By Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
In his daily homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis began by reflecting on the first reading of the day, taken from the first book of Kings. The passage recounts how all the tribes of Israel came to King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the Ark of the LORD's Covenant to the temple. Pope Francis noted how they were making an uphill journey, carrying with them the two stone tablets that God had given to Moses on Mount Horeb.
He went on to reflect on our Christian journey, which, he said, is an upward climb, it is not always easy. The people of Israel, undertaking this uphill journey, are carrying the Ark of the Covenant to its resting place, and they bear a memory, “the memory of election”. In addition, the Pope said, the Ark of the Covenant was stripped of any ornamentation. It was stripped down to the tablets of the law: “In the ark, in fact, there was nothing except two stone tablets.”
Teach people to adore
As soon as the priests carrying the ark left the sanctuary, the glory of the Lord filled the temple with a cloud. “From the sacrifices that they made while they were on the uphill journey, to the silence of humiliation and adoration,” the pope reflected. Pope Francis asked pastors to teach the prayer of adoration which “many times, I think, that we do not teach to our people.”
“We know how to teach them how to pray, sing, and praise God, but to adore?” The pope defined adoration as the prayer “which annihilates us without annihilating us.” He took the opportunity of encouraging the newly installed pastors, present in the Casa Santa Marta chapel, to “teach the people to adore in silence.”
Listen and pardon
The Pope gave several keys that can be used in teaching adoration: “it is an uphill journey with the memory of election. We can only arrive there with the memory of having been chosen, of bearing within our heart the promise which pushes us to keep going with the covenant in our hand and in our heart.” In the presence of God’s glory, he said, “words disappear, we do not know what to say.” Anticipating tomorrow’s reading, Pope Francis suggested that we too use the only two words that Solomon was able to utter—“listen and pardon”.
It would good for us to take some time today, he said, to remember our journey, “the memory of graces received, the memory of election, of the promise, of the covenant.” And thus to go up towards adoration.