Francis reflects that only a son or daughter can be angry with a father, and yet have the closeness to seek and encounter him anew.
Pope Francis on June 3 continued his catechesis series on prayer, noting the great change in history that comes about with the call of Abraham.
Prior to God reaching out to him, the pope said, “Logic would suggest that [Abraham] worshipped other divinities; perhaps he was a wise man, used to peering at the sky and the stars.” But in response to God’s promise – a promise that could only be trusted — “Abraham leaves. He hears God’s voice and trusts His word.”
And with this departure a new way of conceiving the relationship with God is born; it is for this reason that the Patriarch Abraham is present in the great Jewish, Christian and Islamic spiritual traditions as the perfect man of God, capable of submitting to Him, even when His will is difficult, if not even incomprehensible.
Pope Francis reflected that “in Abraham’s life, faith becomes history.”
God is no longer seen only in cosmic phenomena, as a distant God who can inspire terror. The God of Abraham becomes “my God,” the God of my personal history, who guides my steps, who does not abandon me; the God of my days, the companion of my adventures; the God of Providence. I ask myself, and I ask you: do we have this experience of God? “My God”; the God who accompanies me, the God of my personal history, the God who guides my steps, who does not abandon me, the God of my days? Do we have this experience?
The Holy Father concluded his reflection on Abraham with a note on the intimacy that he shared with God, a familiarity that allowed him “even to be able to argue with Him,” though he was always faithful to his obedience.
Abraham “speaks with God and argues. Up to the supreme test, when God asks him to sacrifice his very own son.”
“Let us learn from Abraham,” the Holy Father invited. “Let us learn to pray with faith: listen to the Lord, walk, dialogue to the point of arguing. We must not be afraid of discussing with God!”
I will also say something that seems to be a heresy. Many times I have heard people say: “You know, this happened to me and I am angry with God.” “Do you have the courage to be angry with God?” “Yes, I am angry.” “But this is a form of prayer.” Because only a son or daughter is capable of being angry with his or her father, and then find him again. Let us learn from Abraham to pray with faith, to dialogue, to discuss, but always willing to accept God’s word and put it into practice. With God, we learn to speak like a son to his father: to listen to him, to answer, to argue. But transparent, like a son with his father. This is how Abraham teaches us to pray.