Ask the Lord, ‘How are You?’

Pope Francis offered advice for building “a more mature and more beautiful relationship with the Lord” through prayer.

Nov 25, 2022

It may seem strange, to ask the Lord how He is, but it is actually “a beautiful way to enter into a true, sincere relationship with Him. (Freepik photo)


VATICAN:
Pope Francis offered advice for building “a more mature and more beautiful relationship with the Lord” through prayer.

Speaking at his general audience in St Peter’s Square recently, the Pope spoke about spiritual desolation and approaching prayer without solely seeking “emotional gratification” or as “a mere exchange.”

“Many of our prayers are also somewhat like this: they are requests for favours addressed to the Lord, without any real interest in Him,” Pope Francis said.

It may seem strange, to ask the Lord how He is, said the Pope, but it is actually “a beautiful way to enter into a true, sincere relationship with Him, He who wanted to share His life with us to the full,” stressed the Pope.

“It does us a great deal of good to learn to be with Him, to be with the Lord, to learn to be with the Lord without ulterior motives, exactly as it happens with people we care for: we wish to know them more and more because it is good to be with them,” he added.

The Pope pointed to the example of a child’s relationship with his parents. He said that children often look to their parents for what they can give them: a toy, some money, ice cream, etc. It is only when one grows up that the realisation occurs that the greatest gift is one’s parents, to be with them.

“Dear brothers and sisters, the spiritual life is not a technique at our disposal, it is not a programme for inner ‘well-being’ that it is up to us to plan. No. It is the relationship with the Living One, with God,” Francis said.

The Pope’s prayer advice was part of his eighth catechesis in a weekly series on spiritual discernment, which he began at the end of August.

Building upon his most recent catechesis on spiritual desolation, the Pope underlined that the experience of desolation, or feeling emotionally dry in prayer, “can be an occasion for growth.”

“For many saints, restlessness was a decisive impetus to turn their lives around,” he said.

But, he said, when someone lives in a world of “perfect” and “artificial serenity” where they ignore or do not try to understand their true feelings, they will be “indifferent to the sufferings of others and incapable of accepting our own.”

“Important choices come at a price,” the Pope said, but it is “a price that is within reach of everyone.” It is a price paid with prayer, discernment and the effort of coming to a decision.

Paying the price of making a decision is also needed “to get out of a state of indifference, which always drags us down,” he added.

“Experiencing desolation is an invitation to no longer take for granted the people in one’s life, he said, but rather to deepen those relationships, including with God.

Do not be discouraged by difficulties and “do not be afraid of desolation,” said the Holy Father. Move forward with perseverance, “seeking to find Christ’s heart, to find the Lord and the answer will come, always.” — Agencies

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