Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Meditating on the Lord’s Prayer
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 in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. 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
Today’s Gospel invites us to rediscover the Our Father: it is the prayer come from God’s mouth and addressed to God’s ear. It is the prayer that he has left to us because he wants to be prayed with those words. People have trivialized it by repeating it serially, without thinking it over, as one may repeat a short prayer over and over when in any need or fear. We have lost the sense of the mystery that is hidden in those words. We suggest, then, to rediscover the Lord’s Prayer by creating silence in ourselves and slowly letting the words and sentences that make it up resonate within us, and then let the Spirit remove from them the dust layer that the habit and the time have laid on them. It is necessary to give back to the Lord’s Prayer the gloss it had when it flowed from Jesus of Nazareth’s lips. When we listen to those words that come out of the mouth and return to our ears, we must get to startle, otherwise we had no idea of what kind of prayer is the “Our Father”. Our faith is founded on three pillars: the gospel, which the early apostles transmitted to us, the Eucharist, which perpetuates the gift of Jesus to the Father for the benefit of the people he serves, and the Lord’s Prayer, which perpetuates the presence of Jesus praying. “Our Father” is the gospel translated into prayer. Let us be silent now and let the word “Father” resonate within us! It is the same word with which Jesus used to begin each prayer of his: “Thank you, Father; yes, Father; Holy Father; Father, into your hands.” That word contains the image of the good Father, the Father who had two sons, the Father who dresses the lilies of the field and also provides the birds of heaven with food, the Father who loved the world so much. Move on to the second word, “our”! It encompasses the secret that the Heavenly Father is everyone’s father, even the father to those who do not know him and those who do not know how to pray. Now, I lay down my pen, but the reader is urged to continue the meditation of the Lord’s Prayer.