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This Is How You Pray
Daily Gospel Reflection 6/16/2022
“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 others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Mt 6:7-15)
“The Lord's Prayer is truly the summary of the whole Gospel" (CCC 2761)
Today's reading focuses on when the disciples asked Jesus how they should pray? What was given to them was what we refer to as the "Lord's Prayer" or the "Our Father" prayer. ( Mt 6:9-13, Lk 11:2-4) If you are a Catholic, you most certainly recite this prayer probably daily, and of course, it is always recited as a whole during the beginning of the Communion Rite at mass. In this prayer, the people join their voices to pray for the coming of God's Kingdom and ask God to provide for our needs, forgive our sins, and bring us to the joy of heaven.1
When we pray to "our" Father, we personally address the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By doing so, we do not divide the Godhead, since the Father is its "source and origin," but rather confess that the Son is eternally begotten by him and the Holy Spirit proceeds from him. We are not confusing the persons, for we confess that our communion is with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, in their one Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is consubstantial and indivisible. When we pray to the Father, we adore and glorify him together with the Son and the Holy Spirit.2
During the years that I stepped away from Catholicism and tried to fit into other areas of Christianity, I always missed the celebration of the Lord's Prayer or at least the way the Catholics celebrate this prayer. I believe it was the power of the Lord's Prayer", some life experience, and of course, the yearning for the sacraments that returned me to the beautiful tradition of the Catholic faith. I am thankful for our church’s history and those leaders who guide and encourage us to do better.
This week if you are stuck in your prayer life and want to try something new, I suggest slowing down and concentrating deeper on the Lord's Prayer. There are a lot of methods from St. Ignatius, who recommends praying this very slowly and in harmony with the pattern of deep, relaxed breathing. He also suggested a technique that dwells on the Our Father's first word and does not move on to the next until it feels meaningful. I have done this, and I find it a great way to return to the basics of our faith.
“A young novice once asked Teresa of Avila, ‘Mother, what shall I do to
become a contemplative? Without missing a beat, Teresa responded, “Say the Our Father – but take an hour to say it.”
2 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed. (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 2020), 2789.