VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis told pilgrims at his general audience that he asks for St. John Paul II’s intercession for all hearts to be inspired with a respect for life and prays for strength for those who welcome life with heroic love.
“Through the intercession of Mary Most Holy and the holy Polish pontiff, I ask God to inspire in the hearts of all respect for the life of our brothers, especially of the most fragile and defenseless, and to give strength to those who welcome it and take it care, even when it requires heroic love,” Pope Francis said Oct. 28 in a special message to Polish pilgrims.
The pope’s comments came days after Poland’s constitutional court ruled that a law permitting abortion for fetal abnormalities was unconstitutional on Oct. 22. Protestors were filmed interrupting Sunday Masses following the ruling.
Pope Francis noted that Oct. 22 was the feast of St. John Paul II, and recalled: “He always appealed for a privileged love for the least and the defenseless, and for the protection of every human being from conception until natural death.”
In his general audience catechesis, the pope said that it was important to remember that “Jesus prays with us”.
“This is the unique greatness of Jesus’ prayer: the Holy Spirit takes possession of His person and the voice of the Father attests that He is the beloved, the Son in whom He fully reflects Himself,” Pope Francis said in Vatican City’s Paul VI Audience Hall.
Jesus invites each Christian to “pray as He prayed,” the pope said, adding that Pentecost provided this “grace of prayer for all those baptized in Christ.”
“Therefore, if during an evening of prayer we feel sluggish and empty, if it seems to us that life has been completely useless, we must at that moment beg that Jesus’ prayer also become our own. ‘I cannot pray today, I don’t know what to do: I don’t feel like it, I am unworthy.’”
“In that moment … entrust yourself to Him, that He may pray for us. He in this moment is before the Father, praying for us, He is the intercessor; He shows the wounds to the Father, for us. Let us trust in this, it is great,” he said.
The pope said that in prayer one can hear God’s words to Jesus at his baptism at the Jordan River whispered tenderly as a message for each person: “You are God’s beloved, you are a son, you are the joy of the Father in heaven.”
Because of his Incarnation, “Jesus is not a distant God,” the pope explained.
“In the whirlwind of life and the world that will come to condemn him, even in the hardest and most sorrowful experiences He will have to endure, even when He experiences that he has no place to lay His head, even when hatred and persecution are unleashed around Him, Jesus is never without the refuge of a dwelling place: He dwells eternally in the Father,” Pope Francis said.
“Jesus gave us His own prayer, which is His loving dialogue with the Father. He gave it to us like a seed of the Trinity, which He wants to take root in our hearts. Let us welcome him. Let us welcome this gift, the gift of prayer. Always with Him,” he said.
The pope noted in his greeting to Italian pilgrims that Oct. 28 is the feast of the Apostles Sts. Simon and Jude.
“I urge you to follow their example in always putting Christ at the center of your life, to be true witnesses of his Gospel in our society,” he said. “I wish everyone to grow every day in the contemplation of goodness and of tenderness that radiates from the person of Christ.”