 70 km away”.“He finally arrived after 9 pm, when everything was closed. And he began to pray to Our Lady, with his hands gripping the iron fence. And he prayed, and prayed, and wept, and prayed … and that’s the way he remained all night long. But this man was struggling: he was struggling with God, he struggled with God Himself to heal his daughter. Then, at 6 in the morning, he went to the bus station, took the bus and arrived home, in the hospital at 9 am, more or less. And he found his wife weeping. And he thought the worst. “What’s happened? I do not understand, I do not understand! What has happened? ‘. ‘Well, the doctors came and they told me that the fever is gone, she is breathing well, that there is nothing! They will leave her for two days more, but I do not understand what happened! This still happens, eh? Miracles do happen”.
But we need to pray with our hearts concluded the Pope:
A courageous prayer, that struggles to achieve a miracle, not prayers of courtesy, ‘Ah, I will pray for you,’ I say an Our Father, a Hail Mary and then I forget. No: a courageous prayer, like that of Abraham, who struggled with the Lord to save the city, like that of Moses who held his hands high and tired himself out, praying to the Lord, like that of many people, so many people who have faith and pray with faith. Prayer works wonders, but we have to believe! I think we can make a beautiful prayer … and tell Him today, all day long, ‘Lord, I believe, help my unbelief’ … and when people ask ask us to pray for the many people who suffer in wars, all refugees, all of these dramas that exist right now, pray, but with your heart to the Lord: ‘Do it!’, but tell Him: ‘Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief ‘that is also in my prayers. Let us do this today. “