Pope Francis: Prayer and Action Must Be Always United

Pontiff Reflects on the Importance Contemplation and Service to Our Neighbor

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) Junno Arocho Esteves | 1895 hits

Pope Francis addressed crowds of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday Angelus address on Sunday. The Holy Father reflected on the Gospel of St. Luke which recounted Jesus’ visit to the house of Martha and Mary.

Recalling the account where Jesus tells Martha that her sister chose the “better part” in listening to Him rather than busy herself with preparations in the house, the Holy Father emphasized the two attitudes shown in the Gospel.

“What does Jesus wish to say? What is this one thing that we need?” the Holy Father asked. “Above all it is important to understand that it is not a matter of contrasting 2 attitudes: listening to the Lord’s word, contemplation, and concrete service to our neighbor.”

Martha, he continued, receives this correction from the Lord because she saw that her work was the only thing that was essential. “For a Christian, the works of service and charity are never detached from the principle source of our action: that is, listening to the Word of the Lord, sitting – like Mary – at Jesus’ feet in the attitude of a disciple. And for this reason Mary is rebuked.” the Pope said.

“In our Christian life too prayer and action are always profoundly united. Prayer that does not lead to concrete action toward a brother who is poor, sick, in need of help, the brother in difficulty, is a sterile and incomplete prayer. But, in the same way, when in ecclesial service we are only concerned with doing, we give greater weight to things, functions, structures, and we forget the centrality of Christ; we do not set aside time for dialogue with him in prayer, we are in risk of serving ourselves and not God present in our needy brother.”

The Holy Father went on to say that a perfect example of this harmony is the Rule of life of St. Benedict: “Ora et Labora” (Pray and work). From this, he continued, a bond is formed with God that gives all the strength to not only live and bear God’s love but to bring his love to those in most need. Prior to reciting the Angelus, Pope Francis invoked the intercession of the Blessed Mother, who regarded as the “Mother of listening and service”, to teach all faithful to both pray and “to always be more concretely attentive to the needs of our brothers.”

After the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis asked the faithful gathered to pray for his trip to Rio de Janeiro, while placing emphasis on the importance of the youth in the life of the Church.

“As you know, I will travel to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the 28th World Youth Day,” the Pope said. “There will be many young people down there from every part of the world. And I think that you could call this Youth Week, yes, indeed, Youth Week! The young people will be the protagonists of this week. All of those who come to Rio want to hear Jesus’ voice, to listen to Jesus: “Lord, what should I do with my life? What it the road I should take?”

The Pope invited the youth to entrust their questions to the intercession of the Blessed Mother, as well as for the week long event.