A Pope asking for alms is an image apparently beyond all logic: what alms could the man who was chosen as the vicar of Christ on Earth need? Yet, Pope Francis continually asks us Christians for a particular alms: the alms of prayer. “I continually feel the need to ask for the alms of prayer,” he said a few years ago to the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, because “if the Church prays for the Pope, this is a grace.”
It is a need that Francis never hides. Indeed, every time he appears in public – be it an audience, a Sunday Angelus, an institutional meeting – he always greets with an invitation to pray for him. Because praying for the Pope is important, and because no Pope (“whoever he is, today is my turn,” he says in the video that accompanies his prayer intention for this month) can do without it: being Pope, in fact, is also a process, in which “one becomes aware of what it means to be a pastor” and “one learns to be more charitable, more merciful and, above all, more patient.”
What is most striking, in the Pope’s November Video, is the intimacy of the tones that Francis uses, without hiding his humanity: because, as he says, “being Pope does not mean losing one’s humanity,” starting with “that feeling of fear, of vertigo” that is felt at the moment of the election. And the images chosen also have an intimate tone: a sort of story of his Pontificate through emotions. Alongside the most well-known moments, there are others that are almost unheard of, made up of hugs and prayers in various parts of the world. Indeed, they are united by the great contagious humanity of Francis, confirmed once again by the choice of the prayer intention for this month and the message that accompanies it.
Praying for the Pope, then, is the mission that Francis asks of us this month. Not because he is in good health or because he is honored throughout the world, but because – as Francis explains in his prayer intention – in the exercise of his mission he continues to accompany the flock entrusted to him by Jesus in faith, always with help of the Holy Spirit.
Coordinator The Pope’s Video