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God’s fatherhood, source of our Hope

Catechesis by Pope Francis on Christian Hope
General Audience, Wednesday 7 June 2017 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
There was something fascinating about the prayer of Jesus, so fascinating that one day his disciples asked to be taught it. This event can be found in the Gospel of Luke, who among the Evangelists, was the one who best documented the mystery of Christ ‘praying’: the Lord prayed. Jesus’ disciples are struck by the fact that, particularly in the mornings and in the evenings, he retired in solitude and “immersed” himself in prayer: And because of this, one day, they asked him to teach them how to pray too (cf. Lk 11:1).

It is then that Jesus transmits what has become the Christian prayer par excellence: the Our Father. To tell the truth, Luke, with respect to Matthew, gives Jesus’ prayer back to us in a slightly abbreviated form that begins with the simple invocation: “Father” (v. 2).

The entire mystery of Christian prayer is summed up here, in these words: to have the courage to call God by the name ‘Father’. The Liturgy also confirms this when, inviting us to recite the Lord’s Prayer as a community, it uses the expression “let us dare to say”.

In fact, calling God by the name ‘Father’ is by no means something to be taken for granted. We would be inclined to use much loftier titles, which to us seem more respectful of his transcendence. Instead, invoking him as ‘Father’ puts us on a familiar plane with him, as a child turns to his father, knowing that he is loved and looked after by him. This is the great revolution that Christianity impresses on the religious psychology of mankind. The mystery of God, which always fascinates us and makes us feel small, does not however, scare us; it does not crush us, it does not distress us. This is a difficult revolution to welcome in our human soul, so much so that even the accounts of the Resurrection say that, after seeing the empty tomb and the angel, the women “fled ... for trembling and astonishment had come upon them” (Mk 16:8). But Jesus tells us that God is a good Father and he tells us: “Do not be afraid!”.

Let us think about the parable of the merciful father (cf. Lk 15:11-32). Jesus tells us about a father who can be only love for his sons. A father who does not punish his son for his arrogance and who is even capable of entrusting him with his half of the inheritance and allowing him to leave home. God is Father, Jesus says, but not in the human way because there is no father in this world who would behave as the protagonist of this parable. God is Father in his own way: kind, defenceless before man’s freedom of choice, able only to conjugate the verb ‘to love’. When the rebellious son, after squandering everything, finally returns to the home of his birth, the father does not impose criteria of human justice, but rather he first feels the need to forgive, and with his embrace he conveys to his son that in all that long period of absence, he had missed him, his fatherly love had painfully missed him.

What an unfathomable mystery is a God who nurtures this type of love towards his children!

It is perhaps for this reason that, in evoking the core of the Christian mystery, the Apostle Paul does not feel up to translating into Greek an Aramaic word which Jesus pronounced as “Abba”. Twice in his Epistles Saint Paul uses this term, and he does not translate it either time, leaving it as it came from Jesus’ lips: “Abba”, a term which is even more intimate than “father”, and which some translate as “Dad, Papa”.

Dear brothers and sisters, we are never alone. We can be far away, hostile; we can even profess that we are “without God”. The Gospel of Jesus Christ however, reveals to us that God cannot be without us: He will never be a God “without man”. It is he who cannot be without us, and this is the great mystery! God cannot be God without man: this is a great mystery! And this certainty is the source of our hope, which we find safeguarded in our every invocation of the Our Father. When we need help, Jesus does not tell us to resign ourselves and close ourselves off, but rather to turn to the Father and ask him with confidence. All our needs, from the most evident, daily ones such as food, health, work, to those of forgiveness and support against temptations, are not the reflection of our solitude. There is, instead, a Father who always looks at us with love and who certainly does not abandon us.

And now I have a proposal for you: each one of us has many problems and many needs. Let us reflect a bit, in silence, about these problems and these needs. Let us also think about the Father, our Father who cannot be without us, and who, at this moment, is looking at us. And all together let us pray with confidence and with hope: “Our Father, who art in Heaven...”. Thank you!"


"Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les personnes venues de France, de Côte d’Ivoire et du Bénin. Que l’Esprit-Saint nous introduise dans la prière de Jésus. Osons entrer dans une véritable relation filiale, d’amour et de confiance avec Dieu notre Père, une relation qui exclue toute crainte et toute angoisse : nous ne nous sentirons plus jamais seuls et notre vie en sera transformée. Que Dieu vous bénisse !

