Tuesday, March 11, 2014

“Seek by reading and you will find by meditating. Knock by praying, and it will be opened to you in contemplation.”

“Whatever else we say when we pray, if we pray as we should, we are only saying what is already contained in the Lord's Prayer.” - St. Augustine

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.”

Has there ever been a more powerful or more important prayer than the Our Father? The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the Our Father “is truly the summary of the whole Gospel”. (#2761) Jesus isn’t just suggesting a prayer for us to say; what he said is: “This is how you are to pray.”

Since the time he taught us the Our Father himself, it has been recited by every Christian church, in every service from baptism to burial. It’s also at the heart of our private devotions. And people who might otherwise differ on points of doctrine are united by their common use of this beautiful prayer. How easy, though, it can be for us to say it routinely and without much thought.

With that in mind, let’s reflect together in a prayerful way on each powerful phrase of the Our Father.

o I cannot say “our” if I live only for myself.

o I cannot say “Father” if I do not approach God like a child.

o I cannot say “who art in heaven” if I am not laying up some treasure there right now.

o I cannot say “hallowed be thy name” if I am careless with that name.

o I cannot say “Thy kingdom come” if I am not working to bring it about in the here and now.

o I cannot say “thy will be done” if I am resentful of that will for me at this moment.

o I cannot say “on earth as it is in heaven” if I don’t look on heaven as my future home.

o I cannot say “give us our daily bread” if I am overanxious about tomorrow.

o I cannot say “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” if I am waiting to settle a score with someone.

o I cannot say ‘lead us not into temptation’ if I deliberately put myself in a place to be tempted.

o I cannot say ‘deliver us from evil’ if I am not prepared to pray as though everything depends on God and work as though everything depends on me.

o And finally, I cannot say “amen’ with my lips if my heart does not believe the words Our Lord himself has given us to pray.

Our Lord Jesus has given us the model of all prayer. May Our Lady help us to pray it while savoring each of the 7 petitions and come to believe that God is truly Our Father.

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