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Pope at Angelus: Prayer lifts us out of spiritual laziness to help others

At the Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis reflects on the Transfiguration of Jesus, and urges Christians to turn our experience of prayer into a desire to carry hope to the world.

By Devin Watkins

Ahead of the traditional Marian prayer of the Angelus, Pope Francis spoke about the Transfiguration, as recounted in the Sunday Gospel (Mk 9:2-10).

He began by considering what Jesus told His disciples before taking them up the mountain. Jesus had just revealed that He would be condemned to death but would rise again.

“The image of a strong and triumphant Messiah is put into crisis, their dreams are shattered, and they are beset by anguish at the thought that the Teacher in whom they believed should be killed like the worst of wrongdoers,” said the Pope.

Broken hearts

With these concerns in their hearts, the disciples follow Jesus up the mountain, where He is transfigured before them.

Pope Francis said Jesus thus reminded them that He would overcome death.

“His face radiant and his garments glistening, providing a preview of his image as the Risen One, offer to those frightened men the light to pass through the shadows.”

New point of view

The Pope went on to reflect on Peter’s words: “Rabbi, it is good that we are here!”

He said the Apostle’s expression of appreciation is a reminder that the Lord never lets darkness have the final word.

When we face seemingly-endless trials, said the Pope, we need another point of view: “a light which illuminates in depth the mystery of life and helps us to move beyond our frame of mind and the criteria of this world.”

We too, he stressed, are called to climb the mountain with Jesus to have every fragment of our lives illuminated by His victory at Easter.

Spiritual laziness

Yet, warned Pope Francis, we must not let our joy at the Transfiguration become “spiritual laziness.”

“We cannot remain on the mountain and enjoy the beauty of this encounter by ourselves,” he noted. “Jesus himself brings us back to the valley, amidst our brothers and sisters and into daily life.”

Spiritual laziness, said the Pope, pushes us to rest in the satisfaction of our own well-being, while ignoring the struggles faced by others.

“Going up the mountain does not mean forgetting reality; praying never means avoiding the difficulties of life,” he said.

Christian mission

Pope Francis concluded his catechesis urging Christians to transform our experience with Jesus and carry His light throughout the world.

The mission of every Christian, he said, is to ignite "little lights in people’s hearts; being little lamps of the Gospel that bear a bit of love and hope.”

And the Pope asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to accompany us to welcome the light of Christ, to care for it, and to share Him with our brothers and sisters.

28 February 2021, 12:08