In conversation with Father Marco Pozza, a theologian and prison chaplain in Padua, Italy, Pope Francis offers unprecedented insight into Jesus’s most profound words, as he explores the importance of embracing social justice, benevolence, and forgiveness in our hearts and minds.
Looking to address the concerns and hopes of today’s men and women, Our Father: Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer is a guide to living a life full of meaning, purpose, and strength. “We need courage to pray the Our Father,” writes Pope Francis, “to truly believe that God is the Father who accompanies us, forgives us, gives us bread, is attentive to all that we ask, clothes us even better than the flowers of the field. To believe is a big risk.” Challenging this doubt and fear, he issues a call to “dare . . . help oneanother to dare.”
With excerpts from some of the Pontiff’s most cherished teachings, this beautiful work offers words of encouragement and inspiration for all who are seeking hope and direction in our often tumultuous world.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||1 MB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Holy Father, for me the evening of March 13, 2013, the night of your election as pope, was a bit strange. I had turned on the television right after reciting vespers, so according to the Church’s liturgy I was already well into March 14, and March 14 is my mom’s birthday. On March 13, you came out onto the loggia of the Vatican and we learned with great amazement that you were going to be called Francis, Pope Francis, and my dad’s name is Francis. That evening I felt that God was closer to me than ever before. This is why I like to begin by calling you Holy Father. For two reasons: first, because the word “Father” reminds us that we are all children, and then “Holy” because you are a father who proclaims the holiness of God. I would like to start right here, from the concept of “father,” because in the prayer that my dad taught me when I was a child, the Our Father, there is almost amazement at seeing a God who would allow his creatures to address him so intimately. I would like to know what it feels like for you to pray the Our Father, to speak to God so intimately.
For me it is reassuring. The Our Father gives me a sense of security: I do not feel uprooted; I do not have the sense of being an orphan. I have a father, a “dad,” who brings me a history, shows me how things work, takes care of me, and leads me forward. He is also a dad before whom I always feel like a child, because he is great, he is God, and Jesus asked this of us, to feel like children. God offers the security of a father, but a father who accompanies you, waits for you. Let us think about the parables in chapter 15 of the Gospel of Luke: the lost sheep, the prodigal son. God is a father who, when you are sorry about having gone the rotten way, when you feel bad about a wrong turn you took and you are rehearsing your speech to admit your shortcomings, doesn’t let you say it; he embraces you and celebrates. God is a dad who warns, “Pay attention, look out for this,” he is saying. But he leaves you free to make your own decision. I think that today the world has somewhat lost the meaning of fatherhood. It is a world sick with orphanism. Saying and taking to heart the Our Father means understanding that I am not an only child. It is a risk, that of feeling like only children, that we Christians run. But no. All. Even those who are outcasts, the outsiders, are children of the same Father. Jesus says to us that it will be the poor, the sinners, the prostitutes, the discarded who enter before you into the kingdom of heaven, all.
I think that if we could do so, many of us would put up a sign in front of God that says “Private Property.” God is all mine. This is the temptation. It would be easy to pray to a God who has only one child, and that child is you. Knowing instead that the Father is “ours” may make us feel a bit less alone in difficult times but also in carefree ones.
“I Will Not Leave You Orphans”
One word above all others is dear to us Christians, because it is the name by which Jesus has taught us to call God: “Father.” The meaning of this name has received a new depth precisely because of how Jesus used it to speak with God and to manifest his special relationship with him. The blessed mystery of the intimate nature of God—Father, Son, and Spirit—revealed by Jesus, is the heart of our Christian faith.
“Father” is a word that we all know, a universal word. It indicates a fundamental relationship whose reality is as old as the history of man. Today, however, we have gone so far as to affirm that ours is a “fatherless society.” In other words, particularly in Western culture, the figure of the father is seen as being symbolically absent, vanished, removed. At first this absence was perceived as a form of liberation—liberation from the father-master, from the father as representative of a law that is imposed from the outside, from the father as censor of children’s happiness and obstacle to the emancipation and autonomy of young adults. At times in the past, authoritarianism, even tyranny in certain cases, held sway in some homes. Some parents often treated their children like slaves, not respecting their need for personal growth. Some fathers did not help their children to set off on their path in freedom (although it is not always easy to bring up a child in freedom). Some fathers did not help their children to take on their responsibilities to build their own future and that of society.
These are certainly not good attitudes; but as often happens, things go from one extreme to the other. The problem in our day no longer seems to be that of the intrusive presence of fathers, but rather of their absence, their desertion. Fathers are sometimes so focused on themselves and their work, and occasionally on their individual fulfillment, that they forget their families. And they leave both younger and older children to themselves.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What an immense blessing to receive this wonderful analysis from our Blessed Father Pope Francis!
It was a great, inspirational read but I got lost at the end.