Home Vatican News Without saying, ‘Father,’ our prayer is pagan, pope says

Without saying, ‘Father,’ our prayer is pagan, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Asking God for help in forgiving one’s enemies is the best prayer anyone can say, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.

Joseph Niedzielski kisses his 5-month-old daughter, Colette, during Mass at Jesus the Divine Word Church in Huntingtown, last year.. Fathers are honored in special ways on Father's Day, which is celebrated June 19 this year. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Joseph Niedzielski kisses his daughter, Colette, during Mass at Jesus the Divine Word Church in Huntingtown, Md., last year.. Fathers are honored in special ways on Father’s Day, which is celebrated June 19 this year. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

“The ability to forgive is very important, to forget, forget offenses, that healthy habit” of knowing when to let things go and let it be up to the Lord in order to avoid “rancor, resentment and the desire for revenge,” the pope said.

Pope Francis talked about the Lord’s Prayer in his homily during Mass June 16 in the Casa Santa Marta, where he lives.

It’s important to start every prayer with addressing God as “Father,” he said, because it reminds people they are children of God.

“Without feeling that we are children, without feeling oneself a son or daughter, without saying ‘Father’ our prayer is pagan,” he said; it is an empty prayer built only on words.

It’s fine to pray to Mary and the saints, he said, “but the cornerstone of prayer” is the Father, Vatican Radio reported the pope saying. All prayers must begin with God, the Father, also because he knows his children and what they need even “before we ask him.”

Saying, “Our Father,” also reminds the faithful that they belong to a family, “that we are brothers and sisters” and that helps people reconcile with one another, he said.

Praying to the Father, “forgiving everyone, forgetting offenses is the best prayer” one can say, he said.