Yesterday, Pope Francis held his Wednesday morning General Audience at 9:30 am in the Library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, giving a catechesis on the theme of “Abraham’s prayer.”
After his catechesis, Pope Francis spoke out against all forms of racism and exclusion in the wake of George Floyd’s death while at the same time addressing the violent riots that have taken place.
“I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd. My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that ‘the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.'”
We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form. At the same time, we have to recognize that violence is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost. Let us pray for reconciliation and peace.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 3, 2020
Pope Francis prayed for George Floyd and all who lost their lives because of racism, families and friends affected, and for peace across the United States.
“Today I join the Church of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and of all the United States, in praying for the rest of the soul of George Floyd and all the others who have lost their lives because of the sin of racism. Let us pray for the comfort of families and friends who are heartbroken, and pray for national reconciliation and the peace we yearn for. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and in the world. God bless you all and your families.”
Watch Pope Francis address the United States below:
You can read Pope Francis full catechesis (on Genesis 15:1-6) given at his Wednesday General Audience below:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
There is a voice that resounds suddenly in Abraham’s life. A voice that invites him to undertake a journey that seems absurd: a voice that spurs him to uproot himself from his homeland, from the roots of his family, to go towards a new future, a different future. And all on the basis of a promise, which he has only to trust. And to trust in a promise isn’t easy; one needs courage. And Abraham trusted.
The Bible is silent about the first Patriarch’s past. The logic of things lets one assume that he adored other divinities; perhaps he was a wise man, accustomed to scrutinizing the sky and the stars. In fact, the Lord promises him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars that dot the skies.
And Abraham leaves. He listens to God’s voice and trusts His word. This is important: he trusts in God’s word. And with his departure a new way is born of conceiving the relationship with God; it’s for this reason that Patriarch Abraham is present in the great Jewish, Christian and Islamic spiritual traditions as the perfect man of God, capable of submitting to Him, even when His Will is revealed arduous, if not downright incomprehensible.”
Therefore, Abraham is the man of the Word. When God speaks, man becomes receptor of that Word and his life the place in which it asks to be incarnated. This is a great novelty in man’s religious journey: the life of the believer begins to be conceived as vocation, namely, as a call, as the place where a promise is realized; and he moves in the world not so much under the weight of an enigma, but with the strength of that promise, which will be realized one day. And Abraham believed in God’s promise. He believed and went, without knowing where he was going — so says the Letter to the Hebrews (Cf. 11:8). But he trusted.
On reading the Book of Genesis, we discover how Abraham lived prayer in continual fidelity to that Word, which periodically appeared along his journey. In sum, we can say that in Abraham’s life faith became history; faith became history. In fact, with his life, with his example, Abraham teaches us this way, this path, on which faith becomes history. God is no longer seen only in cosmic phenomena, as a distant God, who can strike terror. The God of Abraham becomes “my God,” the God of my personal story, who guides my steps, who doesn’t abandon me, the God of my days, the companion of my adventures — the God-Providence. I ask myself and I ask you: do we have this experience of God? Of “my God,” the God that accompanies me, the God of my personal story, the God that guides my steps, who doesn’t abandon me, the God of my days? Do we have this experience? Let’s think about it a bit.
This experience of Abraham is testified also by one of the most original texts of the history of spirituality: Blaise Pascal’s Memorial. It begins thus: “God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of philosophers and of wise men. Certainty, certainty. Sentiment. Joy. Peace. God of Jesus Christ.” This Memorial, written on a small parchment, and found after his death, sewn inside a garment of the philosopher, doesn’t expresses an intellectual reflection, which a wise man can conceive about God, but the vivid sense experienced from His presence. Pascal even notes the precise moment in which he felt that reality, having finally found it: the evening of November 23, 1654. He is not an abstract God or a cosmic God — no. He is the God of a person, of a call, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, the God that is certainty, that is sentiment, that is joy.
“Abraham’s prayer is expressed first by deeds: a man of silence, he constructs an altar to the Lord at each stage of his journey” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2570). Abraham doesn’t build a temple, but scatters the path of stones that recall God’s transit. A surprising God, as when He visit him in the figure of three guests, which he and Sarah receive with care and that announce to them the birth of their son Isaac (Cf. Genesis 18:1-15). Abraham was one hundred years old, and his wife ninety, more or less. And they believed, they trusted God and Sarah, his wife, conceived — at that age! This is the God of Abraham, our God, who accompanies us.
So, Abraham became familiar with God, capable also of arguing with Him, but always faithful. He speaks with God and argues. Up to the supreme test when God asks him to sacrifice his son Isaac, son of his old age, sole heir. Here Abraham lives faith as a drama, as walking gropingly in the night, under a sky deprived this time of stars. And many times, it happens also to us, to walk in darkness, but with faith. God Himself held back Abraham’s hand already ready to strike, because He saw his truly total availability (Cf. Genesis 22:1-19).
Brothers and sisters, we learn from Abraham, we learn to pray with faith: to listen to the Lord, to walk, dialogue up to arguing. We aren’t afraid to argue with God! I will say something that even seems a heresy. Many times, I’ve heard people say to me: “You know, this happened to me and I got angry with God.” “You had the courage to get angry with God? “Yes, I got angry.” “But this is a form of prayer,” because only a child is capable of getting angry with his father and then meet him again. We learn from Abraham to pray with faith, to dialogue, to argue, but always ready to receive the word of God and to put it into practice. We learn to talk with God as a child with his father: to listen to him, respond, argue, but transparent, as a child with his father. Abraham teaches us to pray thus. Thank you.