VATICAN CITY — “Open your heart to faith, and God will do the rest,” even at those times when hope seems humanly impossible.
This was Pope Francis’ message today at the Wednesday general audience, as he continued his series on Christian hope, with a meditation on the bond between hope and faith.
Here’s a 90-second video and Aleteia’s 9-point overview of today’s general audience:
Hoping against Hope: 9 Key Points
Hope wedded to faith
Pope Francis centered his reflection on the example of Abraham, known as our father in faith. God told Abraham he would have descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, but in his old age, he was still childless and Sarah, his wife, was barren. Francis explained how Abraham “in hope, believed against hope” (Rom 4:18), and said:
- “Our hope does not rest on human reasoning, predictions and reassurances, and it shows itself precisely where there is no more hope … as happened to Abraham.”
- “Great hope is rooted in faith, and precisely for this it is able to hope against all hope. Yes, because it is not based on our word, but on the Word of God.”
- “In this sense, too, then we are called to follow the example of Abraham who, faced with the evidence of a reality that seemed destined for death, trusts in God, ‘fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.’” (Rom. 4:21)
Open your heart
Pope Francis asked the crowds:
- “Are we all convinced of this? Are we convinced that God loves us and that he is ready to bring to fruition all that he has promised us?” But, he added, “there is one price: opening your heart.” The pope continued:
- “Open your hearts and God’s strength will carry you forward and will do marvelous things, and teach you what hope is. There is only one price: opening your heart to faith, and he will do the rest.
- “This is the paradox and, at the same time, the strongest, loftiest element of our hope! A hope founded on a promise which from a human point of view seems uncertain and unpredictable, but that doesn’t falter even in the face of death, when it is the God of the Resurrection and of life who promises it. It isn’t just anyone who is promising it! The One who promises is the God of the Resurrection and of life.”
The heavenly piazza
Like Abraham, we can offer everything in our life as a “hymn to God, who liberates and regenerates,” especially as we look forward to the mystery of Easter, Pope Francis said. He concluded:
- “Let us ask the Lord today for the grace to remain rooted not so much in our own securities, our own abilities, but on the hope that flows from God’s promise, like true sons of Abraham.”
- “When God makes a promise, he brings to fulfillment what he promises. His word never fails. And so our lives take on a new light, in the awareness that He who raised his Son will also raise us up, and truly make us one with Him.”
- “Today we are in [St. Peter’s] square. We are praising the Lord, and we will chant the Our Father, then we will receive the blessing …. But this passes. But this is also a promise of hope. If we today have an open heart, I promise you that all us us will meet again in the heavenly square that never passes away. This is God’s promise and this is our hope, if we open our hearts.”