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Pope Francis: audience, Christian prayer is not a “formula” but “begins with the courage to call God Father”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

“Christian prayer begins with the courage to call God ‘Father’”. Pope Francis said this during his General Audience today, concluding his series of catecheses on the Our Father. “It is not a formula, but rather a filial intimacy into which we are introduced by grace”, Pope Francis stressed: “Jesus reveals the Father to us and gives us familiarity with him”. “He does not give us a formula to repeat mechanically”, he said, quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “As in every vocal prayer, it is through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God to pray to their Father”. “Jesus himself has used various expressions to pray to the Father”, Pope Francis noted: “If we read the Gospels carefully, we realise that these expressions of prayer that come from Jesus’ lips evoke the text of the Our Father”. In the night of Gethsemane, for instance, Jesus prays like this: “Abba! Father! All things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will!”, as recorded in the Gospel of Mark. “How can we not recognise in this, albeit short, prayer a trace of the Our Father?”, the Pope remarked, noting that “in the midst of the darkness, Jesus invokes God calling him ‘Abba’, with filial trust and, despite his anguish and fear, asks that his will be done”.

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