Praying in a fragile church

Jul 12, 2023 | Blog Articles

As members of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, we are invited to enter into the challenges of humanity and the mission of the Church. And we do this, first of all, by meditating on the monthly prayer intentions entrusted by the Pope to the whole Church. One of the ways of participating in this prayer is through the Click To Pray app and its daily rhythm of prayer, uniting ourselves to a much larger international community of Christians.

Ever since the experience of Pentecost, the Christian community has been aware that prayer strengthens the body of the Church and helps it to assume a mission of compassion for the world. The members of the Church often reveal the weaknesses of humans, but the Church also plainly shows how God’s mercy is stronger than our weaknesses. As St. Cyprian of Carthage says, in the middle of the third century, “When Christians pray the Lord’s Prayer, they become aware of being fragile and of the strength that only God can give them. They thus understand that they are strengthened in prayer and that they sanctify the world when they pray with one voice.”

To pray, you don’t need many words or much intellectual knowledge. The strength of prayer is in its simplicity. St. Clement of Alexandria, at the end of the second century, said, “Prayer is, dare I say it, an intimate conversation with God. Even when we murmur softly, even when we speak silently without moving our lips, we are screaming inwardly. And God constantly turns his ear to this inner voice.”

The Church is a pilgrim and cannot forget that she is immersed in this world, which is also fragile. It is not perfect, because only God is perfect! But it must help humanity to gain consistency and to conserve faith and hope. In this dynamism, the Church must lead believers to experience that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). The Church’s strength lies in the diversity of her members, especially the weakest, the poor, the sick and the most needy. When we go to meet the most vulnerable and bring them the Gospel, we are all stronger. Thus, in the fragility of our path, we cannot forget that the message of the Kingdom is mercy, love and gratuitousness.

Fr. Antonio Sant’Ana, SJ
(Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA)

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