Jacques Philippe: "To pray is, above all, to welcome a presence".

Jacques Philippe is undoubtedly one of the best known spiritual authors of our time. Through his numerous works and retreats, this author has led thousands of people, lay people, priests, converts or even non-believers on paths of prayer and Christian life in today's world.

Maria José Atienza-March 31, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes

Omnes The printed issue of the April 2021 issue contains an interview with this Frenchman, a member of the Beatitudes community, who answers current issues such as pain, freedom and the need for prayer in our world.

The experience of the pandemic has "unsettled" many non-believers, but also many others who have faith but who are now asking themselves: "How can God allow this situation?

We are faced with the eternal question of the existence of evil in the world. The real question we have to ask ourselves, in my opinion is not, "Why this situation?", since there is always an unknown part... but, "How can I live this situation in a positive way and welcome it as a possibility for human and spiritual growth?"

I have noticed that this situation has caused many people to make a spiritual leap, a greater intensity of prayer, a stronger commitment to proclaim the Gospel, thanks to the Internet, for example. It is up to each person to discover how this situation invites him or her to progress in faith, hope and charity.

As a society, did we think that we were capable of doing whatever we wanted? Hadn't we also brought this human experience into the realm of Christian life?

Sometimes we do. The fragility, even helplessness, that we experience reminds us that faith is not the exercise of power, but the surrender of our weakness and fragility into God's hands. This situation of weakness that we are going through invites us not to find our security in our power, in our ability to solve it or to understand it, but to place our security in the trusting abandonment into the hands of our Heavenly Father, as the Gospel proposes to us.

How does a person like Jacques Philippe, who dedicates his life to talking about God, talk to God?

I often use the words of Scripture, especially the psalms, and the prayers offered to us by the Church. I believe that the most profound prayer is not so much about talking to God, but simply about being in his presence in an act of faith, welcoming his love and offering oneself to him in return. All this, through a very simple attitude of the heart, beyond words and sensitive experiences. To pray is, above all, to welcome a presence.

One of the characteristics of our world is the selfie culture: we look at ourselves all the time. How can we prevent this from happening in our relationship with God?

There is a certain obsession with self-image in our world. We try to give others a good image of ourselves. We end up existing only in the eyes of others. Prayer helps us to live under the gaze of God. Our true identity, our deep beauty, is not something we have to produce, to fabricate, something we have to convince others of, but it is something we receive freely from God.

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