· The Pope's appeal at the General Audience ·
Prayer brings into being men and women who can love
The full collaboration of all the members of Nigerian society” is necessary in order to abandon “the path of revenge” and collaborate “in building a peaceful and reconciled society in which the right to freely profess their faith is fully protected”. The Pope said this at the General Audience of Wednesday, 20 June in the Paul VI Hall, expressing his “deep concern” about the plight of the African country, caught up in a spiral of violence directed mainly against Christians. “While I raise my prayers for the victims and for all who are suffering, I appeal to those responsible for the violence to put an immediate end to the bloodshed of so many innocent people”.
The Pontiff had just concluded his Catechesis on the hymn of blessing with which St Paul's Letter to the Ephesians opens, underlining the need to pray not only in order to “ask for help in need”, but also to give praise and thanks for the “many good things received” and for the “goodness that God shows in his creation”. God, he said, “called us to existence, to holiness. And this choice even precedes the world's creation. We have always been in his plan and in his mind”. And God “did not choose us so that we might be good but because he is good”, the Pope added. “God is goodness, he is a communication of goodness, he wants to communicate, he creates because he wants to communicate his goodness to us and to make us good and holy”. Human beings for their part, facing “the way of redemption”, are required to choose it, because “God wants free creatures who say 'yes' freely”.
Each one of us, the Pope recalled, must be attentive “to the beauty of creation and to seeing the face of God shine out in this beauty ”. In this sense, prayer “brings into being men and women who are not motivated by selfishness, by the desire to possess or by the thirst for power, but by gratuitousness, by the desire to love, by the thirst to serve, in other words who are enlivened by God”. And God, he concluded, “has made himself close to us and patiently waits for us to take our time, he understands our infidelities, he encourages our commitment and he guides us”.
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