Pope Francis has once again stressed the power of prayer as he continued his catechesis during his weekly general audience on May 27.
This time, the pope focused on the first chapters of Genesis that tells of the fall of Adam and Eve and on the murder of Abel at the hands of his brother, Cain.
He juxtaposed the evil behind these character’s sinful actions with the good behind the sincere prayers of just people like Abel, Seth, and Noah.
The pontiff then invited the faithful to emulate righteous men and women of prayer in asking God for healing, growth, and transformation.
“We too still experience the presence of wickedness in the world,” he said. “Yet God’s will for his creatures is for the good, not for evil,” said Pope Francis.
He said Abel, Seth, Enoch, and Noah in the Bible “acted humbly and prayed to God with sincerity.”
“These just men of prayer were peacemakers who show that authentic prayer, freed from the tendency to violence, is a hope-filled gaze directed to God, which can cultivate new life in place of arid hatred,” said the pontiff.
He said that throughout history, “righteous men and women of prayer … have ceaselessly offered up intercession for the world, invoking God’s power to bring about healing and growth.”
“May we, like them, faithfully ask God to fulfil his work of transforming hearts of stone into hearts of flesh,” he said.
At the end the of general audience, Pope Francis delivered a tailored message for the different nationalities in the audience.
Addressing French-speaking pilgrims, he reminded them of the upcoming Solemnity of Pentecost and invited them to pray to the Holy Spirit “to become men and women of peace and kinship that can bring gifts of trust and hope into the world.”
The Solemnity of Pentecost was also at the heart of his words to the English-speaking believers upon whom he invoked an abundance of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The pope invited the Germans to follow the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary who “with her constant prayer together with the Apostles, she invoked the Holy Spirit upon the Church who renews men and women in Christ’s love.”
The pope urged Spanish-speaking faithful to read the first pages of the Book of Genesis to “rediscover the power that the prayer of the ‘friends of God’ have so that we might do the same.”
He then urged them to invoke God’s name confidently so that the Lord “might heal the world from all its wounds and so that we might experience the joy of salvation.”
To the Arabic-speaking listeners, the pope said: “Prayer does not change God, but changes us, making us more docile to His will.”
He said that “praying allows us to gradually enter into the divine light that purifies our hearts from all darkness.”
Pope Francis reminded Polish pilgrims of the Pentecost. In this difficult time, he said “Let us pray with the words spoken by Pope St. John Paul II in Warsaw: ‘May your Spirit descend and renew the face of the earth! Of this earth!”
To Portuguese pilgrims, the pontiff said prayer “opens the doors of our life to God who teaches us to go out of ourselves towards others, offering consolation, hope and support.”