By Christopher Wells
“God is not ambiguous, He is not hidden behind riddles, He has not planned the future of the world in an indecipherable manner.” In his catechesis on the third petition of the “Our Father”, Pope Francis said that we can see the will of the Father expressed in the words of Jesus: God wills “to seek and to save that which was lost”. This, the Pope said, “without any shadow of doubt, is the will of God: the salvation of all human beings”, of each one of us individually.
Because of His love for us, God “knocks on the door of our heart” in order “to draw us to Himself, to lead us forward along the path of salvation”. God, the Pope said, “is close to each one of us with His love, in order to lead us by the hand to salvation”.
“And we, in prayer, ask that God’s seeking might come to a good end, that His universal plan of salvation should be accomplished,” Pope Francis continued, “first, in each one of us, and then in the whole world.”
God’s desire for the salvation of human beings, and of the whole world, means that our prayer that His will be done does not mean “bowing our heads”, like slaves, to an unalterable fate. On the contrary, “God wants us to be free,” the Pope said; and “it is His love that frees us”. “Thy will be done”, he said, is “a courageous, even combative prayer” precisely because there is so much evil in the world, which is not according to God’s [antecedent] will.
The Our Father, he continued, “is a prayer that kindles in us the same love [that] Jesus has for the will of the Father, a flame that impels one to transform the world with love”. There is nothing of random chance in the faith of Christians, the Pope explained: “Rather, there is a salvation that waits to manifest itself in the life of each man and woman, and to be fully accomplished in eternity.” If we prayer, he said, “it is because we believe that God is able and desires to transform reality, overcoming evil with good.”
Pope Francis pointed to the example of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when the Lord prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; but not my will, but yours, be done!” Although He is “crushed” by the weight of evil in the world, Jesus “confidently abandons Himself to the ocean of love of the will of the Father”. In His love, God will never abandon us, the Pope insisted: “He will always be with us, beside us, within us. For a believer, more than a hope, this is a certainty”.
Concluding his catechesis, Pope Francis invited all those present in the Square to pray together the Our Father, each in their own language.