Vatican City, March 9 (IANS/AKI) Pope Francis says he has experienced times of "emptiness" and "spiritual dark" when he prayed to God for strength.
In an interview to German weekly news magazine Die Zeit published on Thursday, the Pope, asked if he had ever doubted the existence of God, said: "I, too, know these empty moments."
He spoke about the "spiritual dark moments" in his own life when he has said: "Lord, I don't understand this."
"Faith is a gift," he said when asked what people should do if they lose or doubt their religious belief.
"One cannot recover one's faith on one's own, but must ask it from God: I ask, and He responds. Sooner or later, eh? But at times, you have to wait, in a crisis."
"But crises also provide an opportunity to grow," he said.
Giving the example of adolescence, he added: "Even biological growth is a crisis, no? The crisis of a child who becomes an adult. And faith is the same."
The leader of the world's 1.3 billion Catholics stressed in the interview that he did not want a cult following to build around his persona and does not consider himself to be special in any way.
"I, too, am a sinner, and am fallible," Francis stated.