“It is Jesus who opened up Heaven to us and projected us into a relationship with God,” Pope Francis said at Wednesday’s General Audience. “Jesus has revealed to us the identity, this identity of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Father continued his ongoing catechesis on prayer, focusing this week, and next, on the relationship between prayer and the Trinity. It is thanks to Jesus Christ, the Pope said, “that prayer opens us up to the immense sea of God as love.”
Our poverty before God
The Pope noted that not all prayers are equal, and suggests that “perhaps God at times is not content with our prayers, and we are not even aware of it.” He cites the words of St Francis of Assisi, in the Canticle of the Sun: “No man is worthy to mention Your Name”; as well as the words of the centurion from the Gospel, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof,” which we repeat at every Mass.
“There are no obvious reasons” why “humanity should be so loved by God,” or why He should hear our prayers, the Pope said. He noted that throughout history, people have seen gods or divinities as distant and uncaring, unconcerned about human affairs. “If anything,” he said, “It is we who try to convince the deity and to be pleasing to his eyes.”
“A God that loves humanity”
It is only through Jesus that we have the “courage” to believe in a God that loves humanity, the Pope said. We see the love of God in the parables of the merciful father and of the shepherd who goes in search of the lost sheep.
But, Pope Francis said, “We would not have been able to conceive or even comprehend such stories if we had not met Jesus.”
“What kind of God is prepared to die for people? What kind of God loves always and patiently, without demanding to be loved in return? What God accepts the tremendous lack of gratitude of a son who asks for his inheritance in advance and leaves home, squandering everything?”
It is through His life, and His willingness to die for us, that Jesus shows us “the extent to which God is our Father… the paternity that is closeness, compassion, and tenderness.”
We cannot comprehend the mutual love of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, Pope Francis said, and without Jesus, we would not have been able to begin to understand “that this divine love would expand, landing on our human shore.”
Quoting the Catechism, Pope Francis explained, “The sacred humanity of Jesus is therefore the way by which the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray to God our Father.” This, he said in conclusion, “is the grace of our faith. We truly could not have hoped for a higher vocation: the humanity of Jesus is made available to us the very life of the Trinity.”