Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The word “Father” is another name for love

“Much more is accomplished by a single word of the Our Father said, now and then, from our heart, than by the whole prayer repeated many times in haste and without attention.”--Saint Teresa of Avila

Gospel text (Mt 6,7-15):
Jesus said to his disciples:
"In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

"This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

"If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."

Lent is a time of trust-testing and trust-building, a time for imitating Jesus led by the Spirit into the desert and tested by the devil (Mt 4:1).

In the Lord's prayer, Jesus teaches us to call God "Abba," Dad, Father (Mt 6:9), our first baby word of trust. We are commanded to pray only for today's bread (Mt 6:11). We don't need to worry about tomorrow (Mt 6:34); we can trust our Father. We can even have peace that the Lord will protect us and not subject us "to the trial," the temptation at the end of the world (Mt 6:13).

We must overcome the devil's temptations to doubt our Father. Through prayer time and Lenten time, we can come to have a deep trust in Abba — a trust that will transform our lives and give us confidence even in the face of death.

In this first week of Lent, have you already begun to be confirmed in your Father's love for you? Is the prayer of your heart, "Our Father Who art in heaven"? (see Mt 6:9) Are your secret almsgiving, praying, and fasting resulting in God the Father making no secret of His love for you as His child? Lent is about knowing our Father's love.

Let Abba (i.e. “Our Father”) love you.

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