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Ask everything! Pope’s 6 questions to see if our prayer is courageous

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Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 10/26/21

A "standard" prayer isn't enough, as Bartimaeus shows us.

“To the One who can give us everything, let us ask everything,” Pope Francis recommended as he reflected on the account from the Gospel of Jesus healing Bartimaeus.

“God always listens to the cry of the poor and is not at all disturbed by Bartimaeus’ voice,” the Pope said, before leading the midday Angelus on October 24.

Jesus sees that it is a voice full of faith, “that is not afraid to insist, to knock on the door of God’s heart.”

And here lies the root of the miracle. Indeed, Jesus says to him: “Your faith has made you well.” (v. 52).

Pope Francis reflected how the blind man’s prayer is not a “timid and standard prayer.”

Unafraid

He drew light from what Bartimaeus called Jesus.

– He calls the Lord “Son of David”: that is, he acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah, the King who would come into the world.

– Then he calls Him by name, confidently; “Jesus.” He is not afraid of Him, he does not stay at a distance.

Thus, what Bartimaeus asks is from God, who is a friend. And, the Pope said, “he shouts out his entire drama,” saying, “Have mercy on me.”

Just that prayer: “Have mercy on me!” He does not ask for some loose change as he does with passers-by. No. He asks for everything from the One who can do everything.

He asks people for loose change; he asks everything from Jesus who can do everything. “Have mercy on me, have mercy on all that I am.” He does not ask for a favour, but presents himself: he asks for mercy on his person, on his life. It is not a small request, but it is so beautiful because it is a cry for mercy, that is, compassion, God’s mercy, his tenderness.

Bartimaeus does not use many words, the Pope said, but “entrusts himself to God’s love” and asks for what is humanly impossible.

And what about us?

This is why he does not ask the Lord for alms, but makes everything be seen – his blindness and his suffering which was far more than not being able to see. His blindness was the tip of the iceberg; but there must have been wounds, humiliations, broken dreams, mistakes, remorse in his heart. He prayed with his heart. And what about us?

When we ask for God’s grace, in our prayer do we also include our own history, our wounds, our humiliations, our broken dreams, our mistakes and our regrets?

What is my prayer like?

Is it courageous?

Does it contain the good insistence of Bartimaeus, does it know how to “take hold” of the Lord as he passes, or is it rather content with making a formal greeting every now and then, when I remember?

Is my prayer “substantial,” does it bare my heart before the Lord? Do I take my story and life experience to him?

Or is it anaemic, superficial, made up of rituals, without feeling and without heart?

Let us ask everything

The Pope invited us:

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Let us, too, recite this prayer today.

When faith is alive, prayer is heartfelt: it does not beg for spare change, it is not reduced to momentary needs. We must ask everything of Jesus, who can do everything. Do not forget this. We must ask everything of Jesus, with my insistence before Him. He cannot wait to pour out his grace and joy into our hearts; but unfortunately, it is we who keep our distance, through timidness, laziness or unbelief. …

To the One who can give us everything, let us ask everything, like Bartimaeus, who was a great teacher, a great master of prayer. May Bartimaeus, with his genuine, insistent and courageous faith, be an example for us. And may Our Lady, the prayerful Virgin, teach us to turn to God with all our heart, confident that He listens attentively to every prayer

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Pope Francis
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