By Courtney Grogan
Pope Francis said Wednesday that evil is limited compared to the expanding force of God’s holiness in the world.
“Evil’s days are numbered. Evil is not eternal,” Pope Francis said in a departure from his prepared remarks in St. Peter’s Square Feb. 27.
“God’s holiness is an expanding force, and we beg that it quickly shatters barriers of our world,” he said, adding that this holiness “spreads in concentric circles, like when throwing a stone into a pond.”
Pope Francis explained that “prayer drives away all fear. The Father loves us, the Son raises his arms side by side with ours, the Spirit works in secret for the redemption of the world.”
“One thing is certain: it is evil that is afraid,” the pope said.
In a continuation of his weekly catechesis on the “Our Father” prayer, Pope Francis reflected on the line, “Hallowed be Thy name” at the general audience.
In the words, “Hallowed be Thy name,” he said, “you can feel all the admiration of Jesus for the beauty and the greatness of the Father, and the desire that all recognize him and love him for what he really is.”
“At the same time there is the supplication that his name is sanctified in us, in our family, in our community, in the whole world. It is God who sanctifies us, who transforms us with his love, but at the same time we too are the ones who, through our witness, manifest the holiness of God in the world, making his name present,” Francis said.
God is a mystery to us, but we are not one to him, the pope reminded Catholics. “When we talk to God, we do not do it to reveal to Him what we have in our hearts: He knows it much better than ourselves,” he said.
Pope Francis said that the “Our Father” prayer is easily divided into seven subgroups; the first three have God the Father at the center and the other four focus on our human needs.
“In the first part Jesus makes us enter into his desires, all addressed to the Father: ‘hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done;’ in the second it is He who enters into us and becomes the interpreter of our needs for daily bread, the forgiveness of sins, help in temptation, and liberation from evil,” he said.
He continued, “Here is the matrix of every Christian prayer – I would say of every human prayer – which is always made, on the one hand of contemplation of God, of his mystery, of his beauty and goodness, and, on the other of a sincere and courageous request of what we need to live, and live well.”
“The first step in Christian prayer is therefore the surrender of ourselves to God, to his providence,” Pope Francis said. “It is like saying: ‘Lord, You know everything, there is no need for me to tell you of my pain, I only ask you to stay here beside me: you are my hope.’”