Fanning the Flame at 2620 Lebanon Avenue, Belleville, IL 6221 US - November 25, Jesus Taught Us to Pray (36)
|November 25, Jesus Taught Us to Pray (36)|
Jesus Taught Us to Pray (CCC, NOS. 2759-2865) Quick Reflection: Commentary In 2 Samuel 7:18-22, King David prays to God. I have attempted here to make the words of David my own: Look at the Lord’s Prayer together with your children and help them to learn, expanding from there, more about how we are invited to pray through the following things to discuss: How do we address God, what names do we call God when we pray? What are some good things to say to and about God when we pray? What are good times to pray? Where do we pray and how are our prayers perhaps different at different times and places? How do we involve our whole body in prayer? What kinds of things do we ask for in prayer? Pray together the Lord’s Prayer often!
Click here for the study sheet for printing, includes * below
About the Author
Questions to Ponder and Discuss*
Artwork of Bishop Schlarman offered for meditation
Digging Deeper (Listen to Fr. Robert Barron on the Lord's Prayer)
Suggested Reading (Link to a series on the Petitions of the Lord's Prayer by Bishop Schlarman)
Beyond the Parish (Prayerfully listen to the Lord's Prayer sung and meditate upon the images)
“The Christian does not say “my Father” but “our Father”, even in the secrecy of a closed room, because he knows that in every place, on every occasion, he is a member of one and the same Body.” - Pope Benedict XVI, June 6, 2007
"THE SUMMARY OF THE WHOLE GOSPEL
The Lord's Prayer "is truly the summary of the whole gospel" wrote Tertullian, famous for his writings in the early Church. At the center of the Scriptures, after showing how the psalms are the principal food of Christian prayer, St. Augustine concludes: "Glance through all the words of the holy prayers (in Scripture), and I do not think that you will be able to find anything in them that is not contained in the Lord's Prayer." The Lord's Prayer is recognized, then, as the most perfect of prayers. St. Thomas Aquinas added this insight: "In it not only do we ask for everything we can desire, but this prayer gives form to our most loving desires."
On the one hand, in the words of this prayer Christ Jesus gives us the words the Father gave Him: He is our teacher of prayer (In 17:7). On the other hand, as Word Incarnate, Jesus knows in his human heart the needs of his human brothers and sisters and reveals them to us: He is the model of our prayer, and teaches us to pray as Church, as the Body of Christ. St. John Chrysostom puts it this way: "The Lord teaches us to make a prayer in common for all our brothers and sisters. For He did not say "my Father who art in heaven", but our" Father, offering petitions for the common Body.
In all our Catholic liturgical traditions, the Lord's Prayer is an integral part. In the Divine Office (the official prayer of the Church) and the three sacraments of Christian initiation its ecclesial character is especially clear. In the Eucharistic Liturgy the Lord's Prayer, placed between the Eucharistic prayer and the communion, sums up on the one hand all petitions and intercessions and, on the other, seeks admittance to the feast of the kingdom which sacramental communion anticipates. Furthermore, the Eucharist and the Lord's Prayer look eagerly for the Lord's return, "until he comes" (1 Cor 11:26), mindful of St. Paul's admonition.
The “Our Father” is the best and richest of all prayers because it was the Lord Jesus’ favored prayer. Why? Because He followed an order, or steps, teaching us how to pray with all our prayers. How do you enter the prayer? First, put yourself in the Father’s presence; take time to calm yourself; quiet all other thoughts; relax in silence, let God’s Spirit take over, giving you a sense of His goodness, His love for you. Prayer at this point is holy because God’s presence has just enveloped your whole being. That’s why it has been called “a step into heaven while on earth”…Our Father, in heaven, holy be your name, “wholly” with me!
My time ministering in the prison system has given me some recent specific opportunities to see the power of this prayer coupled with the study of the faith. The young men come desiring, seeking, and wanting to discover what they’ve missed until now, namely this confident experience of God’s closeness and His abiding presence “wholly” with them in prayer. They find it “new” and especially are taken with the rosary to their new-found Mother and her Hail Mary joined to her Son’s Our Father. Witnessing them receive Jesus in Holy Communion, it is hard to remember when others have been in such awe, such reverence, such quiet, such concentration on God’s presence within.
This honesty continues into the discussions we have on the study of Scriptures and the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA) about what God has revealed and how He expects us to act. Recently, while we were reviewing the first three of the Ten Commandments, I found them talking about their life failures. I saw what was happening. As they were appreciating God’s instruction about Himself in those first commandments, they easily slipped into their failures related to the remaining seven commandments.
As they began voicing their contrition to one another and to me with growing frustration, I interrupted to point out how humble they sounded, and how much their Father God loved them for their humility and honesty. God was bringing out the best in them, including their bringing out the best in each other through mutual understanding and trust.
