Doubt can be a step towards deeper faith, says Pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Even the most devout believers go through moments of doubt and questioning about God, and that’s a good thing, Pope Francis said, because it helps to see that God doesn’t fit in the little box people make for him. .

Doubt “helps us understand that God is always greater than we imagine. His work is surprising compared to our calculations; his actions are different, always, they exceed our needs and our expectations; and therefore, we must never stop seeking him,” the pope told those joining him for the December 11 Angelus prayer.

People face a “constant temptation: to make us a God to our measure, a God to be used,” the pope said. But “God is something else”.

Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he leads the Angelus from his studio window overlooking St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican on December 11, 2022. The pope blessed baby Jesus figurines brought by children for their Nativity scenes. (CNS Photo/Vatican Media)

Pope Francis spoke from today’s Gospel reading about how John the Baptist, while in prison, sent disciples to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah, even though John had previously baptized Jesus in the Jordan.

With around 25,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the midday prayer, the pope said that sometimes people find themselves in an “inner prison”, unable to recognize the Lord or even trying to hold him “captive” of preconceived ideas about who God should be.

“Dear brothers and sisters, we never know everything about God, never! he said. “Perhaps we have in mind a powerful God who does what he wants, instead of the God of humble gentleness, the God of mercy and love, who always intervenes with respect for our freedom and our choices.”

And, he said, it’s also a temptation to think we know everything about others, using our biases “to attach rigid labels to others, especially those we think are different from we”.

Advent, he says, is a time to let go and be surprised by God.

Especially when families prepare a nativity scene or one goes to see one set up somewhere, he said, it is an opportunity to reflect on who the Lord really is and how to imitate him in daily life. .

“Advent is a time when, instead of thinking of gifts for ourselves, we can give words and gestures of consolation to those who are hurt, as Jesus did with the blind, the deaf and the lame,” the pope said.

After reciting the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis blessed figurines of the infant Jesus that hundreds of children had brought to the square with a view to placing them in Nativity scenes at home or in the ‘school.

He asked the children “to pray in front of the nativity scene that the nativity of the Lord will bring a ray of peace to children all over the world, especially to those who are forced to live through the terrible and dark days of war, this war in Ukraine which destroys many lives, so many lives and so many children.

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