In his Angelus message this Sunday, Pope Francis offered a reminder that the Lord wants us to seek his presence in the trials and storms of life.
“How often do we remain fixated on problems rather than going to the Lord and casting our concerns upon him?” the pope asked the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square on June 20.
“Today, let us ask for the grace of a faith that never tires of seeking the Lord, of knocking at the door of his Heart,” he said.
Speaking from the window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, the pope reflected on the Gospel account of the disciples caught in a storm at sea as Jesus slept on their boat. Filled with fear, the disciples cried out to the Lord, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?”
Pope Francis said: “Quite often, we too, beaten by the trials of life, have cried out to the Lord: ‘Why do you remain silent and do nothing for me?'”
“Especially when it seems we are sinking, because of love or the project in which we have laid great hopes disappears; or when we are at the mercy of the unrelenting waves of anxiety; or when we feel we are drowning in problems or lost in the middle of the sea of life, with no course and no harbor.”
The pope urged that it is important to remember that even though Jesus was sleeping on the boat during the storm with his disciples, the Lord was there.
“The Lord is there, present. In fact, he expects -- so to speak -- that we will engage him, to invoke him, to put him at the center of what we are experiencing. His slumber causes us to wake up. Because to be disciples of Jesus it is not enough to believe God is there, that he exists, but we must put ourselves out there with him; we must also raise our voice with him, cry out to him,” he said.
“Today we can ask ourselves: what are the winds that beat against my life? What are the waves that prevent my navigation and endanger my spiritual life, my family life, and my mental health as well? Let us tell all this to Jesus; let us tell him everything,” the pope said. “He wants this; he wants us to grab hold of him to find shelter from the unexpected waves of life.”
After praying the Angelus in Latin, the pope appealed for people in Burma, who are suffering hunger and displacement in the wake of the government’s violent crackdown on people protesting the Feb. 1 coup.
“I join my voice to that of the bishops of Myanmar, who last week launched an appeal calling to the attention of the whole world the harrowing experience of thousands of people in that country who are displaced and are dying of hunger,” the pope said.
The country’s Catholic bishops issued a statement June 11 appealing for peace, a humanitarian corridor in the conflict zones, and respect for the sanctity of places of worship.
The bishops also asked the Catholic dioceses of Burma “to launch into a period of intense prayer, seeking compassion in the hearts of all and peace to this nation” with daily Mass, adoration, and the rosary.
"May the Heart of Christ touch the hearts of all bringing peace to Myanmar,” Pope Francis said.
The pope also marked World Refugee Day, and said that the day is a reminder to “open our hearts to refugees” and to “make their sadness and joys our own.”
“May we learn from their courageous resilience. And so, all together, we will make a more human community grow as one big family,” he said.
Pope Francis commented that this Sunday’s Gospel of the disciples caught in the storm at sea reminded him of the many refugees who travel in boats and cry out to God in their need.
“This is the beginning of our faith: to recognize that alone we are unable to stay afloat; that we need Jesus like sailors need the stars to find their course. Faith begins from believing that we are not enough for ourselves, from feeling in need of God,” he said.
“When we overcome the temptation to close ourselves off, when we overcome the false religiosity that does not want to disturb God, when we cry out to him, he can work wonders in us. It is the gentle and extraordinary power of prayer, which works miracles.”