This exchange, this heart to heart conversation, was a moving moment for me to see God’s presence, Christ’s love and grace at work. In the same way, the “Lord’s Prayer” regularly prayed, or even just thought of often during our day, can give us an instance of intimacy with Him. It’s the constant working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, constant tugging at us with love – and mercy.
A fascinating sentence from the USCCA chapter 36, Jesus Taught Us to Pray, is: “The Gospels rarely describe what His prayer was like, simply noting that He prayed often.” Even when He was having a busy day? Apparently; and we can too. Stop and think, beginning today, at what moments you could simply think of God – with gratitude…with need…over something beautiful… then, unite these thoughts to: Our Father, Lord Jesus, Mother Mary… Discover extraordinary intimacy… The moment will pass, but just until the next one. “Heaven does not refer to a place but to God’s presence in our hearts…” (CCC, no. 2802)
Whether earthly nourishment, forgiveness needed or given to others, freedom from temptations, or deliverance from evils is sought; whether with the Lord’s Prayer or prayers of your own making, long or short, God-is-with-us, Emmanuel! Trust and move on! Pray in order to believe, believe in order to pray!
We all have various experiences with father figures. When they have been positive, how have they paved the way for approaching the “Our Father”? Where they have been negative, how does the image need to be healed to allow the prayer of the “Our Father” to reveal God’s abiding and loving presence?
The “Our Father” is prayed in many settings. Are we cautious about it not becoming so familiar that the words roll without thought off our tongues? On the other hand, how might the familiarity serve as a way to incorporate it into our lives like a lens, a natural automatic prayer response, a springboard to additional forms of praye?
Review the petitions of the “Our Father” and, looking at each one, what do they mean personally and what difference can they make this day?
Who am I, Lord God, that you should have brought me so far?
And yet even this is too little in your sight, Lord God!
For you have made a promise reaching into the future, giving guidance to people, Lord God!
What more can I say to you? You have had your servant at heart; You have brought about this whole magnificent disclosure to your servant.
Therefore, Great are you, Lord God! There is no one like you, no God but You, as we have always heard.
Lord God, you call us to deeper faith in you. Animate our hearts with your wisdom and love.
Artwork of Bishop Schlarman offered for meditation
As introduced with Chapter 12, Lectio Divina, which means “divine reading,” is a particular way of entering into the reading of Scripture encouraging communion with God. Traditionally there are four steps: reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation or action. These steps can also help us draw closer to Christ engaging with or reflecting on imagery ... Considering the artwork by Bishop Schlarman:
-What is depicted in the picture?
- How does that image speak to me now; how is Christ present?
- Prayerfully offer a response to God.
-Contemplating the presence of Christ, enter into His embrace.
Note the trinitarian theme, the dove and the image behind Jesus, that of the Father whose face we only see in Christ. (John 14: 9)
Below... "Absorbed in prayer with the Father supported by their Holy Spirit,
the triumph of the Cross -- the Holy Spirit is the Life of the Church."
And from the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help:
Jesus Taught Us to Pray (CCC, NOS. 2759-2865)
In 2 Samuel 7:18-22, King David prays to God. I have attempted here to make the words of David my own:
Look at the Lord’s Prayer together with your children and help them to learn, expanding from there, more about how we are invited to pray through the following things to discuss:
How do we address God, what names do we call God when we pray?
What are some good things to say to and about God when we pray?
What are good times to pray?
Where do we pray and how are our prayers perhaps different at different times and places?
How do we involve our whole body in prayer?
What kinds of things do we ask for in prayer?
Pray together the Lord’s Prayer often!
"The mystical harmonies of the Eastern Churches of Russia inspired this a
cappella version of the Lord's Prayer. Traditional icons, windows into
the divine, are juxtaposed with photos and videos of actual people, made
in the image and likeness of God, in real life and death situations
around the world. Lastly, sunbursts and rainbows reflect God's kingdom,
power and glory, now and forever." From Maryknoll
About the Author:
Bishop Stanley Schlarman was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Belleville in 1958 in Rome. Over the years he served at Mater Dei Catholic High School and the parishes of St Teresa in Marydale, St Rose in St Rose, and St Patrick in Cairo. In 1979 he was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop of the Belleville Diocese before being installed as the Bishop of the Diocese of Dodge City, KS in 1983. In a diocese of twice the area of the Belleville Diocese with a wild west history of cattle drives and figures like Wyatt Erp, he served just over 15 years until retiring in 1998. Some of his most satisfying years in ministry followed as the Vicar for Priests in the Diocese of Joliet and helping Bishop Joseph Imesch celebrate Confirmations in a diocese of well over 650,000 Catholics. He devotes his time now serving as Vicar for Priests in the Belleville Diocese and in Prison Ministry. He enjoys classical music, iconography, swimming, and time with friends and family. (For a more extended bio, see this article written in celebration of his 50th anniversary of ordination as a priest.)