The pope encouraged Christians to respond to their own “personal defeats” in the same way as Jesus.
“In those moments, Jesus, who highly recommended the prayer of asking questions, at the very moment when He would have had reason to ask the Father for explanations, instead begins to praise Him. It seems to be a contradiction, but it is there, it is the truth,” he said.
“To whom is praise helpful?” he asked. “To us or to God? A text of the Eucharistic liturgy invites us to pray to God in this way, it says this: ‘Although you have no need of our praise, yet our thanksgiving is itself your gift, since our praises add nothing to your greatness, but profit us for salvation.’ By giving praise, we are saved.”
“The prayer of praise serves us. The Catechism defines it this way -- the prayer of praise ‘shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing Him in glory.’”
The pope then reflected on a prayer by St. Francis of Assisi, known as the “Canticle of Brother Sun.”
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“The Poverello did not compose it in a moment of joy, in a moment of wellbeing, but on the contrary, in the midst of hardship,” he explained.
“Francis was by then almost blind, and he felt in his soul the weight of a solitude he had never before experienced: the world had not changed since the beginning of his preaching, there were still those who let themselves be torn apart by quarrels, and in addition, he was aware that death was approaching ever nearer.”
“It could have been the moment of disillusionment, of that extreme disillusionment and the perception of his own failure. But Francis prayed at that instant of sadness, in that dark instant: ‘Laudato si’, mi Signore…’ (‘All praise is yours, my Lord...’)”
“He prays by giving praise. Francis praises God for everything, for all the gifts of creation, and even for death, which he courageously calls ‘sister.’”
The pope commented: “These examples of saints, of Christians, and also of Jesus, of praising God in difficult moments, open to us the gates of a great road towards the Lord, and they purify us always. Praise always purifies.”
In conclusion, Pope Francis said: “The saints show us that we can always give praise, in good times and bad, because God is the faithful Friend.”
“This is the foundation of praise: God is the faithful friend, and His love never fails. He is always beside us, He always awaits us. It has been said, ‘He is the sentinel who is close to you and keeps you going with confidence.’”
“In difficult and dark moments, let us have the courage to say: ‘Blessed are you, O Lord.’ Praising the Lord. This will do us so much good.”