Darkness does not mean that devil has won, says Pope Francis

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Pope Francis meets faithful during a general audience at the San Damaso Courtyard in the Vatican. (Courtesy Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP).

“Darkness does not mean that the devil has won. The moment when the night is darkest, just before the dawn, it is so tempting to believe the devil has won. But, in fact, darkness does not mean that the devil has won, because God is the Lord of the last day” says Pope Francis.

About prayer, the Pope said, “Prayer is not a magic wand or a way to ask God to be at one’s service. But it is a humble dialogue with God to grow spiritually and discover his will for the world.” Pope Francis was addressing the faithful during his weekly general audience in the San Damaso Courtyard of the apostolic palace.

Speaking at length he said “In prayer, it is God who must convert us, not we who must convert God.”

The Pope spoke to one Belarus-born Lidia Maksymowicz, 80. She had spent three years at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp after she was sent there when she was 2 years old. The Pope kissed the prisoner number tattooed on her left arm and the two embraced.

God really listens to prayers

He continued his series on prayer by looking at how people can be certain God really listens to their prayers. “Sometimes our prayers seem to go unheard, what we have asked for, for ourselves or for others, is not fulfilled,” he said.

“Why does He not respond to our requests?” the Pope asked.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church asks people to think more deeply about why they demand to see the results of their petitions. “What is the image of God that motivates our prayer: an instrument to be used? or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?” it says.

However, the Pope said this passage warns people to avoid “the risk of not living an authentic experience of faith, but of transforming the relationship with God into something magical.”

“Prayer is not a magic wand. It is a dialogue with the Lord. Indeed, when we pray, we can give in to the risk of not being the ones to serve God, but of expecting him to serve us,” he said.

“When we pray, we need to be humble” and believe “that God will give me what is right to give. He knows,” the Pope said.

Praying for wrong reasons

People sometimes pray for the wrong reasons and keen to make sure God is with them, he said. “But a few bother to check whether they are actually with God.”

People need to pray to God to transform their heart and ask the right questions to discover what is best for their spiritual health, Pope Francis said.

However, what about when the prayer request is worthy and charitable, like for the end of a war that does not cease, or “when people pray with a sincere heart when they ask for things that correspond to the Kingdom of God,” like when a mother prays for her sick child, the Pope said. “Why does it sometimes seem that God does not listen?”

Wait for the Lord’s grace

Let us learn this humble patience, to await the Lord’s grace, to await the final day.

Looking at the Gospels, Jesus heals many people, either responding to their pleas immediately or much later, the Pope said.

Over time, people may see that some things do work out. “But in God’s way, the divine way, not according to what we wanted at that moment. God’s time is not our time,” he said.

“Evil is lord of the penultimate day,” he said. “The moment when the night is darkest, just before the dawn; it is so tempting to believe the devil has won. But darkness does not mean that the devil has won.”

Because, the Pope said, “The evil one is never lord of the last day. God is the Lord of the last day. Because that belongs to God alone, and it is the day when all human longings for salvation will be fulfilled.”

“Let us learn this humble patience, to await the Lord’s grace, to await the final day,” when God solves everything. And may people pray that the Lord give them real faith, he said. Because Jesus said faith moves mountains, and Jesus “feels special tenderness before that faith and he listens.”

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