Jesus said to his disciples, «When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do, for they hold that the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask him.
»This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts just as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us. Do not bring us to the test but deliver us from the evil one’. If you forgive others their wrongs, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you either».
To live this Lenten season in a meaningful way, one of the main pillars is ‘prayer’. Today, Jesus is teaching us to pray. If you look differently this prayer, it is not simple recitation of few words, it is actually calling us into action. Let’s look at it:
Our Father in heaven.
The very beginning of this prayer is calling us to establish an affective relationship with God, as father. How to pray without establishing this personal and affective relationship? This very same phrase in telling another truth of God, as ‘in heaven’ which indirectly invites us to have some basic self-knowledge, as an ordinary being, living on this earth and God as someone very far away, in heaven. Anything heavenly is not possible to access in an earthly manner. Thus God remains invisible, incomprehensible, unimaginable, etc., has become visible, imaginable and understandable in Jesus Christ. And, we have to work hard to understand this God in Christ and in this prayer we promise to do so.
Thy will be done:
It is in this right understanding of God, (false understanding is also possible) will help us to know and understand the divine will, in every aspect of our personal, spiritual and social life. In light of this revelation of the divine will and the way God reigns in heaven, we pray that thy kingdom come. How to pray without knowing these divine truth, which is the basic of our Christian faith? The very prayer is our positive answer to engage concretely to accomplish this divine will, just like Jesus has done in his life on the earth. Isn’t our responsibility to act positively so that God’s continuous presence be felt in our society?
Our daily bread:
It is to accomplish this divine will that we ask the Lord the daily bread, rather the heavenly bread, the Eucharist. We promise our confidence in the providence of the Lord, to be nourished daily, in all aspects of life, including material needs. Our prayer of supplication finds its source and meaning in the divine providence.
Forgive us as we forgive:
This is not a condition, but our response to the need of the Lord. As I feel and experience the divine mercy, Jesus wishes that we remain in our inter-personal relationship, the visible sign of divine mercy, by forgiving our brothers and sisters. Though the divine forgiveness is not conditioned by human behaviour, if we wish to be filled, we should be ready to empty ourselves. The more we forgive, the more we empty ourselves, so that God could fill it with the divine mercy.
If you still believe that the Lord’s Prayer is a simple recitation of words, I feel really sorry for you. Have a wonderful day.
«When you pray, do not use a lot of words; your Father knows what you need»
Fr. Joaquim FAINÉ i Miralpech
Today, Jesus —the Son of God— teaches us how to behave like a son of God. A first aspect is our trust and the confidence we should have when we talk to him. But our Lord warns us: «When you pray, do not use a lot of words» (Mt 6:7). When we talk to our parents, we do not resort to complicate reasoning, nor to using a lot of words, but they simply ask for what they need. We should always know God will listen to us because God —who is also the Father— loves us and listens to us. In fact, to pray is not so much to inform God, but to ask him for all we need, as «Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask him» (Mt 6:8). We will not be good Christians if we do not pray, as a son cannot be a good son if he does not talk to his parents.
The Lord's Prayer is the prayer that Jesus himself taught us, and it is just a compendium of our Christian life. Each time we say the Lord's Prayer we let the Father to take us by the hand and we ask him what we need everyday to become a better sons of God. We need not only the material bread, but —more than that— the Celestial Bread: «Let us beg we never lack the Eucharist bread». We need also to learn to forgive and to be forgiven: «To be able to receive the forgiveness God offers us, let us to address ourselves to the Father who loves us», as it is said in the Mass in the preliminary introduction to our Lord's Prayer.
During Lent, the Church is asking us to deepen in our prayers. «The prayer, our colloquy with God, is our best treasure, because it means (...) being united to him» (Saint John Crisostom). Oh Lord! I need to learn how to pray and how to draw specific benefits for my own life. Mostly to live the virtue of charity: the prayer gives me strength to live it better every day. And this is why I ask him daily to help me to forgive not only the small troubles I may have to face from others but, also, the offensive words and attitudes and, more than that, to bear no malice to my fellow men, so that I can sincerely tell them I have forgiven from the bottom of my heart those who are in debt with me. I will be able to achieve it because God's Mother will help me at all times.