At the beginning of the General Audience, the pope made two announcements. One was a reminder that he would unfortunately not greet pilgrims personally because of the coronavirus.
The other was a thought that came to his mind when he noticed a mother quieting down her crying baby and nursing it. He said that was the image of God who cares for every person.
“Never silence a crying baby in Church. Never, because it is the voice that attracts God's tenderness. Thank you for your witness.”
Then Pope Francis resumed his catechesis on prayer. He explained that it's not a sedative to alleviate anxiety. He also said praying is impossible for people who hate or for those who merely repeat empty words.
“The worst service someone can give God, and others as well, is to pray tiredly, mechanically, to pray like parrots: blah blah blah blah. No, one prays with the heart. Prayer is the center of life. If there is prayer, a brother, a sister, becomes important. Even enemies.”
The pope said there is such a thing as false prayer, which is what happens when someone who thinks he or she is a good Christian prays, but in reality doesn't care about others.
“If you pray many rosaries each day but then gossip about others, and nourish grudges inside; if you hate others, this is artificial. It is not true. It is not consistent.”
This is how Pope Francis concluded his catechesis on prayer. He insisted on using the Psalms as inspiration to learn how to pray. He also reminded pilgrims that October is a missionary month, which is why he invited Christians to be brave and announce the Gospel with both words and actions.