Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Reflections on The Lord's Prayer

The  Lord's Prayer
                This is the prayer Jesus taught His disciples.  Sometimes we say it rapidly, from memory, but it can be a beautiful, personal prayer if we spend the time thinking about the words.  St. Augustine wrote to Proba with explanations and meditation ideas we too can use.  You may want to cut out this letter.
                Our Father who art in heaven: We need to use words so that we may remind ourselves to consider carefully what e are asking, not so that we may think we can instruct the Lord or prevail on him.
                Thus, when we say: Hallowed be your name, we are reminding ourselves to desire that his name, which in fact is always holy, should also be considered holy among men, that it should not be held in contempt.  But this is a help for men, not for God.
                And as for our saying, Your kingdom come, it will surely come whether we will it or not.  But we are stirring up our desires for the kingdom so that it can come to us and we can deserve to reign there.
                When we say: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are asking him to make us obedient so that his will may be done in us as it is done in heaven by his angels.
                When we say: Give us this day our daily bread,  in saying this day we mean "in this world."  Here we ask for a sufficiency by specifying the most important part of it; that is, we use the word "bread" to stand for everything.  Or else we are asking for the sacrament of the faithful, which is necessary in this world, not to gain temporal happiness but to gain the happiness that is everlasting.
                When we say: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, we are reminding ourselves of what we must ask and what we must do in order to be worthy in turn to receive.
                When we say: Lead us not into temptation, we are reminding ourselves to ask that his help may not depart from us; otherwise we could be seduced and consent to some temptation, or despair and yield to it.
                When we say: Deliver us from evil, we are reminding ourselves to reflect on the fact that we do not yet enjoy the state of blessedness in which we shall suffer no evil.  This is the final petition, in which the Christian can utter his cries of sorrow, and through it he can begin, continue, and conclude his prayer.  Whatever be the other words we may prefer to say, we say nothing that is not contained in the Lord's Prayer. 
                May the Lord hear your prayers.  May He give to all of you a heart to worship Him and to do his will. kvs

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