Pope Francis has said special prayers for families suffering financial difficulties during the coronavirus crisis.
During Mass on Monday morning at the Casa Santa Marta, the pope said prayer requires faith, perseverance and courage.
“Let us pray today for those persons who are beginning to experience economic problems because of the pandemic, because they cannot work,” he said in his prayer intention.
“All of this affects the family. We pray for those people who have this problem.”
He said faith, perseverance and courage were necessary to pray well, saying faith was needed for prayer.
“Many times prayer is only oral from the mouth, but it doesn't come from the faith in the heart, or it's a weak faith.”
Referring to Jesus' words in Mark's gospel chapter nine, that all is possible for those with faith (Mark 9:23) . “Faith and prayer; to pray with faith. I pray either with faith or out of habit. Let's be attentive when we pray not to fall into routine, without the awareness that the Lord is here, that I'm speaking with the Lord and He is able to resolve problems.”
He also urged Catholics to persevere. “Some people ask and then the grace doesn't come. They don't have this perseverance because deep down they don't need it or they don’t have faith.
“Faith and perseverance go together because if you have faith you're sure that the Lord will give you what you are asking. If the Lord makes you wait, knock and knock and knock. In the end the Lord gives the grace.”
Finally, courage was essential. "This virtue of courage is very much needed, not only for apostolic works, but also for prayer. In these days, it's necessary to pray more. Imagine if we were to pray like this. With faith – that the Lord can intervene; with perseverance and with courage. The Lord never deludes. He makes us wait. He takes His time. But he never deludes. Faith, perseverance and courage.”
At the Angelus yesterday, he spoke of Christ as the light that brightens darkness.
“It is not enough to receive light. We need to become light, in order to manifest it with our whole life."
He referred to the Gospel reading for the fourth Sunday of Lent, from John's gospel, where Jesus heals a man blind from birth. Jesus said: "I am the light of the world."
He said: "The miracles Jesus works aren’t spectacular gestures, but their purpose is to lead to faith through a journey of interior transformation."
He also announced an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing on Friday this week, and proposed that the leaders of all churches and Christian communities recite the Lord's Prayer on Wednesday, at midday.
"On the day in which many Christians recall the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary of the Incarnation of the Word, may the Lord be able to hear the unanimous prayer of all His disciples that are preparing to celebrate the victory of the Risen Christ. With this same intention, next Friday, March 27 at 6:00 pm, I will preside over a moment of prayer in the courtyard of St. Peter’s Basilica, with the empty Square.
"From now on I invite all to take part spiritually through the means of communication. We will listen to the Word of God, we will elevate our prayer, we will adore the Most Blessed Sacrament, with which at the end I will give the Urbi et Orbi Blessing, to which will be annexed the possibility to receive a Plenary Indulgence.
"We want to respond to the pandemic of the virus with the universality of prayer, of compassion and of tenderness. We remain united. Let us make our closeness felt by persons that are most alone and tried. Our closeness to the doctors, to the health workers, men and women nurses, volunteers.
"Our closeness to the authorities that must take hard measures, but for our good. Our closeness to the police, to soldiers that seek to maintain order always on the street, so that the things will be done that the government asks be done for the good of us all – closeness to all."