Pope Francis said the catechism on its own is not sufficient to truly know Jesus and we need prayer, worship and to recognize ourselves as sinners. His words came during his morning Mass celebrated on Thursday in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence.
The cue for the Pope’s reflections during his homily came from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where the Apostle prayed that they may be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit and that Christ may dwell in their hearts.
Noting that Paul spoke of plunging into the immense sea that is the person of Christ, Pope Francis asked “how can we know Christ, How can we understand His love that is beyond all knowledge?”
“Christ is present in the Gospel and we know Christ by reading the Gospel. And all of us do this, at least we hear the Gospel when we go to Mass. And studying the catechism teaches us who Christ is. But this is not enough. In order to understand the breadth and length and height and depth of Jesus Christ we need to enter into the habit, firstly of praying, as Paul did on his knees: “Father send me the Holy Spirit to know Jesus.”
But in order to truly know Christ, the Pope stressed that prayer on its own is not enough and as Paul said, in addition to praying he “worships this mystery” that is beyond our knowledge and in this spirit of worship or adoration he asks for this grace from the Lord.
“We cannot know the Lord without this habit of worship, to worship in silence, adoration. If I am not mistaken, I believe that this prayer of adoration is the least known by us, it’s the one that we do least. Allow me to say this, waste time in front of the Lord, in front of the mystery of Jesus Christ. Worship him. There in silence, the silence of adoration. He is the Saviour and I worship Him.”
Pope Francis said the third requirement for truly knowing Christ was to know ourselves and as a result be accustomed to describing ourselves as sinners.
“We cannot worship without accusing ourselves. In order to enter into this bottomless and boundless sea that is the mystery of Jesus Christ, this thing is necessary. (Firstly), prayer: ‘Father, send me the Holy Spirit so that he leads me to know Jesus.’ Secondly, worship the mystery, enter into the mystery and worship Him. And thirdly, accuse ourselves. ‘I am a man of unclean lips.’ May the Lord give us too this grace that Paul implored for the Ephesians, this grace to know and earn Christ.