The theme of the Pope Video for December is ‘For a life of prayer’. In his script for the video, Pope Francis emphasises the importance of praying with Scripture. “Every time we read a short passage from the Gospel we hear Jesus speaking to us,” he says; “We have a conversation with Jesus.” And it is through this conversation, this prayer, that “we change reality”. As always for the Pope, changing the reality of the world around us begins with a change of heart.
The press release accompanying the video, from the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, notes that the central message of Pope Francis is connected to the global experience of a pandemic.
The Pope himself is a man of prayer, and The Pope Video bears witness to this with images taken from the most emotive moments of 2020: the prayer service for the pandemic in an empty St. Peter’s Square; a pilgrimage of the crucifix of San Marcelo in Via del Corso, in the middle of Rome; and moments of recollection before the Byzantine icon of Salus Populi Romani at the Roman Basilica of St. Mary Major.
Fr Frédéric Fornos SJ, International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, recalls Pope Francis remarking to a large audience in the Paul VI Hall that “The heart of the mission of the Church is prayer. Fr Fornos adds:
For many, prayer is reduced to a peaceful time or one of reflection, but for those who discover its depth, it’s the heart’s respiration. Prayer opens us to Love, which has a face: Jesus Christ, who leads us to the Father. Often, its fruits and its fecundity aren’t immediately visible. Like the seed in the dirt, it takes time… but its fecundity is immense, as the Gospel says: it produces thirty-, sixty-, and even a hundred-fold (Mk 4:20). Prayer is essential for the mission of the Church. Let us pray that our personal relationship with Jesus may always be nourished by the Word of God and by a life of prayer.