Visit with Muslim scholar
After five years of silence, Pope Francis met with the Grand Imam of the renowned Al-Azhar mosque and university in Egypt on May 23. Sheik Ahmed el-Tayyib and the pontiff met at the Vatican to promote inter-religious dialogue and peace. Talks between the head of the important Sunni Muslim mosque and university had been discontinued in 2011 after a speech by Pope Benedict XVI which linked Islam and violence. “Our meeting is the message,” Pope Francis told the Grand Imam as he greeted him.
The leaders discussed the common aim for peace and the challenge of terrorism, as well as the situation of persecuted Christians and suffering Muslims in the Middle East.
Persevere in prayer, but it’s no “magic wand”
On May 25, Pope Francis spoke to a general audience about the importance of prayer. In his discussion of the Parable of the Unjust Judge, a widow forces the judge to grant her request for justice because of her persistence. Like the widow who did not give up, Pope Francis said, “We ask the Lord for a faith which becomes unceasing prayer.” Although all of us “experience moments of fatigue and discouragement, especially when our prayers seem ineffective,” the pontiff encouraged his listeners not to become discouraged.
Finally, he said: “The goal of the prayer is of secondary importance; what matters above all is the relationship with the Father.”
Pope Francis @Pontifex
“Each time we go to confession, God embraces us, God rejoices"
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