The pope has taken one of the most heartfelt pleas of the Gospel as his personal supplication to Jesus each night.
With the Novena to the Sacred Heart, we’ve stopped to reflect with Pope Francis on the devotion to the Five Wounds of Christ.
For the pope, contemplation of Jesus’ wounds is contemplation of his mercy, of his consolation, of his saving protection.
The prayer the Holy Father prays every night reflects this devotion.
At a general audience in 2016, he revealed his nighttime prayer routine:
“Lord, if you will, you can make me clean” (Lk 5:12) is the request that we heard addressed to Jesus by a leper. This man did not ask only to be healed, but to be “made clean,” that is, wholly restored, in body and in heart. Indeed, leprosy was considered a form of a curse of God, of profound uncleanliness. A leper had to stay away from everyone; he could not access the temple nor any divine service. Far from God and far from men. These people lived a sad life!
… All that is done and said by this man, who was considered unclean, is an expression of his faith! He recognizes Jesus’ power: he is certain that Jesus has the power to heal him and that all depends on His will. This faith is the force that allows him to break every convention and seek the encounter with Jesus and, kneeling before Him, he calls Him “Lord.”
The supplication of the leper demonstrates that when we present ourselves to Jesus it is not necessary to make long speeches. A few words are enough, provided that they are accompanied by complete trust in his omnipotence and in his goodness. Entrusting ourselves to God’s will in fact means remitting ourselves to his infinite mercy.
I will even share with you a personal confidence. In the evening, before going to bed, I say this short prayer: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean!” And I pray five “Our Fathers,” one for each of Jesus’ wounds, because Jesus has cleansed us with his wounds. If I do this, you can do it too, in your home, and say: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean!” and think about Jesus’ wounds and say an “Our Father” for each of them. Jesus always hears us.