General Audience, Francis: “Hope is rooted in faith” In St. Peter Square, the prayer of the Pope for the victims of the conflict in Iraq

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Pope Francis on Wednesday encouraged Christians to always put their trust in God’s word, even at those times when hope seems humanly impossible.

The Pope was addressing pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience.

In his catechesis the Pope encouraged Christians to always put their trust in God’s word, even at those times when hope seems humanly impossible.

Reflecting on St. Paul’s Letter to Romans in which he presents Abraham not only as our father in faith, but also as our father in hope, Francis said the reading helps us put the strong tie that exists between faith and hope into focus.

He said that hoping against hope, Abraham trusted in God’s promise that, despite his old age and that of Sarah his wife, he would become the father of many nations.

“Great hope, he said, is rooted in faith”, that’s why it is able to go beyond all human expectations.

We must all pray to God, open our hearts and He will teach us what hope is” he said.

Reminding those present that  God promises to set us  free from sin and death by the power of Christ’s resurrection, Pope Francis urged the faithful to place their certainties not so much in their own capacities, but in the hope that derives from God’s promise of life.

Faith, he said, teaches us, to hope against hope by putting our own trust in God’s word even at those times when hope seems humanly impossible.

The Pope concluded urging believers to be confirmed in faith and hope during this Lenten journey to Easter, and to accept the promise of new life given us in the Lord’s resurrection.

Pope Francis has appealed for a concerted effort to protect Iraqi civilians who are victims of the ongoing bloody war in their nation and he prayed in particular for those who are trapped in the embattled city of Mosul.

Iraqi forces backed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes are fighting to clear Islamic State militants from Iraq’s second city where the US-led coalition allegedly had a role in a bombing which killed over 200 people.

The Pope’s appeal came at the end of his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square in words to a delegation from the Iraqi Supervisory Board.

The interreligious group was accompanied by Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Pope Francis said, “The richness of the dear Iraqi nation lies exactly in this mosaic, which represents unity in diversity, strength in union, and prosperity in harmony.”

He encouraged efforts toward interreligious harmony and asked for prayers for this end.

“I invite all to pray that Iraq may find peace, unity, and prosperity in reconciliation and in harmony among its different ethnic and religious components.”

The Holy Father then turned his thoughts to the people of western Mosul and those forced to leave the area in search of security.

“My thoughts go to the civilian populations trapped in the western districts of Mosul and to the people displaced by war, to whom I feel united in suffering through prayer and spiritual closeness. While expressing deep sorrow for the victims of the bloody conflict, I renew to all the appeal to engage fully with the civil protection forces, as an imperative and urgent obligation.”

Pope Francis also invited pilgrims from Iraq and other Arab-speaking countries to look to Mary, the Mother of God, and follow her model of faith.

“Like her, we are called to live a life sustained by faith and to look with hope to the completion of the Will of God in our lives. May God bless you!”

Please find below the English synopsis on the Pope’s catechesis:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  In the chapter from the Letter to Romans that opened today’s Audience, Saint Paul presents Abraham not only as our father in faith, but also as our father in hope.  Paul tells us that Abraham put his faith in the God who gives life to the dead, who calls all things into being.  Hoping against hope, he trusted in God’s promise that, despite his old age and that of Sarah his wife, he would become the father of many nations.  In Abraham, we see the close bond existing between faith and hope.  Abraham’s hope in God’s promises was fulfilled in the birth of his son Isaac, and, in the fullness of time, in the “many nations” gathered into a new humanity set free from sin and death by the power of Christ’s resurrection.  Faith teaches us, in fact, to hope against hope by putting our own trust in God’s word even at those times when hope seems humanly impossible.  In our Lenten journey to Easter, may we be confirmed in faith and hope, and show ourselves children of Abraham by accepting the promise of new life given us in the Lord’s resurrection.

Source: Vatican Radio

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