Entering Jesus' life of perfect prayerSunday Readings Lecturas y Comentarios Sunday Readings Bible StudyPrayer of the HoursBurning Question: Should we hold hands during the "Our Father?"
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 25, 2010 (17C)
By Father Cusick
If our work in the world is to be found in the will of the Father, if what we do is to bring the Divine presence and message to those with whom we work and live each day, we must be people of sincere and heartfelt prayer. A regular life of prayer What we do will reflect who we are. Prayer forms as people who worship the Lord in all of our thoughts, actions and words.
Authentic prayer begins for us in the same “school” as it did for the Apostles: the lessons taught by the Lord. We come to the Lord, as did the Apostles, and we also ask, “Lord, teach us to pray.” The Lord is the master of prayer, for as the God-man he prayed perfectly, and he does so still. What is wonderful for us, he invites us to enter ourselves into his life of perfect prayer and communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit of God.
“Jesus ‘ was praying at a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'(Lk 11:1) In response to this request the Lord entrusts to his disciples and to his Church the fundamental Christian prayer. St. Luke presents a brief text of five petitions, (Cf. Lk 11:2-4) while St. Matthew gives a more developed version of seven petitions. (Cf. Mt 6:9-13) The liturgical tradition of the Church has retained St. Matthew's Text:“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.”
The Lord’s Prayer is of itself a catechism or primer on the discipline of Christian prayer. The Lord not only gives us the words to say as we enter into conversation with the Father, he also directs the sentiments of the heart and mind in order that our prayer may be fitting worship as well. In union with the Father and His will, the suppliant enters with these words and heartfelt sentiments into the same Holy Spirit as did the Son, humbly and sincerely before the Almighty who knows what we need before we ask, but desires that we grow in love with Him that he may be more truly our Father in heaven. The Kingdom which we yearn for in prayer is the perfect realization of the Father’s desires for us and for the whole world, summed up in the possibility and destiny of salvation offered in and by the Son, our Redeemer. It is the end toward which the action of prayer and all worship is directed, the summation of every good which we may seek in this world. Every natural good or blessing is a sign of our eternal and supernatural end in union with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In our official prayer as the body of Christ on earth, we the Church offer the prayer our Lord taught us thrice each day, in the morning and evening prayers as well as in the holy Mass. We add what is called the acclamation of the doxology in the liturgy of the Mass.
“Very early on, liturgical usage concluded the Lord's prayer with a doxology. In the Didache, we find, "For yours are the power and the glory for ever." (Didache 8, 2: SCh 248, 174.) The Apostolic Constitutions add to the beginning: "the kingdom," and this is the formula retained to our day in ecumenical prayer. (Apostolic Constitutions, 7, 24, 1: PG 1, 1016.) The Byzantine tradition adds after "the glory" the words "Father, Son and Holy Spirit." The Roman Missal develops the last petition in the explicit perspective of "awaiting our blessed hope." and of the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then comes the assembly's acclamation or the repetition of the doxology from the Apostolic Constitutions.” (CCC 2760)
“The Lord's Prayer ‘is truly the summary of the whole gospel.’ (Tertullian, De orat. 1: PL 1, 1155.) ‘Since the Lord...after handing over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, “Ask and you will receive,” and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer [the Lord's Prayer] is said first, as the foundation of further desires.” (Tertullian, De orat. 10: PL 1, 1165; cf. Lk 11 :9.)” (CCC 2761)See also nos. 443, 520, 728, 1425, 2601, 2613, 2623, 2632, 2671, 2759, 2761, 2762-2865, 2773, 2845 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Let's pray for each other until, together next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father CusickSee also nos. 443, 520, 728, 1425, 2601, 2613, 2623, 2632, 2671, 2759, 2761, 2773, 2845 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.