Trusting in God means letting go of what we want, pope says

by HANNAH BROCKHAUS
Thu, Jan 26th 2017 11:00 am
Catholic News Agency

VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - On Wednesday Pope Francis said having total faith and trust in God means recognizing that he always knows and wants what is best for us, even if it's hard to accept because it doesn't align with our own plans.

Wednesday, Pope Francis talked about what it means to have total faith and trust in God, acknowledging that he knows what is best, and always wants what is best for us, even if it is often difficult to accept.

"Trusting in God means to enter into his designs without demanding anything, even accepting that his salvation and his help should come to us in a different way from our expectations," he said Jan. 25.

The Pope's catechesis for the general audience in the Pope Paul VI hall centered on the story of Judith in the Old Testament, a woman who was "a great heroine," he said, and an excellent example of the virtues of faith, hope and trust.

In the story, Nebuchadnezzar's army, under the leadership of General Holofernes, is laying siege to a city in Judea, cutting off the water supply and thus "sapping the resistance of the population," the Pope said.

"The situation is dramatic," to the point that the people in the town are giving up, wanting to surrender to the enemy, he said. Faced with such despair, a leader of the people suggests that they wait only five more days. If God has not saved them by then, they will surrender.

But then Judith comes onto the scene, "a woman of great beauty and wisdom, she speaks to the people with the language of faith," Francis said.

"You want to test the Lord Almighty," the Pope said, quoting the words of Judith, who cautioned the people not to "provoke the wrath of the Lord, our God." The Lord, she said, "has full power to defend us in the days he wants or even to destroy us by our enemies."

Referencing the passage, Pope Francis told pilgrims that "we never put conditions on God and give up...instead hope conquers our fears."

"He is a Father, he can save us," he said. In this way, "a woman full of faith and courage gives new strength to his people in mortal danger and leads them on the path of hope, revealing this also to us."

Judith shows us the path to trust, to "wait in peace, prayer and obedience," Francis said, noting that this sort of resignation is not easy. We must do everything in our power, but "always remaining in the furrow of the Lord's will."

In off-the-cuff comments, the Pope said Judith was brave to trust in God as she did, adding that "this is my opinion: women are more courageous than men."

We can and should ask the Lord for life, health, happiness, he said, but always "in the awareness that God is able to bring life even from death" and that we can experience "peace even in disease, serenity even in solitude, (and) bliss even in tears."

"We are not the ones who can teach God what to do, what we need," he said. "He knows better than we do, and we have to trust, because his ways and his thoughts are different from ours."  

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