Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray not only for oneself but also for others during his weekly General Audience on Dec. 17.
“What does it mean to participate in Christ’s intercession? When I intercede for someone or pray for someone,” said the pontiff as he continued his catechesis on prayer.
“Jesus is our intercessor and to pray is to be a bit like Jesus: to intercede in Jesus to the Father, for others,” said the pope. “This is very beautiful,” he added.
In his continuing reflection on prayer, Pope Francis focused on “intercessory prayer,” which means a prayer on behalf of someone else.
He said that those who are accustomed to praying “never turn their backs on the world,” adding that if prayer is not engaged with every aspect of human existence, it becomes a “decorative” activity.
“In prayer, God ‘takes us, blesses us, breaks us, and gives us,’ to satisfy everyone’s hunger,” he said. “Every Christian is called to become bread, broken and shared, in God’s hands,” added the pope.
He said people who pray always “keep the doors of their hearts wide open” even when they seek solitude and silence.
“They pray for those who do not pray, or do not know how to pray, as well as for those who have erred and have lost the way,” he said.
He said that those who pray “separate themselves from everything and everyone” to “rediscover everything and everyone in God.”
The pope said that when people “pray for each and every person,” they can see “the face of Christ in every poor person who knocks at their door, in every person who has lost the meaning of things.”
Pope Francis said “the human heart tends toward prayer.”
He said prayer involves love for our brothers and sisters because “no matter what errors people may have committed, they should never be rejected or discarded.”
Pope Francis insisted that when those who pray offer prayers for sinners, there should be no judgment or condemnation.
He said that despite the sins of His people, God remains faithful, persevering “in His service as a Shepherd even with those force him to get His hands dirty.
“He does not close His heart to those who have even made Him suffer,” said the pope.
He said that it is also incumbent for those in the Church to pray for others, “like Abraham and Moses … they must at times ‘defend’ those entrusted to them before God.”