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly the groups from England, Scotland, Germany, the Netherlands, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, Canada and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an die Pilger aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache. Jesus hat uns das große Geschenk gemacht, dass wir Gott Vater nennen dürfen. Er ist ein Vater, der immer in Liebe auf uns schaut und für uns sorgt. Wir wollen aus dieser Gewissheit jeden Tag leben und diese Hoffnung zu unseren Brüdern und Schwestern bringen. Der Heilige Geist mache uns alle zu wahren Kindern Gottes.

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos provenientes de España y Latinoamérica. Los invito a dirigirse a Dios, nuestro Padre, en todo momento y circunstancia. No nos encerremos en nosotros mismos, sino que acudamos con confianza a él, que como Padre bueno nos mira con amor y nunca nos abandona. Muchas gracias.

Amados peregrinos vindos do Brasil e todos vós que aqui vos encontrais de língua portuguesa, sede benvindos! A ressurreição de Cristo abriu-nos a estrada para além da morte; e assim temos a estrada desimpedida até ao Céu. Que nada vos impeça de viver e crescer na amizade do Pai celeste, e testemunhar a todos a sua infinita bondade e misericórdia! Sobre vós e vossas famílias, desça abundante a sua Bênção.

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللّغةِ العربيّة، وخاصّةً بالقادمينَ منالشّرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، في أيّة مرحلة من حياتنا، لا ينبغي علينا أن ننسى أنّنا نبقى على الدّوام أبناء لله، أبناء أب يحبّنا وينتظر عودتنا. حتى في أسوء حالات حياتنا الله ينتظرنا ويريد أن يعانقنا... ليبارككُم الرّبّ!

Witam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. Szczególnie pozdrawiam Stowarzyszenie Comunità Regina della Pace z Radomia. W ramach podjętej inicjatywy 12 Gwiazd w koronie Maryi Królowej Pokoju realizuje ono projekt ustanowienia w świecie 12 centrów adoracji Eucharystii i nieustannej modlitwy o pokój, w miejscach najbardziej zapalnych. Na ich prośbę poświęciłem dzisiaj ołtarz adoracji: Adoratio Domini in unitate et pace przeznaczony dla Sanktuarium Matki Bożej Różańcowej w Namyang w Korei Południowej. Niech waszej modlitwy o pokój nie zabraknie podczas nabożeństw czerwcowych, poświęconych szczególnej czci Serca Pana Jezusa. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus."


"Domani, alle ore 13, si rinnova in diversi Paesi l’iniziativa “Un minuto per la pace”, cioè un piccolo momento di preghiera nella ricorrenza dell’incontro in Vaticano tra me, il compianto Presidente israeliano Peres e il Presidente palestinese Abbas. Nel nostro tempo c’è tanto bisogno di pregare – cristiani, ebrei e musulmani – per la pace.

* * *

Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. Saluto le Suore di Carità delle Sante Bartolomea Capitanio e Vincenza Gerosa, che partecipano al Capitolo Generale e i giovani atleti del Pellegrinaggio Macerata-Loreto con la “fiaccola della pace”, accompagnati dal Vescovo Mons. Nazzareno Marconi.

Saluto i Frati Minori Conventuali; i gruppi parrocchiali, in particolare i fedeli di San Cipriano Picentino e quelli di Airola, che ricordano il centenario della festa della Santissima Addolorata, come pure i partecipanti al Convegno internazionale di Ginecologia.

Accolgo con gioia i bambini di Oncologia Pediatrica del Policlinico San Matteo di Pavia; gli sbandieratori di Mappano di Caselle e gli studenti, in particolare i ragazzi dell’Istituto Cangemi di Boscoreale. Incoraggio tutti a vivere intensamente l’incontro con il Successore di Pietro per crescere nella fede in Dio Padre misericordioso.

Un pensiero porgo infine ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli. Il mese di giugno da poco iniziato ci ricorda la devozione al Sacro Cuore di Gesù: cari giovani, alla scuola di quel Cuore divino crescete nella dedizione al prossimo; cari ammalati, nella sofferenza unite il vostro cuore a quello del Figlio di Dio; e voi, cari sposi novelli, guardate al Cuore di Gesù per imparare l’amore incondizionato."