"God's patience, I would say, is the patience of a father and a mother together."
Pope Francis gave his second catechesis on prayer at the general audience of May 13.
We offer here a selection of his insights:
The source of prayer
Prayer belongs to everyone: to men and women of every religion, and probably even to those people who do not profess any religion.
To pray, therefore, is not something marginal in us, it is not some second place or insignificant faculty. It is, rather, the most intimate mystery of our beings. It is this mystery which prays.
Our emotions pray, but it cannot be said that prayer is solely about feelings. The intelligence prays, but is not solely an intellectual act. The body prays, but can speak with God even in the most serious disability. It is, therefore, every part of the human person who prays, if his or her “heart” prays.
Prayer without fear
Prayer is the voice of an “I” that gropes, that tentatively fumbles, in search of a “You.”
The prayer of a Christian is born from a revelation: the “You” has not remained shrouded in mystery, but has entered into relationship with us.
The prayer of the Christian enters into relation with the God whose face is most tender, who does not want to instil any fear in men and women. This is the first characteristic of Christian prayer.
Christianity has banished from the connection with God any type of “feudal” relationship. In the patrimony of our faith, expressions such as “subjection”, “slavery”, or “vassalage” are not present; but words such as “covenant”, “friendship”, “communion” and “proximity” are.
God's blank cheque
During the long farewell discourse to the disciples, Jesus says: “I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends …
But this is a blank cheque! “Whatever you ask the Father in my name, I grant you!”
God is the friend, the ally, the bridegroom. One can establish a relationship built on confidence with Him in prayer.
We can ask God for anything, everything; explain everything, tell Him everything.
No matter what
It does not matter if we feel lacking in our relationship with God: that we are not great friends, that we are not grateful children, that we are not faithful spouses. He continues loving us.
God is the faithful ally: if men and women cease to love, He, instead, continues to love, even if love leads Him to Calvary.
At times He knocks on the door of our heart but He is not intrusive: He waits. God’s patience with us is the patience of a father, of one who loves us greatly. I would say, it is the patience of a father and a mother together.
Embraced in the mystery
Let us all try to pray thus, entering into the mystery of the Covenant. Let us place ourselves in prayer between the merciful arms of God to feel embraced by that mystery of happiness which is the Trinitarian life, to feel as those who are invited, who have not merited such an honour.
And let us repeat to God, in the awe of prayer: Is it possible that You know love alone? He does not know hatred. He is hated, but He does not know hatred. He knows only love. This is the God to whom we pray. This is the glowing core of every Christian prayer. The God of love, our Father who awaits us and accompanies us.