PRAYER: Our Father

You must have recited the Our Father hundreds of times in your lifetime. It is a stylized prayer, one that we recite from Scripture at every Eucharist. Like all prayers that we say over and over, we have a tendency to take the words for granted.  That is why Lectio Divina is so important. Lectio is a system of four steps that take time to do it effectively. Guido II’s four steps are reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation. Everyone wants to get to contemplation (feeling God’s presence) but either we do not allow for enough time or our minds’ attention span won’t let us focus on the reading long enough for our spirit to be at peace.

As an aspiring Lay Cistercian, one of the things I have learned from the monks at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery, Conyers, Georgia, is that it is all prayer, the time you take, the temptations to do something more important, the interruptions, and the small successes you reach, through the grace of God in you.

I recite the Our Father each time I pray the Rosary.  I have just recently begun to stop and think about the first word, Our in the Our Father. When Jesus says to his disciplines, thus shall you pray. Matthew 6: 9-14

“Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
10     Your kingdom come.
    Your will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.
11     Give us this day our daily bread.[c]
12     And forgive us our debts,
        as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13     And do not bring us to the time of trial,[d]
        but rescue us from the evil one.[e]

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

What struck me was the Our.  Jesus is not telling the disciples to pray to YOUR Father in Heaven but includes Himself. The Father is indeed the Father of Our Lord as well as our Father.  For me, that means Jesus is one of us, brother of the flesh, a sharer in our weaknesses, like us in all things but sin.  Jesus knows our struggles to pray and is one with us.  In fact, this the prayer Jesus uses to the Father when He prays.

Next time you say the Lord’s Prayer, think about Our.

 

that in all things, may God be glorified.  St. Benedict

 

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