A Simple Prayer Method From A Simple Pontiff

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It is becoming increasingly clear that our Pope Francis is a pope who, as Stephen White put it, smells like his sheep. He is a man of his people, and a father who communicates to his people in a fashion that they seem to like.

More evidence of this is a means to prayer that the Holy Father authored when he was still the Archbishop in Argentina. It is a lovely way to pray, and it showcases Pope Francis’ sense of simplicity, his priority for family, his love for the poor and also his recognition that prayer is powerful.

CNA_5150ae71dadc2_19580Readers may already know the prayer. It has been around for a while, but several sources are saying that it was written by Cardinal Bergoglio. I should note as well that it was attributed to him well before he became Pope Francis.

So here it is: Pope Francis’ five finger prayer guide. (Go here for the Spanish)

1. The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a “sweet obligation.”

2. The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.

3. The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.

4. The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even that it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers.

5. And finally we have our smallest finger, the smallest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.

This is a simple way to prayer that even kids can get. And it gives a whole new meaning to giving our political leaders your middle finger. (Sorry…couldn’t resist.) But it is eminently practical, and it is certainly grounded in the Catholic tradition. Indeed, what I like most about it is the end. By praying for others we can begin to see our own needs in greater perspective. It is an important lesson, one that pops up in Catholic Social Teaching quite often.

We read this in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church for instance,

“390. …The sphere of friendship, on the other hand, is that selflessness, detachment from material goods, giving freely and inner acceptance of the needs of others. Civil friendship understood in this way is the most genuine actualization of the principle of fraternity, which is inseparable from that of freedom and equality. In large part, this principle has not been put into practice in the concrete circumstances of modern political society, above all because of the influence of individualistic and collectivistic ideologies.”

The just society starts with a focus on the needs of others. Thanks Papa Francis.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

Omar F. A. Gutiérrez works for the Archdiocese of Omaha as the Special Assistant to the Archbishop George J. Lucas and as the Manager of the Office of Missions & Justice. He has a background in Catholic theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (the Angelicum) and finally from the University of Dallas where his Master’s thesis applied Cardinal Newman’s marks of the development of doctrine to Vatican II’s Dignitatis humanae. Omar has fostered a special interest in the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church. His articles in that vein have been published in several online and print Catholic media including the National Catholic Register, The Catholic Answer and Catholic World Report. His audio series on Catholic Social Teaching with Kris McGregor for DiscerningHearts.com has been given favorable reviews by CatholicCulture.com and by leading Catholic apologists. His website is omargutierrez.com. Most importantly, Omar is happily married and enjoys his children’s laughter.

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