PRAYER can bring miracles and it keeps hearts from growing hard, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass on January 12 in the Casa Santa Marta.
“It’s the prayer of the faithful that brings change to the Church,” the Pope said.
“It’s not us popes, bishops or priests who carry the Church forward, but the saints.”
The Pope focused his homily on the First Reading, which relates the story of Hannah as she prays to God about her infertility and Eli, who assumes she is drunk.
“Hannah was praying silently, her lips moved but her voice was not heard. Hers is the courage of a woman of faith who is weeping and grieving and asks the Lord for his grace,” the Pope said.
“There are many good women in the Church, many. They place all their trust in prayer… Let us think of one of them, Saint Monica, who was able with her tears to be granted the grace of conversion for her son, Saint Augustine. There are so many.”
He described Eli as a poor man, with whom he said he feels a “certain sympathy” because, he explained, “I find faults in myself that allow me to understand him well and feel close to him.”
“How easily do we judge people and lack the respect to say: ‘I wonder what he has in his heart? I do not know, but I will say nothing,’” he said.
“When the heart lacks compassion one always thinks evil” and does not understand those who pray “with pain and anguish” and “entrust that pain and anguish to the Lord.”
“Jesus knows this kind of prayer. When he was in Gethsemane and was so anguished and hurt he sweated blood; He did not accuse the Father,” he said.
“Sometimes, we pray, we ask things of God, but often we do not know how to engage with the Lord, to ask for grace.”
The Pope recalled the story of a man in Buenos Aires whose 9-year-old-daughter was dying.
He said he spent the night at the shrine of the Virgin of Luján clinging to the gate and praying for the grace of healing.
The next morning, when he returned to the hospital, his daughter was healed:
“Prayer works miracles; it works miracles for Christians, whether they be faithful laypeople, priests, bishops who have lost compassion. The prayers of the faithful change the Church: It’s not us popes, bishops, priests or nuns who carry the Church forward, but saints,” he said.
“Saints are those who dare to believe that God is the Lord and that He can do everything.”