Pope: It’s Wrong to Think Our Enemies Must Go to Hell
The Holy Father reflects on how Jesus taught his disciples to pray the Our Father.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis stressed that it’s false to think our enemies “must go to hell” during his daily Mass at the Vatican’s St. Martha House June 20.
“You cannot pray with enemies in your heart,” he said June 20. “With [both] brothers and enemies in your heart, you cannot pray.”
“They must go to hell, right? I will have nothing to do with them!” the Bishop of Rome said sarcastically.
The Pope told how Jesus noted, “If we do not forgive others, neither will the Father forgive us our sins.”
“It’s so hard to forgive others; it is really difficult because we always have that regret inside,” he said.
“We think: ‘You did this to me; you wait … I’ll repay him the favor.’”
Pope Francis gave his homily based on the day’s Gospel, which tells how Jesus taught his disciples to pray the Our Father.
“We have a Father very close to us, who embraces us,” the Pope said.
“All these worries, concerns that we have, let’s leave them to the Father; he knows what we need.”
“But ‘Father,’ what? My father?”
“No, our Father!” he exclaimed. “Because I am not an only child, none of us are, and if I cannot be a brother, I can hardly become a child of the Father, because he is a father to all.”
Pope Francis underscored that if we are not “at peace with my brothers, I cannot say ‘Father’ to him.”
Saying “Father, I have sinned” is “the key of every prayer, to feel loved by a father,” he reflected.
“Jesus immediately gives us a piece of advice in prayer: ‘In praying, do not babble'; do not make worldly noises, vain noises.”
Pope Francis explained that Jesus teaches us not to turn to God with “so many words” because “he knows everything.”
“And he warned that prayer is not a magical thing — there is no magic with prayer.”
The Holy Father noted: “Someone once told me that when he went to a witch doctor they said a lot of words to heal him, but that is pagan.”
“You must pray to him who generated you, who gave you life,” Pope Francis said.
“Not to everyone — everyone is too anonymous.”
“To whom do I pray, to a cosmic God?” he asked.
Praying to a "cosmic God" is a polytheistic model that comes from “a rather light culture" and is too impersonal.
“To whom do I pray, to the almighty God? He is too far off, ah, I can’t hear him. Neither did Jesus.”
“You must pray to the Father,” Pope Francis affirmed.
“The first” word is Father, and it is “the key” to prayer.
He stressed that, “without saying, without feeling that word, you cannot pray.”
“Jesus has promised us the Holy Spirit; it is he who teaches us from within, from the heart, how to say ‘Father’ and how to say ‘Our.’”