Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Pope: faith is not rich in concepts, but in facts

The Pope's Angelus Address | The Angelus Prayer

"God does not resist when he is prayed to" with the strength of a faith that "is not rich in concepts, but in facts," said Pope Francis Sunday as he addressed the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Sunday appointment of the Angelus prayer.

Commenting on the Gospel passage, in which the Canaanite convinces Jesus to hear her prayer despite the teacher's initial objection to her being a foreigner (Mt 15:21-28), Francis invited us to reflect on the "strength of the faith of that woman” which leads to a change in Jesus.

Jesus "before the woman's prayer 'anticipates plans'". “God is like this – commented Pope Francis – he is love, and those who love him do not remain rigid in their positions, but allow themselves to be moved and moved; he knows how to change his plans ”.

But we Christians too, "if we want to imitate Christ, are invited to be open to change, to be moved in the name of compassion and the good of others".

Jesus defines the Canaanite's faith as "great" and not just his insistence, as the apostles said. "If we think about it - commented the pontiff - that foreign woman probably knew little, if anything, of the laws and religious precepts of Israel".

Her faith "of her is not rich in concepts, but in facts: she approaches, prostrates, insists, maintains a close dialogue with Jesus, overcomes every obstacle in order to speak to him".

"How often do we fall into the temptation to confuse faith with a label - he added -. The woman's faith is not made up of theological etiquette, but of insistence; not of words, but of prayer”.

Hence the invitation to the faithful to ask themselves: "Am I capable of changing my opinion? Can I be sympathetic and compassionate or do I remain rigid in my positions? And starting from the woman's faith: how is my faith? Do I know how to dialogue with the Lord, insist with him, or am I content to recite some beautiful formula? May Our Lady - he concluded - make us available for good and concrete in faith".

At the end of the prayer, Pope Francis made an appeal for the serious tensions that are shaking Niger and the entire Sahel in Africa. 

"I join the bishops' appeal in favor of peace in the country and stability in the region", said the pontiff, inviting prayers to support "the efforts of the international community to find a peaceful solution as soon as possible for the good of all ”.

"We ask for peace for all populations wounded by wars and violence - added Francis - especially for Ukraine which has been suffering for a long time".